Managing Time

Everyone is aware of how much time managament is important to professional success. And it couldn’t be different for the success of a coach. And I’m really bad at it. So I’m writing this post not to teach anyone how to manage their time, but to help me troubleshoot it.

I’m very good at writing plans but not as good in following them. Hopefully it will change this time, as I’ll try to break down the behaviors to manage my time more efficiently.

I think the first step to do it is to establish priorities. Tasks that will have to be done in one way or another need to be prioritized, not only because my jobs depend on it, but because completing them will create peace of mind. The anxiety of being late to complete a task is toxic. I’ve been there many many times, from my childhood to yesterday.

Currently the tasks that NEED to be completed at any cost are the ones related to my activities with Brisbane Roar. It’s a very professional environment and everything needs to be done diligently. The other tasks that I have (and I struggle with), are getting my days ready to go (i.e. organizing my gear, cooking the food I’ll take not to starve during my workday), and being at places punctually. I think in my life I’ve been on time around 15% of the times. I’m always late. Maybe a trait I learned (or not learned) from my mom. We are pathologically late people. And it’s IMPOSSIBLE for a football coach to be successful in that manner. Not only because it’s practically bad to be late as it is, but also because we teach by example. Also, being late not only brings more anxiety, but it’s dangerous: I become a much more agressive and less careful driver, often having meals while driving.

With all that information, a few goals can be set:
– Arrive everywhere not only on time, but EARLY (30 min would be good)
– Have everything organized to LEAVE home early (30 min also)
– Give total priority to the tasks that NEED to be completed
– Storing things always at the same place, so they’re easy to find (my fiance’s contribution)

That means that If I need to come up with Roar Set Pieces for Thursday’s sessions, and the videos are available on Monday, why am I waiting to do it Thursday morning? What if something happens? My fiancee can get sick, the internet connection might not work, etc. Also, if I finish it early, I can come up with better ideas to improve it. Plus I’ll simply be in a better state of mind to do a better job. Easy, hey? So why don’t I do it? Pure and simple lack of discipline, I suppose. A pathologically bad state of mind. Product of getting away with mediocrity my entire life.

If I want to be VERY GOOD, I can’t just get away with things. I have to put my best effort into it, and that involves the correct mindset, which involves being on time and organized. It’s a chain effect.

Having all of this sorted, we go to the next phase. The tasks that are important to get done, but If I don’t, it won’t kill me. The clearest example is preparing my U14 sessions or preparing my dance classes, or even writing to this blog. If I don’t do it, I can still drive the session or teach the class, and they might even be good. But If I did prepare it in advance, chances are that my work would just be better. Again, I can get away with it, but am I doing the best I could? Far from it. It’s not just bad in itself, but also creates anxiety, because down deep I know I could be doing a better job. And this phase is intimately linked to the first one (completing the priority tasks): If I haven’t completed the high priorities, how can I be doing the non-priorities? Again a chain effect, and the anxiety snowballs.

Socializing and nurturing our relationships also fall into this category. If we don’t ever have time to catch up with friends, or spend time with our family, will that kill us? Definitely not. But our lives will just be so much better if we do. I’m not talking about my relationship with my fiancee, being that if I don’t spend spend quality time with her more than often the effects will be almost immediate. . In fact, it’s disputable if this shouldn’t be our number one priority, above work. It’s never been to me. Maybe it’s time to review my priorities?

After this stage, comes the last one: Doing the things that we don’t need at all, but we want to. In my case it means: Things for fun,(xbox, movies, museum) reading and studying random things (just for the sake of knowledge) and activities that I want to get good at, but I don’t need (poker, languages, hip hop dancing, cooking, etc). This is where we need to be extra careful. There are tutorials on pretty much every human activity. Youtube can teach us all. It’s good to have knowledge of a variety of things. But it’s also easy to get lost amidst so many possibilities and doing a lot of activities poorly and none properly. We need to take care of our spare time just as much we take care of our working time.

BUT!!! There’s a but. With so many things to do, we forget that THERE MUST BE TIME when we don’t do anything. Times to just relax and think of life. It can be directed thinking (which is essential for a coach), such as specific things related to our activities, where’s life taking us, an assessment of our days, troubleshooting. Or plane and simple meditation, where we try to clear our mind of everything.

Phew! More to come on the subject. I feel like each one of these paragraphs deserves an article itself.

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