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Are You Utilizing Do-Not-Do Lists?Monday, December 5th, 2016

Mandy Green, Busy Coach

We all have a tremendous amount to do these days.  Between recruiting, managing and training the team, office stuff, meetings, camps, etc, our to-do lists are getting longer and more out of control.  

If you are one of the many coaches out there who is overwhelmed trying to get everything done, I want to help you regain control over your workload by helping you make better choices.  Since we only have so much time to get things done, you need to CHOOSE what gets done and what doesn’t get done. You must consciously choose what you will work on based on how it will affect your program and the results you want to produce and you need to delay or eliminate other less important items from your schedule. You can’t find more time, but you can always change the way you use the time you already have.

Many productivity and time-management experts say the most helpful list you may ever create is one outlining what not to do. “Do-not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance in the office.   

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

The idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity.  This is a list of activities that are time-wasters, your list of people not to talk to because they’re time vampires, your do-not-eat list, your not-to-have-in the office list, etc.  

In his best-seller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins lauds the value of a “stop-doing” list: “Those who built the good-to-great companies… made as much use of stop-doing lists as to-do lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

I believe that there are 2 ways to figure out what should go on your do-not-do-list.

  1. The first step in deciding what not to do in your life is zeroing in on what you ultimately want to achieve. “If you really get clear about your real goals, visions and values, it will be easier to cut the extraneous things off your lists that aren’t that purposeful for you,” says David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
  1. The second way to figure out what not-to-do is to time track.  Write down on the left hand side of a piece of paper the day’s times in 15-minute increments. As your day goes along, write down what you’re doing at that time all day long so you can identify things that you may be wasting too much time on in the office. By taking a realistic look at how you spend your time, you can determine which activities don’t yield valuable results in return for the time and effort they require. Then, you can cut those time-wasters out of your life.

Let’s take you through some examples. I wanted to share this list with you because I thought that they were very applicable to what we do as coaches.  Tim Ferris, author of the 4-Hour Work Week, had these items pertaining to email on his Do-Not-Do-List.

Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items…

Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only
Get off the cocaine pellet dispenser and focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies. Set up a strategic auto responder and check twice or thrice daily.

Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7
Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. I do this on at least Saturday, and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour later or the next morning? As one reader put it to a miffed co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected the same: “I’m not the president of the US. No one should need me at 8pm at night. OK, you didn’t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?”The answer? Nothing.

Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should
Work is not all of life. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself “I’ll just get it done this weekend.”  Force yourself to cram work within tight hours so your per-hour productivity doesn’t fall through the floor. Focus, get the critical few done, and get out. E-mailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet.


Seeing through on your do-not-do list ultimately may take sheer force of will. Like everything, you will get better with practice.  Jim Collins writes, “The real question is… do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?”

When you get stuck on your not-to-do list, you waste time and end the day frustrated because you didn’t get anything done.  Make your list and post it where you can always see it to remind yourself of what you should not be doing.  Enlist the support of co-workers to help keep you on track.  If you find yourself doing something on your do-not-do list, get up, walk around, refocus, and then get back after your important to-do list items.  Good luck!

I’d love to hear what makes your list!  Please email me your list at mandy@busy.coach  

Systematize Your WorldMonday, November 21st, 2016

Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I have made some of my biggest breakthroughs with productivity only after I created systems.  The systems that I have created have played a big part in helping to reduce the amount of hours that I work while in the office so I can get home quicker to my family.

Today I wanted to share with you some very simple, but effective systems that you can create for yourself to help reduce the time it takes you to do things.

In my study of the best time management strategies, it became very apparent that effective self-leaders in every profession have systems for just about everything from work activities like scheduling, follow up, entering data, and sending thank you cards, to personal activities such as sleeping, eating, dealing with money, cars, and family responsibilities.

Those systems make life easier, and ensure they are always ready to perform.   Here are two examples of basic systems (the second one being the ultimate game changer):

Daily Attire— In addition to being a college coach, as you may know because you maybe have read some of my articles in Dan’s newsletter before, I run a company teaching time management strategies to college coaches called Busy Coach, have two children, and I have spent the last two and half years completing 5 different products that help coaches make a greater impact in a shorter amount of time.

As you can imagine, there is not a moment of time to spare. In order to ensure that I do not have to waste any time preparing in the morning, and to make sure I have proper attire, I make sure to lay out the night before what I will wear the next day in the office, to work out, and then out to practice.  It sounds simple, but that extra fifteen minutes every morning adds up in the course of a week.

Travel— As we all know, we travel a lot during our seasons, in the off season we are recruiting week after week, we may travel with youth teams we coach, and then we are traveling some more if we decide to be on the road working other camps.  Collecting the items we need for every trip can be time-consuming, inefficient, and ineffective, especially if you tend to often forget things at home or in your office.

For me, after the third time of forgetting the charger for my computer and having to spend another $75 for a replacement or ask the front desk for a phone charger, or a toothbrush, I’d had enough. I assembled a travel bag containing every single item I need for my trips, and now I can leave at a moment’s notice because my bag contains everything I need to be on the road— business cards, toiletries, adapters and chargers for my phone and computer.

You’ll know you need a system when you have a challenge that is recurring or you find you’re missing opportunities because you’re unprepared. If you’re walking out the door with just enough time to make an appointment only to discover you’re running on fumes, you need a system for getting out the door earlier: pack your backpack the night before, have your clothes already out and ready to go, set the coffee maker, get up earlier, etc.

Said another way, wherever you feel like you need to get your act together, you need a system. A life without systems is a life with unnecessary stress!

If you want more ideas on how to create systems for your recruiting, for working in the office, for your team or travel, or other time management techniques delivered to your inbox every Sunday, email me at mandy@busy.coach or visit www.busy.coach.

The Key to Your ProductivityMonday, July 25th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

As we are all hopefully enjoying our summer breaks and preparing for our upcoming seasons, I wanted to send you a few friendly reminders about how you can completely change the energy that you bring to everything you do when your seasons starts up again.

You might be asking, “Why is Mandy talking about my energy levels again?” For me, managing my energy levels really has been key to my productivity and getting things done.  If you want a great book on the subject, read the book The Power of Full Engagement, by Tony Schwartz.

How is your health these days? Can you wake up before your alarm and do what’s important, handle all the demands of the day, and put out the inevitable fires, all without ending the day exhausted and out of breath?

It’s a fact that the state of your health and fitness is a huge factor in your energy and success levels— especially for coaches. Doing what’s required to keep your team performing at a high level while staying on top of the whole recruiting process requires a ton of energy.

Like the athletes in the sport you are coaching, as a coach, you need an almost endless supply of energy and stamina.   To do all those practices, be constantly prospecting for new recruits, and ensuring each and every student athlete is having a good experience and staying on course to graduate can be exhausting. If you are overweight, out of shape, and constantly out of breath, setting bigger and bigger career, recruiting, or team goals is, in my opinion, a recipe for disaster.

The great news is that this is completely within your control! Here are three practices of top performers that you can use to ensure that your health, fitness, and energy levels fully support your program, recruiting and career goals and objectives:

Eat and drink to win. Put very simply, everything you ingest either contributes to your health or detracts from it. Drinking water puts a check in the plus column; 8 cans of Mountain Dew everyday probably won’t. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables equals more plusses. Rolling through the drive-through to wolf down some fast food, not so much. I know you know the drill. This isn’t rocket science, but you do need to stop fooling yourself. Become aware of what you’re eating and how it’s affecting your performance as a coach or recruiter.  If you are interested in really seeing how your eating is actually affecting your performance, check out my new Tracking Journal.  

Sleep to win. Getting enough rest is as critical to coaching performance as what you do or don’t have in your diet. A good night’s sleep provides the basis for a day of peak performance, clear thought, and recruiting calls after successful practices. You probably already know how many hours you need to be at your best. Reverse engineer your schedule so you are asleep in plenty of time to get all of the rest you need to perform at your best.

Exercise to win. It is no coincidence that you rarely see top performers who are terribly out of shape. Most invest 30– 60 minutes of their time each day to hit the gym or the running trail because they understand the importance that daily exercise plays in their success.  I try to start the day with 5– 10 minutes of exercise or yoga, I also recommended that you engage in 30– 60 minute workouts at least 3– 5 times per week. Doing so will ensure that your fitness level supports the energy and confidence you need to succeed in this profession. 

If you are interested in seeing how your food, exercise, and sleep really are affecting your performance, you can do that by using my energy tracking forms.  

In these energy tracking forms, you just keep track of some very simple information:  

  • Write down how much sleep you get.  
  • What you eat for each meal.  
  • How much water you drink.  
  • What exercise you get for the day.  
  • Pay attention to how your energy is throughout the day and record it on the tracking pages.  
  • Then at the end of each day, make note of what went well and what you could do better.  

 Based on the information you collect and the results that you get, you need to keep adjusting and tweaking until you find the right amount of sleep, food, water, and exercise that will get your energy to the level you need to be at to perform at your best day in and day out.    

How to make next month better than this monthMonday, June 27th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Last week I wrote about how to reflect at the end of each day to improve your work performance for the next day.   As we are coming to the end of the month now, I’d say before you start planning for July, take a few minutes to reflect on the month of June.  

Here are a few of the questions that I go through myself, and am now taking the coaches that I am working with right now through at the end of each month.  

My achievements this past month:

Things I need to do less of next month:

Things I need to do more of next month:

Things I need to stop all together:

There are many more questions that you can ask yourself, but I think ultimately, you need to make sure what you are doing during the month is getting you closer to achieving your goals.  

At the end of the month is the perfect time to look back and reflect on what you’ve did right last month, what could improve, and it is an opportunity to learn from what you’ve done.

As I am being more intentional about using reflection at the end of each day, each week, at the end of the month, and at the end of each year, I am finding that is has many benefits.  

  1. It has helped me learn from my mistakes
  2. It has helped me see where I need to be spending more of my time on.
  3. It has made me a happier coach because I am spending more time celebrating the wins that I am getting
  4. It is giving me better perspective about things that are going on in my program.  

It only takes a few minutes but payoff is well worth it.   If you are interested in getting more organization, performance, or productivity tips specifically for coaches, go to www.busy.coach.

Your Coaching-Improvement Action ListMonday, May 9th, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Few of us are exactly the coach we want to be. We constantly work to get better — that comes with the profession.

I’ve yet to visit a coach who isn’t a consumer of “how to get better” books, podcasts, and websites. The coach in the next office was that way.

Every week he was reading a new book about coaching. He stayed away from digital, favoring as he said “real-books.” From those books he built an action-list of improvement-ideas.

A Critical Action List

We each should have a list like my neighbor’s. A handy one we can flip to in times of doubt or struggle. Yes, I’ve got one. It includes actions I do and don’t do to improve.

I use it more as a mantra, to read when things are getting a wee bit wonky. Here are several of the actions on mine:

5 Actions that DON’T help me improve:

  • Copying: imitating what a successful coach does just because that coach is successful
  • Demeaning: purposely putting someone down, believing it motivates
  • Cheating: knowingly breaking the rules to get an unfair advantage
  • Egoing: believing that this coaching thing is about ME not about THEM
  • Siloing: reacting mentally to the events of the day without investing time each day processing the big picture

5 Actions that DO help me improve:

  • Being curious: asking thoughtful questions
  • Being helpful: helping another coach overcome
  • Sharing: giving information with no expectation of reward/return
  • Listening: hearing what is said and what is going on around me
  • Breathing: focusing on my breathing several times daily

Those are actions that I know from years of coaching (35 and counting) that hurt/help my coaching. I refer to them often.

For example, recently we were preparing for a difficult competition. I was having a tough time getting my head in a good place prior to the race. I was struggling.

I referred to my list, and went right to asking questions, and listening. I asked the athletes three questions:

  1. “How they felt?” – “We feel good!”
  2. “What they needed?” – “For the Starter to say ‘Go!’”
  3. “What they thought?” – “This is going to be fun!”

I listened to those answers — really listened — and gained strength from them.

Time For Action: Create Your Improvement Action List

If I were to bet, I’d wager you have just such a list. Somewhere, somehow, in some form, you have one, right? It may be nothing more than fuzzy-thoughts but it exists. A few thoughts on this critical list:

  • The list can and should change over time
  • There should be no set number of items
  • Hand writing your list helps it to become ingrained in your long-term memory
  • Having a digital copy (image, text file, etc) of the hand written version helps me keep it handy (Evernote is my choice).

Creating an action list like this is something you can dismiss. Of course you are busy. And, of course, there are big issues on your todo list. However, this list can be an invaluable tool in your coach’s tool box. I suggest setting aside a few minutes to bring it to life.

Is Your To-Do List Working For or Against You?Monday, March 28th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

I want to share a great way to eliminate running around like a chicken-with-your-head-cut-off and always feeling busy.  It’s as simple as creating a proactive way to set up their to-do list.  

A daily to-do list for coaches I’m finding with the coaches that I work with tends to be a reactive list – it’s based on what has just recently come up and is in your immediate area of concern for that time.

As you are working through your reactive list, by the end of the day you have worked hard, done lots, but achieved very little.

Sound familiar?

It makes for a “busy” coach – but not necessarily an effective coach. It’s like you’re always chasing your tail!

So, how can you make your To Do list work for you?

Getting organized so you can be less “busy” means creating a proactive system that works best for you and saves you time and effort.

I believe being proactive begins by making a master list of everything you can think of that has to be done over the course of the year as a coach.  To do this, take out a piece of paper, or turn on your computer, and as they occur

On a piece of paper or on the computer, record all the “must-do, should-do, gotta-do” tasks that pop into your mind. Whenever you think of something new that you have to do, write it down on your master list.  

This Master To-Do List holds all of the tasks that need to get done over the course of the year–and gets them out of your brain until you’re ready to act.   This list then becomes the central control list for your coaching life.  

I have my Master To-Do List organized by the month that I should work on it.   That way I already have a list that covers everything that I can be proactive on in the coming weeks so I can avoid rushing to do it last minute.   

At the beginning of the month, I pick a few things from my Master List and put them into my daily planning pages in my Green Time Management System for Coaches that I created.  

Having this list allows me to:

  1. Free up my mind so I don’t have to remember everything.  
  2. Be proactive with my schedule and get things done in advance so I can avoid a lot of running around frantically trying to finish a lot of last minute things. There is no more “oh crap, I forgot we have to do this” for me…for the most part .
  3. I can plan ahead which tasks I NEED to do and which tasks can be delegated.
  4. Being proactive on my to-do list has made it easier to meet goals, it has reduced a lot of busyness, and I have been able to work more efficiently.

If you are interested in hearing more of the details of how I do this, please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to read about How to Restart a Bad Day and get other productivity advice that is applicable to what we do as coaches, go to www.mandygreencps.com and sign up for my newsletter.  Have a productive week!     

The Beauty Of A System For College CoachesMonday, March 14th, 2016

by Theresa Beeckman, Tree Roots Consulting

For the past 11 years, as an assistant at both the Division II and Division 1 level, I’ve noticed an alarming trend.  Every year a minimum of five emails would come through asking if I had anyone in mind that might like to coach volleyball at their high school.  

 

Every single year.

 

Athletic Directors in a 50 mile area with no other idea of how to find a coach would seek the advice or recommendation of every college coach in the area.  I don’t blame them, coaches for all sports in both high school and college are being chewed up and spit out by athletes and their parents.  That’s not the only thing doing the chewing unfortunately….

 

The art of coaching has changed dramatically in a very short time.  Coaches that are unable or unwilling to change their style are chewing themselves up in the process.  These coaches are putting relationship building, culture development and mentorship firmly in the category of soft skills at their own peril.  They are sticking to their tried and true methods that ‘have always been the way we’ve done things’ and seeing their careers go by the wayside.

 

The thing is, kids can still take toughness, they can still take a coach driving them and they can still absolutely be held to very high standards.  However, they will take none of these things if a coach hasn’t, with both actions and words, made it abundantly clear that he or she cares deeply about them and proves that they know what they’re doing.  They also won’t hear a coach if they don’t understand the ‘why’ of a task.  In addition, their parents, without a good system in place, are very very likely to become an active part of their children’s experience.  They see 2% of what happens with their child and his or her team while they expect to have their input heard 98% of the time.

 

This is all a recipe for disaster.  High Schools are finding anyone who is willing to fall on the grenade to coach their teams.  These victims of bad timing are left to figure out the sport first while they feel their way through ‘this culture stuff’.  All the while the sharks are circling below waiting to snap off a limb should a moment be interpreted in a bad way by a player who thinks they should be playing more than they are.

 

It is said often that sports build character and bring about countless positive things for the players that partake.  This is not inherently true.  You don’t just plug a child in like bread in a toaster, hit a button, wait for the ding and out pops up a finished product.  Athletics has the potential to do so much good, but there must be a system in place to assure this will happen.

 

The system should address at least these 6 things:

  1. The ‘why’ of the program/team must be clear and understood by every person associated with the team.  Also, players and parents are too informed for coaches to act inconsistently with the team’s why.  If the team is all about the process and you, as a coach, are reacting mostly to results, you will have problems.
  2. Parents.  You need to have a clear system for parent communication and you have to follow the system.  A good amount of empathy will go a very long way toward gaining and keeping your parental group’s support.  If you ignore them, there are likely bad things festering in the stands.
  3. Organization speaks to competency.  There are too many tools hanging around that can assist coaches in communicating with athletes and parents.  If you are a disorganized mess in that department, your team will feel it and your leash will shorten with each misstep.
  4. Rules are overwhelming – standards are challenges to meet.  Set standards for your team that are clear, concise and empowering.
  5. Program Dictionary – take the time to define important words.
  6. Core Values – this can be a mission statement, a list of words that define your program, whatever you want.  It cannot be some business-like PR memo that no one looks at again.  It should guide your every decision and be talked about at every practice.

In addition to the above system points, consider empowering your athletes to look at you, your staff and the program as a resource meant to help them grow.  The coaches will not magically make them better, practices will not magically make them better, only they can make themselves better by putting forth the effort to learn and grow.

 

With that being said, try to empower your athletes to take charge of their own development with 4 questions:

  1. What does every team and player have in common: TIME
  2. Who is the best coach in the world: The BALL (or puck)
  3. What are your coaches to you: RESOURCES
  4. Who is responsible to make you the best player you can be: OURS (the player)

Athletics can and should be an awesome journey of self discovery and so much of that depends on the coach who is driving the ship.  Have fun, be inspired and put a system in place to help you navigate the journey.
Happy Coaching!

Save Time and Mental Energy With Tracking FormsMonday, February 1st, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

A common time management mistake is to try to use your memory to keep track of all of the tasks you need to accomplish.  I don’t care how good you think your memory is: the fact is that most people simple cannot rely on their memory alone to keep track of everything that needs to get done.  

Below is one of the many simple tracking forms that I created to help me keep track of some of the repetitive things that I need to keep track of as a coach.  

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I use the USD Player Tracking Form to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with everybody on my team over the summer.  I look at it on Sunday night and decide who I will contact and when I will do it.  Then I schedule it into my Coaching Productivity Day Planner.  First thing in the morning when I am doing my strategic planning, I relook at the list to see who I am contacting and I make sure I don’t need to add anybody. 

Instead of wasting brain power having to try to remember who I have or haven’t been in touch with, this sheet shows me who I have been in contact with, when I contacted them, and what type of communication was used.  Instead of wasting time trying to remember, this sheet allows me to make quick decisions about who I should contact, take decisive action and fire off a quick text, email, or phone call.  Then I record it.  Done.  Now I don’t have to remember or think about this for the rest of the day.  Love it.      

These types of forms are great because:
1. They are simple and easy to fill out.
2. They give you a way to keep track of a lot of information.
3. They give you a visual picture of what you have and haven’t done. 
4. I don’t waste a lot of time having to try to remember who I need to get in contact with.  It is all on paper (or on the computer for some things).
5. You can track your results. 

Here are some of the other ways that I have used this type of form.
1. I use this form to keep track of my top recruits to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with them.  I have a different form that I have created where I have different symbols that I use if I sent an email, made a phone call, had a campus visit, contacted the parents, contacted youth coaches, etc.   
2. I use a different sheet that looks like this for tracking my daily goal actions. 
3. I use this during the year with my team to make sure I am consistently having individual conversations with them.
4. I have taught my players to use this sheet to track their goals and for tracking their study habits before tests. 
5. I have  also used this form to keep track of how many times at practice I worked on certain concepts during the year. 

I will then use these tracking forms to reflect on any successes or failures that I might have had throughout the year.  To use the player tracking form as an example, based on where my player relationships are at when my players show up this fall, I can look back to see how much I was in touch with them over the summer to see if it was enough, too little, or maybe even too much communication.  Then I can use those results to tweak my actions to make sure I am doing it better next time around.   

These forms are extremely simple but have been invaluable for me.  I am saving a lot of time and brain power that I can now use on other things that I can be doing to progress my program forward.  

I’d love to hear if you have other ways to use a form like this.  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to see the forms that I have created, just email me and I will send them to you. 

Have a great week.

Mandy Green
Coaching Productivity Strategies
 http://www.mandygreencps.com

What Gets Measured Gets ImprovedMonday, January 11th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

You have probably heard this saying before, “what gets measured, gets improved”.  You probably even use stats a lot depending on your sport.

For example, if you are a golfer, you track your golf scores. You track the pitch of the Golf course, what club you need to use, and the direction and speed of the wind all factor into your decision to get that little white ball go where you want it to go.   Many different factors play into a golf score, and the one who has paid the closest attention to the details has a better score than the one who just goes out and randomly whacks at the ball.

Tracking is also one of business’s best practices. Really great businesses track all of their important metrics (leads, closes, sales numbers, etc.) so they know where their time and resources are best spent.

For coaches, I think that we all can do a better job of tracking our recruiting numbers.

This year, I am really going to make sure that I know where my time and resources are best being spent with our recruiting by keeping track of my numbers more.

For example, I am going to do a better job of keeping track of my numbers from each of the tournaments that I am recruiting at.  I don’t have an endless budget to work with so we really have to be strategic about where we go and when.

We have just been going to tournaments that we think we’re getting good results from, but we can’t say for sure because we haven’t been tracking the numbers.

These are some of the numbers we are going to start doing a better job keeping track of:

  1. How many recruits are we identifying?
  2. How many are writing to us in advance of the tournament?  How many of them turn out to be good enough for what we need?
  3. How many coaches are being called?
  4. How many emails are being sent out?
  5. Which emails we’re sending out and what are the responses like?
  6. How many get to our online questionnaire?
  7. How many are we getting on the phone?
  8. How many are we getting to campus?
  9. How many are we closing?

I will start doing a better job of this for every single tournament we go to.

Another saying that I have heard about measuring or testing is that 1 hour of testing could save you 10.  10 hours saved for me gets me 10 more hours with my kids or 10 more hours building my program in other ways.  It will be well worth it.

I will also be doing this for our recruiting phone calls, our recruiting letters, our social media, our campus visits, etc.

I am going to use these numbers to figure out where I am getting the best ROI of time and resources.  Tournaments, letters, or other tasks that we are not getting a good result from, will either be tossed out or a better way will have to be found.

If you want to see how I am using measuring and tracking with recruiting to be more productive this year, go to www.mandygreencps.com and subscribe to get my Collegiate Productivity Newsletter.  If you have other ways that you have been testing or tracking, I’d love to hear it.  Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.

“Do-Not-Do” ListsMonday, December 28th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

We all have a tremendous amount to do these days.  Between recruiting, managing and training the team, office stuff, meetings, camps, etc, our to-do lists are getting longer and more out of control.

If you are one of the many coaches out there who is overwhelmed trying to get everything done, I want to help you regain control over your workload by helping you make better choices.  Since we only have so much time to get things done, you need to CHOOSE what gets done and what doesn’t get done. You must consciously choose what you will work on based on how it will affect your program and the results you want to produce and you need to delay or eliminate other less important items from your schedule. You can’t find more time, but you can always change the way you use the time you already have.

Many productivity and time-management experts say the most helpful list you may ever create is one outlining what not to do. “Do-not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance in the office.  

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

The idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity.  This is a list of activities that are time-wasters, your list of people not to talk to because they’re time vampires, your do-not-eat list, your not-to-have-in the office list, etc.

In his best-seller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins lauds the value of a “stop-doing” list: “Those who built the good-to-great companies… made as much use of stop-doing lists as to-do lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

I believe that there are 2 ways to figure out what should go on your do-not-do-list.

  1. The first step in deciding what not to do in your life is zeroing in on what you ultimately want to achieve. “If you really get clear about your real goals, visions and values, it will be easier to cut the extraneous things off your lists that aren’t that purposeful for you,” says David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
  2. The second way to figure out what not-to-do is to time track.  Write down on the left hand side of a piece of paper the day’s times in 15-minute increments. As your day goes along, write down what you’re doing at that time all day long so you can identify things that you may be wasting too much time on in the office. By taking a realistic look at how you spend your time, you can determine which activities don’t yield valuable results in return for the time and effort they require. Then, you can cut those time-wasters out of your life.

Here are a few examples of things that could be on your do-not-do list.

Do not check facebook during work hours

Do not check email constantly

Do not multitask when I am working on recruiting

Do not get sucked in by office gossip

 Seeing through on your do-not-do list ultimately may take sheer force of will. Like everything, you will get better with practice.  Jim Collins writes, “The real question is… do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?”

 When you get stuck on your not-to-do list, you waste time and end the day frustrated because you didn’t get anything done.  Make your list and post it where you can always see it to remind yourself of what you should not be doing.  Enlist the support of co-workers to help keep you on track.  If you find yourself doing something on your do-not-do list, get up, walk around, refocus, and then get back after your important to-do list items.  Good luck!

I’d love to hear what makes your list!  Please email me your list at mandy@mandygreencps.com

As a thank you for reading, I want to offer you a free 15-minute productivity consultation with me! I want to help you set up your most productive and least chaotic coaching year yet. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com to set up an appointment. Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Coaching Productivity Strategies, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more awesome collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.mandygreencps.com and opt-in. 

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