by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota
I’m sure you understand the frustration that comes with leaving the office and not feeling like you got the right things done.
Getting through a daily checklist is one of the things we have to do as a coach, and it’s tough. I know, because I am a Division I soccer coach. And, now that I am married and have children, all the extra time I had to hang out in the office getting work done, make phone calls, talking with fellow coaches, recruiting on the weekends from morning to night, is now not an option like it was when I was single.
For me, especially once my son was born, I realized that I needed to get the same amount of work done in half the time so I could spend more time at home. I needed a plan.
I spent a lot of time researching all of the different options available in the marketplace, tried to see what would work with the unique schedule of a college coach, and found three time management tools and techniques that I have put to use in an effort to increase my productivity, get more organized, and to regain my sanity. I found that each of them takes a little time to learn and master, but trust me, it will pay you back in greater efficiency and effectiveness as a college coach and recruiter!
1. Use a written daily planner. I think most coaches use some kind of planner already. But if you are anything like me, I had a notebook for my practices, my daily calendar where I put my to-do lists, a separate notebook with my goals, and then scattered on the three different computers and all of my zip discs were all of my recruiting plans and notes. I needed to create a time planning system that would enable me to plan for the year, the month, the week, and for each day all in one that contained everything I needed to organize my coaching responsibilities and personal life. Since no planner existed that had everything that I needed, I created one. This planner allows me to set and keep track of my goals, organize my recruiting, keep track of what I am doing with my team, and a lot more. Whatever time planner you use, make sure you are able to capture every task, goal, or required action as it comes up in your daily life as a college coach.
2. Always work from a list. Working from a written list has been one of the most powerful tools for me in becoming more productive with my time. When you create your daily list, you begin by writing down every single task that you intend to complete over the course of the day. I figured out that what I needed to do in a typical day fell into one of four categories: Team, recruiting, administrative, and personal. I organize and prioritize each task based on what category it falls in and then that list becomes a map that guides me from morning to evening in a very effective and efficient way. At the end of the day, I take 10 minutes before I leave the office to make my to-do list for the next day and then review it again before I go to bed. It is amazing how much more focused I am and how much more I get done when I have a plan of attack already set before I get into the office.
3. Time block your day. Once you have your written to-do list and have organized them based on importance or priority, block off a section of your day where you focus on only one thing at a time. For example, I have the most energy and get the fewest interruptions first thing in the morning. For me, recruiting is the task that I feel is most important in building my program into what I want it to be so I schedule it first. From 8am to 9am every morning, I shut my door and all I do is recruiting tasks: I send and return emails, plan recruiting trips, plan my next month’s recruiting messages, meet with my staff to discuss who we are going to make calls to, etc. I don’t answer my phone, I don’t return any new emails that have come in. All I do is focus on recruiting for that hour.
Just by doing these 3 things, I am amazed at how much more I get done and that I even have time left over in the day before I head home. I love the peace of mind and feeling of control that I get knowing that I am scheduling my day based on my program goals and getting it all done before I leave.
For me, creating an effective organizational plan has been the key to recruiting my best recruiting class ever, and being a first-time mom and wife. I think it will have the same impact for you and your college coaching career.
Mandy Green will be leading a session at this year’s National Collegiate Recruiting Conference in Nashville on June 3-5, 2011. She is going to introduce her unique organizational guide to attendees and describe how to use it for maximum effectiveness. To register, click here!