By: Russ Waterman, CAA, Certified Mental Performance Coach & District Athletic Director - Eastmont School District (WA)
On any given day across the country, an athletic administrator wakes up in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning to this thought: all the tasks they did not get done or that need to be done.
You see, it does not matter if you are a full-time athletic administrator at a school in the biggest classification in your state or a part-time athletic administrator that is still teaching in the classroom or assigned to other duties in the district, the job has demands and duties that need to be completed.
It can become daunting and overwhelming. Clearing athletes, eligibility checks, grade checks, coach compliance, equipment orders, contest scheduling, transportation, officials, workers, gate receipts, safety at events, facility needs and care, parents, teachers, athletes... I could fill the page with all the duties required.
If you read and visualize the title of this article, this is what any day for an athletic administrator can feel like. BUT it does not HAVE to be that way.
I often say to colleagues that the only people that know our job are those that are in the job. I want to share some ideas that can help organize your day, week, and life. These ideas I learned from great mentors in the field.
There are 168 hours in a week; no more and no less. So knowing we have a finite amount of time to get a seemingly infinite list of duties done, we need to be on our "A Game" in our organization. Let's look at three strategies that can help you not drown at the end of the fire hose.
1. 168 Hour Calendar
Start scheduling your week to maximize those 168 hours. Begin by organizing your week in 30 minute increments for each day. As you get more comfortable with scheduling your 168 hour calendar you can start to work in 15 minute increments. You can do this by paper and pencil or on Outlook or Google Calendar. Block your time for Sunday through Saturday; think larger blocks of time because you can dial it in later. Start blocking the most important things first in this order and color code them:
2. AM/PM Routine and Start Stop Continue
Dedicate 15-20 minutes each morning to get your mind right; plan out your day and dial in your priorities of work.
WELL, BETTER, HOW
On your Sunday 168 prep time, you should reflect back on your work week and be able to identify a clearer path for your coming week. Begin by identifying behaviors/habits you are doing well. This is something that has assisted you in being the best athletic administrator you can be. Next, identify and list up to 3 things that you need to do better. These are things that are inhibiting or creating roadblocks to your success. Finally you need to list how you will improve the items you have listed under your better category. List two or three habits that will help you start down this path. It can be relational, professional or personal. List habits that will help you accomplish becoming your very best. You need to come back to this weekly and reassess. Have you accomplished what you wanted? Does your trajectory need to change? Perform another "Well, Better, How." Rinse and repeat.
PRO TIP: start using the app Habit Share. Here you can list all the habits and positive behaviors you are doing or starting to do. You can assign a frequency of days to do the habit and then check it off during your PM Routine. You then start to see successes in your habits, which builds the desire to keep going and create more success. This is also known as the "success cycle."
3. 43 FOLDERS
In one drawer of a filing cabinet, place 43 folders. Label 31 of them with the numbers 1 through 31. This represents each day of a month. The other 12 folders label with each month of the year. At the start of a new month, place that month's folder at the front of the drawer. In this folder place the monthly duties and tasks that you must complete. Most state associations have a monthly list of duties for athletic administrators to use as a guide. You will be able to use these to help with your 168 calendar. At the end of each day, place any unfinished work or scheduled work in the folder labeled for the next work day. This gets it off your desk and into a folder you will pull out the next day.
PRO TIP: Make sure you place all clutter that is not in your daily folder away in its place. If it is not relevant to your task at hand, place it in a future task folder or the circular folder (trash can). This will help you come into a clean and orderly office and give you a clean desk to start your day.
Streamline your process and play offense each day with your calendar, do not play defense and let your calendar run you! By doing these simple things and sticking to them, you will start to find that the fire hose becomes a simple water fountain.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or if you want supporting documents or forms for the 168 calendar, AM/PM Routine, or Habit Share.