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Is a 40-Hour Work Week Even Possible for College Coaches?Monday, July 9th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I listened to a great podcast while on the elliptical this last week.  It was Tony Robbins interviewing Tim Ferris about the greatest takeaways he got from writing his latest book Tools of Titans

One of the very first key lessons Ferris discusses is that to get better results, he learned that he needed to ask better questions.  For example, “Why can’t I accomplish my 10-year goals in the next 6 months?”

I love that question.  Why not, right?  But for you to accomplish your 10-year goals in the next 6 months, you would need to significantly change the way you think, behave, take action, and collaborate with others for it to become a reality.  What a challenge!  I love it.

It got me thinking back to the point in my career when I started to ask better questions.  About 7 years ago I was struggling with my own productivity and really close to burning out.  I was a new 1st time mommy and had just accepted my first D 1 head coaching job of a bottom 20 team in the country and had no full-time staff for my first 3 years.  I was wearing a lot of hats, working a ton of hours, and trying to do things the way I was comfortable with and had always done them.  As you can imagine, I was mentally and physically exhausted after a while.

Having a child to get home to was what ultimately forced me to ask better questions if I was going to continue to stay in the profession.  The question that I started asking was, “Is it possible to only work 40 hours a week as a coach, get the results I was after, and still be sane?” 

At first, with the circumstances of my situation being what they were, that question seemed impossible.  But for the sake of my pride, my career, my health, and my sanity, I knew I had to find a better way.

After asking the question, these were a few of the possible solutions I came up with. 

  1. Eliminate things on my to-do list that weren’t giving me a good return on the time and energy I was putting into it.
  2. I needed to figure out how I could create big chunks of uninterrupted work time.
  3. I needed a better system of keeping track of who, when, and how I was communicating with recruits.
  4. I needed to figure out how my energy levels waivered during the day and find a better way to keep my energy up.
  5. I needed a better system for making sure I was working on my top priorities, staying on track, and working with urgency. 

By the time I was done brainstorming, I had a full page of questions and I believed if I could find the answers, it would help me get better results and my work hours down to 40 hours.

I can’t truly pinpoint one source that I got this idea from, because I had been reading a lot of different business books at the time.     

Book after book, what stood out is that tracking is one of businesses 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. 

What completely sold me on tracking as I was trying to get my question answered was the saying that 1 hour of testing could save you 10.  10 hours saved would get me 10 more hours with my kids or 10 more hours building my program in other ways.  It will be well worth it.

I am going to use these numbers to figure out where I am getting the best ROI in 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 every aspect of my program, take a look at this free report about how I use tracking that I created called Track Your Way to Success.

If you have other ways that you have been testing or tracking, I’d love to hear it.  Email me at mandy@busy.coach.

How Coaches Can Stay Sharper Next YearMonday, July 2nd, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I wanted to follow-up from the article I put in the College Recruiting Weekly newsletter last week about how to keep your energy up with another few ideas as you head into another competitive year with your team.

My husband and I decided that it would be a good idea to get our two kids out of Youngstown, Ohio, where we are currently living and working and head to Niagara Falls for the 4th of July. 

This little mini vacation is usually exactly what I need at this time of year. Getting out of the town, shutting off my phone, not checking email, hanging out with family, seeing new and exciting things is exactly what I need to get refreshed, rejuvenated, and recommitted to my work assisting college coaches and their recruiting plans with Tudor Collegiate Strategies, and continuing to develop Busy Coach.

It’s the old metaphor of sharpening the saw: when you’re sharp, you work better and faster, but when you’re dull from overuse, you become slower and less efficient. For example, remember the last time you tried to read a book when you were tired. If you’re like most people, you had to read and re-read, and maybe re-read again, the same paragraph over and over.

I think most of us coaches with smartphones realize it’s easy to carry work into our evenings and weekends which, if you tracked how many hours you were working, could put you easily at a 70-80 hour work week.  The problem is, in the long run, overworking drives down our productivity. Why? Because it depletes our energy.

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.

The fact of the matter is that there’s an inverse relationship between how much you work and how much energy you have. When one rises, the other falls, and vice versa. You might be working 70 hours, but you’re not really getting 30 hours’ worth of productivity out of those last 30 hours, right? I think we’ve all experienced this phenomenon. It comes back to Parkinson’s Law: “work expands to the time allotted for it.” If we’re not careful, we’ll confuse busyness with productivity and wear ourselves out.

Some coaches experience this every single day. They start the day with so much energy, and they get so much accomplished in those early morning hours. Then after lunch, their energy begins to wane. Or they have great energy on Monday and Tuesday, but by Thursday and Friday your energy is down. Well, that’s the result of energy flexing the wrong way: more hours, but less accomplished.

Here’s the good news: energy is a renewable resource. It can easily be replenished. You just have a have the right recipe, which means that just because you’re currently on empty, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Even if you have a pattern of frequently finding yourself on empty, it’s fairly simple to change. By the way, it may not be easy because it will require some change in your behavior.  But it’s not complicated. We just have to be intentional about rejuvenating ourselves.

The great news is that this is completely within your control! I have talked in previous posts about how to rejuvenate your energy through what you eat and drink, through getting more sleep and exercise. Go to www.busy.coach if you want more info about that. 

Another practice that top performers use that you can to ensure that your health, fitness, and energy levels fully support your program, recruiting and career goals and objectives is to:

Every 90 days go on vacation 

438 million is the amount of vacation days Americans failed to use according to Harris interactive research group.  As a result, America ranks #1 in depression, mental health problems, we are experiencing burnout, reduced productivity, decreased creativity, failed relationships, stress or stress-related ailments including depression, heart disease, or stomach ulcers at record levels. 

Every 90 days or so, try to get away and unplug from your work for at least a few days.  Pull out your calendar and put these on your schedule.  You don’t even need to leave town, you can stay home.  I know this is hard with recruiting, camps, your kids’ activities, and other life events, but you need to stay sharp and to do that, you can’t keep working to exhaustion.  Getting away for a few days will really help you rejuvenate your energy supply so you can come back into the office rested, focused, and more energized.

Eat to win. Put very simply, everything you ingest either contributes to your health or detracts from it. Let’s start with making time to eat. In order to be productive and feel energetic, you need adequate fuel. It’s that simple. Specifically, you need to keep your blood sugar up. When it drops, you lose energy. This has a biochemical impact on your brain. You’ll experience difficulty with focus and with other cognitive activities, both of which are important if you want to be more productive. At a minimum, you must eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I find that many people skip one of these under the mistaken notion that they don’t have time for it. Nonsense! You don’t have time not to refuel. This is like saying you don’t have time to stop and get gas for your car. This strategy will eventually cost you way more time when you run out of gas and have to call a tow truck.

You might even want to consider eating six smaller meals so that you can spread your intake throughout the day, keep you blood sugar up, and even ramp up your metabolism. Though it’s counterintuitive, this is a very common weight loss recommendation, but here, in this context, I’m focused on productivity rather than losing weight.

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 our new Tracking Journal

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 drank. 

· What exercise you got 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 not 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.

You and your staff need to engage with Mandy Green to help make this year’s recruiting and coaching campaign more organized, smoother and more results-oriented. She works with coaches and staffs all over the country, and she can help you, too. Click here to get more information!

8 Daily Energy Boosters for College CoachesMonday, June 25th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

As coaches, we are paid to produce results with our teams.  As we are heading into the summer, now is a great time to start trying out some of these energy boosting tips so you can come back in the fall energized, rested, and sustain high levels of energy throughout the day so you can keep bringing your best for your team.

To get the results we seek, we need to be prepared to perform as a coach at our best all day long.  To perform at our creative and confident best, our best influence, our best strength, our best persuasion, our best judgment and decision making ability, we have to be at our optimum energy.  Your coaching and recruiting performance throughout each day and week and ultimately being able to accomplish your big goals for the year personally, with recruiting, and with your team will be predicated upon how you better manage your energy during the day.

Here are 8 ideas for you that when you implement them, should help you to keep your energy up during the day. 

Take mini-breaks

Sitting at your computer for long periods of time will lead to sleepiness and sluggishness, so get up every 60-90 minutes to refresh and recharge.  Get up to go to the bathroom, go refill your water bottle, take a quick lap around the building, plan to run an errand or 2 during this time, get up to stretch your legs and back, or walk around and talk to your coaching colleagues…just do something that will take your mind off of the work that you were doing.  You will be amazed at how much more energy and focus you will have, especially at the end of the day, just by taking a few short mini-breaks throughout the day. 

Listen to tunes while you work

There has been a lot of research done on how our brain’s pleasure centers light up when we hear music. Throwing on the headphones and listening to any music you like while working can give you a productivity boost.

Take deep cleansing breaths

Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it, and let it out slowly and forcefully. Repeat several times. This will take 30 seconds and will be an instant fix. When you sit back down, you’ll have the clear head and fresh feeling needed to power through the task in front of you.

Go for a walk outside

Another great way to rejuvenate and be prepared to attack the rest of the day after lunch is to take a lunchtime stroll. A brisk walk outside will break up your day, get your blood pumping, and refresh your mind.  This walk will help to clear your mind of clutter and distractions from earlier in the day and should recharge you for an even more productive second half of the day.

Workout

You should also make time to visit a gym daily for a more robust exercise regimen that will not only keep you energized throughout the day, but it will help build your stamina and patience, and alleviate any stress you may be under.

Nap

But do it in your chair. Don’t lie down on the sofa or you won’t get back up. Keep it short: 5-10 minutes max. Any longer and it will have the opposite effect of knocking you out for the rest of the day.

Drink lots of water during the day

I read somewhere that Dehydration is the number one performance killer for athletes. The same is true for us as coaches.  It is a sinister cause of fatigue because it slowly creeps up on you. If you consistently drink less than 8 cups of water a day, you may be sluggish all the time. Get a 32 oz (1 quart, 4 cups) water bottle.  Your goal is to polish off 2 of those a day. Try it for a week and see if your general energy level increases.

Snack throughout the day

By eating smaller but more frequent healthy “meals”, you will maintain a steady dose of energy throughout the day.  Remember, mood and energy follow blood sugar, so stay away from the sweets. Candy and sweets will give you a short 30 minute burst, but it’ll be quickly followed by a debilitating crash and will rob your vital energy so instead try: nuts and seeds, non-fat yogurt, dried fruit, eggs, nut butter on a cracker, or strips of cold turkey, chicken, and beef.

So I just gave you 8 different ideas.  Are there more out there, yes of course.  These have been the 8 that I have found to work the best for me.  If you are not doing any of these, just start by trying one of them.  Slowly one by one add in another one as you are comfortable.  If you have other ones that you have found to be a great energizer for you, please let me know at mandy@busy.coach.  I’d love to hear what they are!

Did you know Coach Green works with college athletic departments and sports programs to increase their efficiency and do more with their time? Better organization and structure is the key. If you’d like to hear how she can help you, click here.

6 Morning Routines for Championship CoachesMonday, June 18th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

As a coach, you’re no stranger to the 12-hour workdays. You stay at the office until 9 or 10 p.m. — or until you just can’t read another email or make another recruiting phone call– before you force yourself to go home for a hasty dinner, a little more work and a few hours of shut-eye. The next day, you get up and do it all over again.

That was my life for about 11 years. One day bled into the next until I finally decided I needed some balance. I wanted to make an impact with my team and have time for a fulfilling family life outside of work.

To transform my workday, there are a lot of things I have been doing during the day when I am at work.  I decided it was time to take it a step further by taking more control of my mornings. I have done a lot of research about this and my best sources are The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Mel Robbins, Author of The 5 Second Rule.

I have already noticed A LOT of very positive effects from intentionally switching up my mornings.  This 60-90 minutes I am not focusing on myself in the morning has also helped me have more meaningful, successful and productive days.

Here are seven steps to revolutionizing your workday so you can accomplish more:

1. Wake up earlier.

An early-morning routine is powerful because it allows you to take time for yourself. In the early hours, it’s quiet, and there are fewer people vying for your attention. Many successful CEOs, including the former CEO of PepsiCo, begin their workday before 6 a.m., and if you can fill those hours with something meaningful, it will set the right tone for your day.

2. No email or even looking at your phone for at least the first hour of your day.

When you grab your phone first thing in the morning to check messages, your mind can’t help but shift into reaction mode. When you constantly check your phone, it can lead to increased stress, because you feel an immediate need to respond to demands. Before you know it, you’ve lost control of your day. Instead of letting others dictate your priorities, give yourself at least an hour to focus without external distractions. 

3. Express gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful way to put things into perspective. By acknowledging the things that are working in your favor, the one thing that isn’t won’t seem as problematic. As soon as you wake up, say three things you’re grateful for to start your day with positive energy.    

4.  Rewrite your goals every morning.

You already know the importance of setting goals. The problem is that a lot of people just write their goals down once and then forget it.  I suggest writing down your goals every morning to help ensure they don’t fall by the wayside.  If they are out of site, they are out of mind.  Revisit them every day and you are more likely to find time to work on them. 

5. Nourish your body.

Just as your mental state in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, what you eat for breakfast helps determine what you’ll eat throughout the day. If you begin with a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to continue that trend. Remember: Your health and energy is everything. It deserves more attention than those emails.

6. Get moving.

A good morning workout is invigorating, especially if you have great music or a motivational podcast that gets you fired up. I start my mornings with a quick 10-15 minute workout and then some stretching — but running, yoga, weight training or even a brisk walk can be good for your health and make you more productive.

If you’re already stretched thin, you’re probably thinking that you don’t have that much time to devote to yourself first thing in the morning. But the ROI is too great to ignore. When you’re happy, energetic and focused, it does wonders for your productivity as a coach. Take it from me. 60-90 minutes for yourself first thing in the morning is just what you need to take your team and program to the next level.

80/20 Your Way to More Coaching Success This YearMonday, June 11th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

The Pareto principle states that 20% of a person’s effort generates 80% of the person’s results. The corollary to this is that 20% of one’s results absorb 80% of one’s resources or efforts. For the effective use of resources, the coach’s challenge is to distinguish the right 20% from the trivial many.

Identify the high-payoff activities within your program.  High-payoff activities are the things you do that bring the greatest value to your program, team, or staff.  They are the three to five activities that lie in your “sweet spot.”  You do them with excellence.  These activities could be building relationships with recruits, making phone calls to parents, sending emails to recruits, managing your current team, etc.  They are your unique discipline or distinctive skills and abilities that distinguish you from other staff members. 

Being able to prioritize your personnel, time, and energy will allow you the freedom to produce more efficient results. 

Here are a few exercises taken from John Maxwell’s book Developing the Leader within You that should get you started:

Task Priorities

Determine what 20% of the work gives 80% of the return. These activities could be building relationships with recruits, making phone calls to parents, sending emails to recruits, managing your current team, etc.  They are your unique discipline or distinctive skills and abilities that distinguish you from other staff members. 

Make a list of the tasks that you are working on today, this week, and in the near future. 

Place each task next to the appropriate category below.

  • List of things to do now (High Importance/High Urgency). Tackle these tasks first;
  • List of things to do (High Importance/Low Urgency). Set deadlines for completion and get these tasks worked into your daily routine
  • List of things to delegate (Low Importance/High Urgency). Find quick, efficient ways to get this work done without much personal involvement.  Delegate it.
  • Low Importance/Low Urgency: Busy or repetitious work.  Delegate it. 

Staff/Team Oversight and Leadership Development

  • Determine which people are the top 20% producers.  Start by making a list of everyone on your team.
  • For each individual, ask yourself, ”if this person takes a negative action against me or withdraws his or her support from me, how big will the impact be?”
  • If their absence would hinder your ability to function, put a check mark next to that name.
  • When you finish making the check marks, you will have marked between 15 and 20 percent of the names.  These are the vital relationships that need to be developed and given the proper amount of resources to grow your program.
  • Meet one-on-one with the people you checked above. 
  • Spend 80 percent of your “people time” with the top 20%
  • Spend 80 percent of your personal development dollars on the 20%

Sit down and spend the time to find out how this principle applies within almost every aspect of your program, and you have the power to set the vital priorities which will mean the difference between failure, survival, and success. This principle will save you time, effort, money and resources, and take you further down the road to success.

Knowing what your high-payoff activities are and actually doing them, however, are two very different things.  Many surveys that I have read over the past several years have shown that the average American worker spends only 50-60 percent of the workday on activities specified in her or her job description.  That means that workers waste 40-50 percent of their time on low-payoff activities, tackling things that others with less skill or training should be doing.  Are you in this category coach?

By disciplining yourself to clearly identify your high-payoff activities, and then by filling your calendar with those things and appropriately delegating, delaying, or dropping the low-payoff activities, you can and will get more productive things done everyday, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness.   

The more time you spend doing the high-payoff activities, the more value you will bring to your team, program, and staff.  By disciplining yourself to clearly identify your high-payoff activities, and then by filling your calendar with those things and appropriately delegating, delaying, or dropping the low-payoff activities, you can and will get more high-payoff activities done everyday, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness.    

Homework-Time tracking on an Activity Log.  Do a Realistic Time Audit

Time management experts stress that before you can make needed changes in the way you manage time, you need to look at how you spend your time now. What activities or tasks are taking up the biggest chunks of your life? What items do you hate or put off most? Are you allowing others to dictate uses for your time that aren’t productive or don’t fit your agenda?

By doing a brutally honest assessment, you can begin to change the way you manage yourself in relation to time.

Why Coaches Need to Set Deadlines For ThemselvesMonday, May 28th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

To get ahead quicker, no matter what your situation or current skill set, you would need to change your daily behavior. 

What makes people change more than anything else?  It is setting and sticking to deadlines!  A deadline gives us personal accountability.

In fact, in our accountability-lacking work culture…one of the biggest mistakes made is not setting deadlines.  Why?  People do not want to be held accountable to them.

Without a deadline there is no urgency.  Have you ever had a task on your to-do list with no deadline, no urgency?  What happens?  Usually nothing.  It sits on your list for months.

A deadline is a budget for your time. Just like a budget for your spending can help keep you out of debt, keeping budgets for your time can keep you productive.

Management guru Peter Drucker said “you cannot build performance on weaknesses.” That’s why it is essential for you to hone your skills as a first step towards boosting your own productivity, as well as the performance of those you manage or work with. How well you manage yourself is the keystone for accomplishing the outcomes that will make you successful, and crucial to managing yourself is the positive, productive use of deadlines. 

Using deadlines can give you the edge you need to set yourself apart as a coach in your sport, to give you an extra boost of energy or creativity.

  • When you have only a defined amount of time to do a task, you are almost always more focused than you would be if time didn‘t matter.
  • Most of us work faster and more effectively when we are committed to meeting an important deadline.
  • Deadlines give extra meaning to our activities by providing a basis for measuring our accomplishments.

Deadlines can help you become more productive if:

You’re worried about feature creep. If your project has the tendency to expand and become larger, deadlines force you to focus on what’s most important.

You might procrastinate. Deadlines can push you through work you don’t enjoy. Without deadlines, some work would always be pushed until tomorrow.

You’re outside your comfort zone. Keeping a time limit can force you to push through fears. There’s a point when you are prepared enough and just need to move forward. Deadlines can help you find that point.

You need to build experience quickly. Sometimes trial and error is the best solution. It might not be pretty, but it works. Setting short deadlines force you to put your ideas to the test instead of endlessly polishing them.

Those four characteristics are all good reasons to use deadlines.

If you don’t have deadlines, do you have goals?  Goals are also just accountability measures.  Goals are there to say I want this, by this date, in this way.  And just by deciding that, you are taking accountability for today. It is saying I want to change today, so I am going to set up this goal or this deadline that is going to help me change today.  That is the process of personal accountability.

Coach, if I came to your office and we opened up and looked at your digital or paper planner, how many self-imposed deadlines are there that I would be able to see?

Personally, I have found that by setting more deadlines, it has helped me reduce working and acting by the whim of the moment.

The more deadlines you have, the more self-initiative you will have.  The more deadlines and self-initiative you have, the more likely it is that you will move forward faster.  You are taking control of your coaching life and your designing where you want to go and how fast you are going to get there.

My 4 Favorite Productivity Tips I Learned from Brian TracyTuesday, May 22nd, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

When I first started out on my journey of finding better ways to be more effective and efficient in the office as a coach, one of the productivity experts that I studied a lot was Brian Tracy.

Brian Tracy is one of America’s leading authorities on the enhancement of personal effectiveness, leadership, time management, goals, motivation, and success.

Brian’s stuff spoke to me.  It was so simple and incredibly applicable to everything we do as college coaches.   

I really have gotten hundreds of amazing productivity tips from Brian Tracy, but here are four of my favorites:

  1. Be open to new ideas. Because I was so overwhelmed with work, I made the mistake when I first got into coaching 18 years ago of thinking that I had no time to learn about time management or even maybe that I already knew everything I needed to know.  I knew that the way that I was working wasn’t working, so opening up to new productivity ideas and then applying them has been a game changer for how I now am able to get work done in the office.
  2. Develop a plan. Tracy is always saying that successful men and women are both effective and efficient. They do the right things, and they do them in the right way. They are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of their output. Develop a plan, then decide what is the most important thing to do, and then decide how to do it.  Love it. This piece of advice was instrumental in me developing my Busy Coach Time Management System for Coaches.
  3. Set priorities. As a coach, we will never have enough time to do everything that needs to be done, so we must choose.  Tracy’s advice on this is that you must continually set priorities on your activities. He wants you to constantly be asking yourself, what is the most valuable use of my time right now?
  4. Start with your top tasks. The natural tendency is to spend a lot of valuable time clearing up smaller and easier things first. Tracy believe though that the self-discipline of organizing your work and focusing on your highest-value tasks is the starting point of getting your time under control and lowering your stress levels.

Another great tip from Tracy is that If you want to be a big success in any area, find out what other successful people in that area are doing—and do the same things until you get the same results.  Brian Tracy has been one of the many successful people that I have studied on time management principals. 

If you are interested in seeing how I have taken what all of the successful experts on time management out there have done with the business world and see how I have applied it to what we do as college coaches, go to www.busy.coach.  Email me at mandy@busy.coach if you ever have questions or run an idea by me.  You can ever schedule a free call with me by going to http://www.meetme.so/mandygreen If you want more productivity advice delivered into your inbox every few weeks, sign up for my free newsletter!  Have a great week!

How Decluttering My Office Increased My Focus and ProductivityMonday, May 14th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

A few years ago at the school I was working at, our new basketball arena just opened up so we had a massive reorganization of offices. 

Being the proactive planner that I am, I made sure to plan in advance and I started the packing process about 3 weeks before I was actually going to be allowed to move because I didn’t want to have to be stressed doing it last minute right before our preseason started.

As I was packing up my old office to get ready to move into my new one, I took the time to go through everything piece by piece, little by little every day.  I had been in that office for almost 7 years so I had accumulated a lot of stuff.  Needless to say, I threw out a lot of things that I didn’t need anymore, or scanned and filed electronically some of the paper files that I had. 

As a result of cleaning up my office for my move, I found that I could think better and focus more than when I was surrounded by clutter.  It was a pleasant surprise to see how liberating it felt to have an open desk and half full desk drawers that are not jammed full of files and old soccer equipment that I didn’t need.

So I did a little research on the affect that clutter has on workplace productivity.     

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published the results of a study they conducted in the January issue of The Journal of Neuroscience that relates directly to uncluttered and organized living. From their report “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex”:

When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

No matter what article or study I read, they all seem to say that when you sit down at the beginning of the day at a clean, neat, and tidy office and desk, your mind will move straight to work; when you sit a messy desk and office, you’ll find it difficult to focus at all.  Every piece of clutter-from desktop documents to stacks of books and magazines-has a negative effect on your productivity.

“Clutter overloads your senses, just like multitasking overloads your brain.”

For most coaches at this time of year as you are wrapping up the spring, reorganizing your whole office is not in the cards.  I suggest to just commit to doing something small every day.  Start by picking a single drawer.  Clean up and clear out every drawer, closet, cabinet, and trunk that doesn’t give me a sense of calm and peace when you see it.

I have found for me that getting physically and mentally organized has allowed me to focus at a level I would have never believed possible. What I love most about it, is that it has left my energy to go nowhere to go except to what matters.

Start Now
Whether you are responsible for creating your own information management system or if those higher up are in charge, it’s still up to you to take action and make it happen. Here are some steps:

  • Set aside time weekly to manage and organize information. Adhere to that commitment like an appointment and you will stay ahead of the game.
  • Always organize your desk at the end of the day, so at least 80 percent of the desktop is visible. This will make going to work each morning a joy because desk stress and mental overload will decrease while your productivity increases.
  • Eliminate anything on top of your desk that is not used often. Put everything else into drawers, cubicles or containers that are easily accessible. Your efficiency will double and your fatigue will decrease.

Go Home, Coach!Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I work with a lot of coaches on managing their time better in the office.   When I am on campus working with a coach, it is fun to see their eyes light up as we set recruiting, team, administrative, and personal goals and then come up with a plan on how accomplishing these goals to make it reality.  Never fails, we always hit a snag when I mention the “D” word. 

That word that seems to hang up a lot of coaches is delegation. 

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” This seems to be the favorite saying of a lot of the coaches that I am working with. To me, it says a great deal about their willingness to delegate. These coaches work non-stop morning to night, and still do (although they are getting better), because they somehow can’t embrace the notion that it’s possible to get things done any other way.

Beneath the many excuses for not delegating lays the reason why many of us coaches avoid delegating things:  True delegation means giving up a little of what we would like to hold onto (some measure of control) while keeping what we might prefer to give up (accountability).

Delegation is an area of personal and professional management that many coaches struggle with. The difficulty stems from our need to control outcomes and a strongly rooted belief that we know how to do things best.

It’s often a scary prospect even to think about letting someone else take over a task or duty we’ve been doing for a while:

What if they don’t do it correctly?
What if the outcome is not up to my standards?
What if they don’t do it the way I’ve been doing it?
What if I become less essential to my program?
What if, (gasp), they do it better than me?

Think about it coach. By nature we love to keep control. We also fear the repercussions when our support staff fails to complete something correctly or in a timely manner. The failure might reflect badly on us so we take the path of least resistance. Rather than working on improving our delegation skills to the other coaches we work with, sometimes we simply keep hold of more tasks. That way we can make sure things are done completely the way we want them done. Being overworked somehow seems less risky than having things done that might not meet our exact requirements.

Delegation means taking true responsibility and inevitably means giving up some control. If that sounds a bit scary, how can you overcome your mindset and become a better delegator? Here are some tips:

Realize that you just can’t do it all. Everyone has limits. If you fail to acknowledge yours, you will burn out. Maybe not tomorrow and maybe not even next year, but the stress and pressure of trying to do it all will get you eventually.

Start small. Delegation is a skill and learning it needs patience, persistence, and practice. Start by giving away small, uncomplicated tasks. As your confidence grows so will your willingness to delegate more.

Realize that “Your Way” is not always the “Only Way.” A big part of letting go is the fear that the task will not be done “right.” Consider that there are other ways to achieve the same result.

Work on giving others the tools to do what you do. Delegation will only work if you help your support staff succeed. So make sure he or she has the right resources and then keep communicating, participating and supporting your staff. Remember, delegation means NOT abdicating your responsibility, so you need to make sure you have done everything you can to influence a successful outcome.

Appreciate others’ accomplishments. You might be bored with organizing on-campus visits, but if one of your coaches has never done it, the challenge can be exciting, invigorating, and motivating. The successful outcome is not just a well-organized visit. It’s the opportunity for someone else to shine and get recognized for their achievements.

Seize the opportunity to work on more stimulating projects. The less time you spend on lower level tasks, the more time you have to concentrate on your main objectives. (You know the ones, the really important issues that keep getting shoved to the bottom of the pile because you’re so overloaded…)

Use the leverage. Delegation can put the right people on the right tasks. And the better allocated your coaches and staff are, the greater the productivity, effectiveness and the opportunity for organizational growth.

Delegation, when done well, benefits everyone. You have more time to concentrate on the main responsibilities of your position. Your support staff will have more opportunities to expand and enrich their jobs. An added bonus is the fact that because delegation relieves your own time pressures, the job gets done better in the long run.

So, cast off your preconceptions about delegation! You were doing a good job before: You can do even better when you delegate more. With a fresh perspective and little courage to “let go”, you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve!

To have Mandy Green help you and your program one-on-one, contact her at mandy@dantudor.com. She is the national expert on coaching organization, and has helped hundreds of college coaches become more efficient, better organized leaders of their program.

How Coaches Can Eat Healthier When They’re on the RoadSunday, April 22nd, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Eating healthy when you’re at home can be challenging enough with our demanding coaching careers and busy family lives. At least when you’re at home though, you can control what comes into the kitchen and what lands on your children’s plates.

But what happens when you’re not at home – when you’re traveling with your team, recruiting, or waiting at the airport? 

If we allow ourselves to opt for the faster and easier options because we are in a rush on the road, overtime poor nutrition can leave us over extended, overwhelmed, and overweight, which is obviously not ideal when we have a lot of people counting on us to bring our best every day.

While sticking to your good habits when you’re traveling can be tough, there’s no need to arrive home from your trip with a junk food hangover and 5 extra pounds. There are some simple, yet effective strategies that will help you continue to eat healthy, it just requires some knowledge and organization.

Here are five ideas to help you stick to your healthy eating habits when traveling.

Determine your food rules: A little planning about what your food rules are can go a long way when it comes to eating healthy and saving time while traveling. Before you leave, have the decision made about what foods are a big “no-no” for you and for your team, and what foods you’re willing to “slide” on. For me, a few no-no’s are chips, pop, hotel cookies, or candy. My “slides” are items fried like sweet potato fries. When you do that, you’ll spare yourself the stressful mental banter when opportunities arise and lessen your chances of experiencing any post-consumption “unpleasantness” the next day (and yes, I speak from experience.) You’ll also be able to plan ahead better about what kind of foods to bring with you and how much you’ll need.

Plan Your Snacks Ahead of Time: Whenever possible, arm yourself with healthy snacks for the car, bus, or plane so that you’re not stuck with the limited offerings available at gas stations, airports, or at the hospitality tents at the recruiting event. 

Dried fruits, granola, mixed nuts, apples, oranges, and cereals stay fresh and transport easily – especially with the array of cool, non-toxic containers available.  Invest in some reusable glass or stainless-steel lunch containers and pre-prepare your snacks in advance.  I also recommend checking out Love with Food. It’s a SUPER FUN way to get a box of surprise organic or natural snacks delivered to your door monthly.  And I absolutely love that with each box you buy, they donate a meal to a hungry child.  I really love that part!

Technology is your friend

Finding good places to eat that meet your teams or your nutritional needs can be challenging and very time consuming (gluten free or vegan).  Although most big corporate chain restaurants now provide nutrition information, independently owned restaurants usually don’t.  I don’t know about you, but part of the fun for me when traveling is finding those one-of-a-kind places that you can’t find back home.

There are a lot of apps that can help you locate healthy eating options no matter where you are.  If you have some time before you leave home, check out one of these apps- Healthy Dining Finder,  Eat Well, or Good Food Near You. With a little research and a GPS, you’re instantly connected to restaurants that share your food needs and values.

For example, the Healthy Dining Finder website currently lists healthy menu options from tens of thousands of restaurants around the U.S.-including lots of independently owned and find dining establishments.  Nutrition professionals review and analyze menus according to criteria posted on the Healthy Dining Finder website, where you can search the database by location as well as price.

The Hotel

Search for hotels that offer a mini-fridge in the room. Not only will you be able to house health-promoting foods in your room for easy access, but you’ll also save big money by bringing your own snack foods which can add up quickly on recruiting trips or when trying to feed a team.

If you’re looking at a few different hotels, search each one in google maps prior to booking to see how close they are to surrounding grocery stores and markets. The closer they are, the easier it is to make a stop or two throughout your trip. You can grab simple things like bottled water, or even perishable items like fruit or veggies and dip.

Lastly, do some research on what the hotel breakfast has to offer (especially if it’s free!) Stocking up on hard-boiled eggs or fruit from the breakfast buffet can serve as breakfast or snacks during your trip. Call the hotel ahead of time, or check reviews on Trip Advisor for the hotel (specifically search “breakfast”.)

The Arrival

Whether traveling in your own car or by bus, plan to stop at the grocery store just before reaching your hotel or at some point shortly after you arrive to get items you weren’t able to bring. This is also the time to pick up large bottles of purified water that will last you throughout your trip.

These options are all simple and don’t require a ton of upfront time to get set up.  The upfront time spent on finding healthier food options will save you a lot of time on the backend, and you will go home feeling much better because you stuck to your healthy eating habits. 


What are your tips for eating healthy on-the-go? Please respond to this email at mandy@busy.coach and share your tips.  I’d love to hear them.  Thanks in advance

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