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“The One Thing” by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

This article was originally posted on Beyond the Ball, a football coaching blog focused on the mental aspects of the game.  These four secrets to productivity are applicable to coaches of all sports and are great areas of focus for off-season reflection.  One of our missions at MaxOne is to empower coaches to be more productive – check out our demo videos to see how we can help.

 

Coaches, Fight to Be Productive!

For the professional coach, the offseason is spent finding ways to improve himself and his team. Personally, this causes me to assess the things that are going well and scrutinize my weaknesses in an effort to continually get better.

This pursuit leads me to a lot of reading in the offseason, largely because I don’t have the time to do a lot of reading in-season. My most recent offering was The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It has pushed me to address one of my most urgent convictions: my productivity. Our days require us to plan, script, watch film, draw cards, print plans, post information, notify staff members, brainstorm for creativity, care for our players, handle recruiting, communicate to parents, answer e-mail…and the list goes on. And we love it.

We all know and understand the commitment and joy that comes with the coaching profession. Few people understand that we don’t finish our work based on the time on the clock, but based on the completion of the task at hand, however long that may take! Walking away before the job is done is never an acceptable option.

This being the case, I realized that I should seriously be analyzing how I harness my time to maximize my productivity. Inefficiency in this area doesn’t just hurt me; it hurts my family and my staff. I needed to find ways, not simply to do more, but to do more of the things that matter, each and every day, without cutting corners. I want to do more of the things that will make a difference in my areas of influence. In this case, in coaching. Here were a few items I took away:

 

Keys to Productivity

  • Be intentional with your time. Leave nothing up to chance! You wouldn’t roll out to a practice without drawing and scripting plays. You have to think of your day like you think of your practice. There must be a plan and you need to stick to the plan. Which leads into…
  • You must protect your time. Fight for your time! Everything in the world will work against you to knock you off course. But the more you stick to your plans, the more people will understand and respect when you are actually available. This single action, though challenging, will keep you on task and assist in making you more productive.
  • Narrow your focus. Not everything can matter equally. You must develop the skill to ignore that which can afford to be ignored. Otherwise, you become like a dog chasing a squirrel where everything steals your attention and drains you of your energy. We may feel and be busy, but we aren’t producing that which is valuable.
  • Know your purpose. This is more than motivational a pep-talk. This is a guiding principle to prioritize the things that deserve most of your attention. If you know your purpose, you can prioritize your tasks appropriately. If you can prioritize your tasks appropriately and do them, you can become uncommonly productive.

Great organizations, great football programs, are built one productive person at a time.