by 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.
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com to set up an appointment. Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Busy Coach, 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 busy.coach.