by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota
“I just don’t have time to do it all.”
I hear that a lot from the coaches I work with. It also seems to have become the mantra of this generation of coaches. Most feel overwhelmed. There’s just so much to do! Over and over again comes the same frustrated question: “How do I fit it all in?”
For all college coaches, fitting it all in is a function of priority management. If you think about it, priority management is less about managing your calendar than it is about managing your decisions. By learning to prioritize and manage your decisions well, you will have a leg up on most of your competitors because you’ll be putting onto your calendar what is truly most important to you.
Unfortunately, while most coaches have thoughts, hunches, and ideas about what is important, they rarely transfer those ideas to their calendars. And that is why it so quickly fills up with reactive stuff:
“Oh, I need to have that meeting with the captains?”
“Oh, there’s this crisis with the team?”
“Oh, I haven’t got that recruiting letter out yet?”
“Oh, I have to take this call from admissions?”
Coaches who talk like this get to what they label as “important” only after reacting to the crisis stuff. Many coaches everyday give the controls of their day—and with it their success and sanity—to anyone and everyone who asks.
How does this happen? It happens when you don’t make and stick to a daily plan. I see it quite often with the coaches that I am working with, they feel unproductive and stressed out at the end of most days and the reason is that they don’t get into the drivers seat and control the route and outcome of their day.
When starting the process of managing your decisions, first ask yourself these 3 important questions.
1. What is important to you? You will not be able to manage your daily routine until you first figure out what is most important to you. Whatever that may be, you know that getting it done will enable you to be more focused, productive, successful, and happier.
2. What is your vision? Running a program without a vision of where you want to be is much like building a puzzle without having the picture on the box.
3. What is your roadmap to success look like? What will it take to win at your program? What are the things your staff and team needs to do everyday to be successful?
The answers to the three questions above are the non-negotiables. These things have to be scheduled into your calendar and worked on everyday.
Coach, if you don’t schedule your priorities, everyone and everything else around you will. If you don’t take charge of your schedule, your team, assistants, recruits, parents, administrators, and whoever or whatever else will fill your days for you. If you don’t identify your top priorities and schedule your day around them, at the end of the day you’ll always find yourself using leftover space to cram in what you consider important. The worst thing? The end of the day is usually family time or exhaustion time.
If you find yourself in that regrettable situation, there’s only one thing to do: Step up and take charge of your schedule.
Mandy Green is the head women’s soccer coach at the University of South Dakota, and the author of a new time management system for college coaches. She will also be a featured speaker at the upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference.