Why Busy Isn’t Productive

We rush around every day in a quest to win the busy trophy. A great read here by Ashley Read about why that’s the wrong approach.

The Unimportance of Almost Everything

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Mapping My Days

A day in the life of a college coach can consist of any number of a thousand things on the to-do list. It’s impossible to do them all – there will always be work that is pushed to tomorrow.

I’ve struggled with how to best manage the workload and prioritize what’s important today. It’s easy to build a long to-do list, get one or two things crossed off and feel like you accomplished nothing on that day.

Recently, I began doing to activities on a regular basis that have really helped me manage my days. The first was to monitor how I used my time throughout the day in 15 minute intervals. Just a quick note to jot down what I was doing or how long an activity took me to do. If it took more than 15 minutes I drew a line through to the end. This helped me to get a much better feel for how long things really take.

The second thing I did was to add my “Top 3” for every day on to this sheet. Every day, I have three things that are time sensitive (have a time assigned to them), three things that I want to do that day, and three things that I have to do for me. This helps me to prioritize my activities for that day and have a guide for what I want to accomplish. It also helps me to maintain some balance in my life – get things done in my personal life that need to be done. The time sensitive things can be meetings or just projects that I put a deadline on. The three things to do can be anything from phone calls to organize my desk. Personal items are often things like go to the grocery and workout. At the end of the day, I almost always get my “Top 3” done, as well as the million other things that come across my desk.

Ultimately, there are a lot of different ways to organize your day to make it the most efficient and productive it can be. I’ve found this to work for me – I suggest trying a few different things and figuring out what works best for you. I’ve attached the sheet as an excel file – feel free to check it out for yourself.

Time Mapping

Daily Planning

There are a number of daily activities that I find vital to my success as a coach. One of them is planning and itemizing my day. Every night before I go home I complete a “To Do” list for the next day. It lists the tasks I have to complete, the phone calls I have to make, and any other items of note. The first thing I do when I arrive at the office in the morning is review my “To Do” list to see if there are any items I left off or that were added overnight. Then I spend a few minutes to think about the timeline of my day and what order I am going to get things done in. I strategize and organize my day based around activities I know that I have to get done and when would be the most productive time to do them.

Completing my “To Do” list and organizing my day is a relatively short and simple task that makes me infinitely more productive. As a coach, it helps to keep me on task and focused on what I have to do next. Without this organization and planning it would be very easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the never-ending work. It is the difference between the quality and the quantity of my work

“Never mistake activity for productivity”