The Art of Time Management
by Coach Cathy
Do you ever wonder how athletes who juggle their career, family, school and other responsibilities are still able to get all their workouts completed in a week? Where do they find the time to get everything accomplished? Being proficient with your time may be tough but it can be done! Here are a few ideas that can improve your time management skills.
Set your goals. First and foremost, look ahead and at the big picture. This time of year is perfect for reflecting on the past while looking forward to the New Year. Take time to think about both and decide your short and long term goals. Collaborate with a coach and plan for the next 30, 60 and 90 days and decide what do you want to accomplish as an athlete and what other activities or events you want or need to attend. Cross check with your family members to gain support needed to accomplish your goals and to ensure you’ve accounted for their activities as well. This is one way of avoiding scheduling conflicts early.
Schedule EVERYTHING!! And I mean everything! From going to the grocery store, to taking your kids to school, to doing laundry, to training for your up and coming race. Write down all your activities and plan for how long each activity will take, then block that time on the calendar. Try to utilize a daily planner, a computer or a smart phone, whichever works for you. Your calendar is your lifeline so use it daily! Writing down your activities is a form of commitment, because if it’s on your calendar, then you’re more likely to get it done.
Learn to say “No.” This may be easier said than done for many of us, especially when family needs you or when a friend calls to have dinner with you. But remember your short and long term goals. Remember your schedule on your calendar. If you can’t spare the time, then say No! Don’t worry, saying no doesn’t make you unkind or rude. In fact, you should be respected because you are prioritizing the valuable things in your life and most people understand especially when you have the support of family and friends.
Be flexible! There will be times when you can’t say no. For example, you or your kids may be sick which prevents you from getting your long run done that day. Stuff happens in life with either work, family or friends and you have to manage through it knowing it is short term and that you’ll adjust.
Get a coach. Have you considered hiring a mentor? If not, then you should. A coach can help save you substantial time, which will allow you to focus on your other responsibilities. No more doing research to figure out what workouts to complete or worrying about which race to attend. Instead, as a coached athlete, you have an experienced mentor to guide every aspect of your journey. As one example, you are given a weekly, custom-designed plan and you are held accountable for each workout. This plan prevents you from “talking yourself out of” completing a workout on your own and it solidifies the likelihood of accomplishing your short & long-term goals. Thus, hiring a coach as your mentor is definitely a value-add and is something to consider to improve your time management skills.
Have fun!! Most importantly, we are athletes because we love our sport and we have fun doing it! Please never forget about the fun! When you have fun everything else tends to fall in place and becomes second nature.
Hopefully these time management tips will help your schedule fall into place where you can get everything done, even your workouts! Happy scheduling!!
Cathy Obordo is a USAT certified Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Cathy and the Experience Triathlon staff help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life. Learn more about Coach Cathy and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com.