If there is one thing that coaches would like to have more of, it is time. I’m not sure why, but I am fascinated by people who are able to get a lot of things done in a very little time, as well as those who are able to thrive, even with a very busy lifestyle. If you are currently coaching, odds are you have many irons in the fire and are required to wear many hats. As a coach, being in charge of your time and making the best use of it is an essential quality that will help you be successful. I want to share with you how I schedule my time. I hope that this benefits you, and hopefully, you can get some ideas that will help you be more productive in your life as well.
My system is very simple. Here it is in a 4-bullet nut shell:
- Decide what your highest priorities are
- List the steps needed to accomplish those priorities
- Schedule a specific time and date to complete those steps
- Execute and repeat
Although what I do may not be a perfect fit for you, it is important that whatever system you choose works well for you. We live in a world full of to-do lists, productivity apps, calendars, planners, and sticky notes, and it can be paralyzing sometimes just thinking about how we can keep track of our responsibilities. Regardless of what method you use, no system or app will work without discipline and execution on your part.
I have read numerous books and articles on productivity. Some strategies have worked for me, while others have not worked at all. The system that I describe below has taken me time to refine and it works very well for me. I hope that within you can find some ideas that resonate with you and adapt them to work with your unique personality.
I have tried countless apps, systems, and calendars, but ultimately I have settled on two main tools that work very well for me. The two tools that I use to manage my schedule are a Moleskine journal and Google Calendar.
Deciding Priorities and Objectives:
Regardless what you decide to do, you must always start with the end in mind. Starting with the end in mind enables me to be proactive in my daily decision making because every task and appointment must pass through the filter of “how is the activity/task pushing me towards accomplishing my end objective”? Below is the 2 step process that I take part in to “work with the end in mind”.
- I break my life into broad categories – my broad categories are listed below:
- Basketball Coordinator at Spooky Nook Sports
- Running leonzobasketball.com
- Conducting private training sessions for local players
- My personal life
- Using the quarter system – break the year up into 4, 3-month chunks and establish at least 1 objective each quarter to accomplish in each category of my life
I use my Moleskine Journal to capture these ideas, here is what it looks like:
The process that I follow for listing these objectives out is to:
- Divide my Moleskine into 4 sections on one page (seen above)
- In the top section I list my objective in each of the broad categories
- In this sections below I list the three months of that quarter (April, May, June shown)
- I list out the tasks that need to get done each month so that I can accomplish these objectives prior to the end of the quarter
The Daily Practice:
One I have laid out my highest values and objectives for the current quarter, I then need to make a plan to work systematically towards these objectives each and every day. The process that I follow to make small, controllable steps towards my objectives looks like this:
- Write down 3 things that I am thankful for
- Reflect daily back on the month specific steps that I have already laid out in my Moleskine
- Decide which of those steps needs my immediate attention
- Write out all the possible activities that I can think of that need to be done in the current day
- Star three of those items, putting them into the category of “things I must accomplish before going to sleep”
- Open google calendar on my phone or computer and schedule a specific time of day to accomplish those three tasks
- Fill in the rest of my calendar with the other listed tasks by scheduling them all to be complete at a specific time
- My google calendar then becomes my “to-do list” for the day
- Because I have tasks scheduled for a certain time, I am not thrown off course by events that may come up during the day
- Open my Moleskine and cross off all of the items that I completed that day
- For items that were left undone, move them to a list for the next day directly below
- Write and answer the following three questions:
- What have I given today?
- What did I learn today?
- How has today added to the quality of my life?
My list of things I am thankful for:
My daily lists of tasks:
Tasks scheduled into google calendar:
My phone calendar acting as my daily to-do list:
Staying on Track:
Consistency and self-discipline are the two cornerstones of productivity. If you lack those two foundational pieces, you will be unlikely to ever be on track for an extended period of time. That being said, it is important to note some different strategies that I use to keep myself on pace and evaluate how I am using my time. There are two main methods that I use to make this happen:
Method #1: Plan a time each week to review the previous week
For me, this is every Friday at 7am. Fridays are my day off, and as a result I am able to take some time to reflect on how I am spending my time and how I can grow and improve in the upcoming week. Some questions to ask yourself as part of this review can be seen below: (I keep these answers in a spreadsheet on google drive with individual tabs separating weeks)
- What were this week’s wins?
- What were this week’s losses?
- What specific and controllable actions will I take this next week to right the losses?
- What personal development resources did I utilize this past week/what did I learn?
- What personal development resources will I access this upcoming week?
It is all very simple, it just takes discipline to execute these simple steps week in and week out.
Method #2: Giving yourself grace
If you are like me, you will not be able to execute this process without missing a day or two or falling short at one time or the other. While I’m big on self-discipline, I also understand the need to give myself grace because I will never execute the system perfectly. One idea that I approach each set back with is “never miss twice”. Never make the same mistake two days in a row. For instance, if I forget to write and answer my daily questions before I go to sleep, I do not beat myself up the next day, but rather resolve to make it a priority for the next day. By refusing to miss twice, I ensure that I will live my life with a high degree of consistency and self-discipline.
I have no idea whether or not this system will work well for you, but I can vouch that it works very well for me. As I mentioned earlier in this article, there are many different strategies that I have tried to implement in my life prior, but I’ve had a poor level of success with them. The art of productivity and getting things done is highly personal and individualized. It is vital that you take some of the ideas that I talk about here and try to adapt them to best fit your lifestyle and your process rather than taking my whole system verbatim. I hope that what I wrote about has been helpful to you, and I would love to hear your ideas as to what you do to stay on track and get things done. Thanks for reading!