by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota
I was on the phone with a coach a few days ago who is the soccer coach at her school. She is the Sports Information Director and is teaching 2 classes this semester. Not to mention, she is a wife who has 3 kids. Understandably, she is already feeling overwhelmed. It is a week into the new school year and was seeking advice on how to fit in everything to her very jam packed day. It is tough enough for coaches who only have coaching and recruiting responsibilities. But there are many coaches who in addition to coaching and recruiting, have teaching and other administrative responsibilities on their plate.
I have had a lot of coaches contact me feeling stressed out and overwhelmed because there is so much to do and their job has pretty much become their life. Two of the techniques that I have been teaching these coaches are 1) categorize all of the work that they have to do and 2) block time in their schedule where they try to eliminate all distractions and focus on nothing but getting that particular work done.
For many years now, I have been organizing what I have to do in the office with this method. It’s been an ongoing learning process and, as I have found and tweaked what works and doesn’t work, I would estimate it has tripled my office productivity.
Here is how it works – Using the Green Time Management Planner, I keep it simple and set up five blocks of time during the day to work on specific things. These are the five blocks that I use based on my job responsibilities. You can set up as many blocks as needed based on your specific tasks.
Block One- Planning
Block one is my planning block. I do it first before I even turn on my computer. I first start with deciding who I am going to reach out to that day and write it down in my Green Time Management Planner for Coaches. I reach out with the purpose of building or starting a relationship with somebody on campus, a coach, a parent, a booster, etc. As soon as I turn on my computer, I crank out that email before I do anything else. I can say with all honesty by reaching out to just one person a day like I have been doing, it has probably reduced our recruiting process time in half.
Next, I start creating or adding to my to-do list for the day. One of the problems I have found with To-Do Lists is that they tend to lump all the items into one big long list without any order or structure. Starting at the top and working your way down is not always the best way to get things done. As you write down more and more things to do, your To-Do list becomes bigger and more chaotic, and pretty soon you get lost in all of the details.
What I have done to overcome this issue is to separate the tasks into 4 categories: Team, Administrative, Personal, and Recruiting on my Green Time Management Planner for Coaches daily pages. I have found that when I take my tasks and arrange them in categories, it’s much easier and efficient to do related tasks one after another, rather than interspersing them with un-related tasks.
Before I get into writing down all of the busy things that need to get done, I first strategically think about and make note of the things I could do during the day to move my program forward in each of those categories. Activities that I believe will help develop my program become priority number one. These items gets done first when I get to the block of time during the day that I have allocated for each category.
Block 2- Recruiting Time
The recruiting time I take each day will depend on what time of year it is and how much there is to do. Some days I only need a half hour to do all of the recruiting things I need to do, but most days I work on recruiting for at least the first hour of the day. During this time, my staff and I focus on nothing but recruiting our future team. We may set up our recruiting plan for next month, analyze how our recruiting is going this month, write and send letters and recruiting emails, plan phone call questions, schedule on-campus visits, etc. I try to do all of my recruiting tasks first thing in the morning when I have the most energy and am least likely to get interrupted.
Block 3- Team time
During this time I am reading, planning, strategizing, and thinking how to make my team better. I am calling and talking to other coaches, planning practice, scouting up-coming opponents, etc.
Block 4- Administration time.
During my administrative time, I get my paperwork done, schedule games, do game reports, compliance, camp stuff, and go to meetings, etc.
Block 5- Personal time
Every 45 to 60 minutes, I schedule 15 minutes to get up and walk around a little bit or I sit down on the floor in my office and stretch. I use this 15 minutes to “recharge my batteries” and it has been a tremendous help in keeping my energy consistent throughout the day. I also block 30 minutes for exercise, and some lunch time.
How much time I block out on my calendar will depend on how much work I have to do in each category. Setting a time for each block gives me a deadline and gets me working faster than I would if I just start working on something and have an “I will finish it when I finish” it mentality.
I have been setting up my days this way for quite a while now and have really loved the results I’ve gotten. I have spent the last four years creating a college coach specific Day Planner and a Time Management Workbook to go with it. If you would like me to help you get the same results or want to look at the Planner and Workbook check out my website at www.mandygreencps.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mandy Green is a frequent contributor to College Recruiting Weekly, and is a Division I head soccer coach. Coaches around the country know her as a premier expert on organization and coaching, and she is the developer of the Green Time Management System College Coaches.