A Woman Coach Sitting With A Female Athlete On A Picnic Bench Reviewing Data On Trainingpeaks

Time Management: Finding the Time to Run Your Coaching Business

BY Carrie Jackson

It can be difficult to balance your coaching business with your training, family life, social life and possibly another job. Sometimes it feels like something (or everything!) is slipping through the cracks.

The currency of time plays a significant role in your daily life. The difference between the currency of time and money is that time is a finite resource — you can’t make more of it. Forever and always, there will only be 24 hours in a day.

All coaches know that effectively managing time is an essential skill. It can feel impossible to run your business and coach your athletes while also getting in your own training. When you’re coaching, you feel like you should be training, and when you’re training, you feel like you should be coaching. Then when you add your family life, social life and possibly another job into the mix, it often feels like something (or everything!) is slipping through the cracks. Although you are stuck with only 24 hours in the day– and adding more hours into a day is out of your control– you can learn ways and make choices to manage your time more effectively.

The Myths of Time Management

Some of the angst you feel when it comes to time management can be alleviated by understanding some of the time management myths we tend to buy into:

Myth 1. There is a time in the future when everything on your to-do list will actually be done.

Personally, this particular myth has caused me a tremendous amount of stress and strife over the years. I give you permission to let that go. It turns out that your to-do list will never actually be done. If you have bought into this myth, you must find peace with the process. You must know that even though there are still things on your to-do list today you, have done enough.

Myth 2. There is a magical time management formula, and you just haven’t discovered it yet.

There is no one perfect formula for time management. There are MANY different strategies (and MANY people that will tell you that theirs is the best), but the truth is you have to figure out which approach works for you and then be consistent with it.

Myth 3. You need to figure out how to get more done in less time.

Nope. What you need to figure out is which tasks deserve your time and which ones don’t. For the tasks that deserve your time, you need better planning. And for the ones that don’t, you need to eliminate, delegate or outsource them.

It’s Time to Be a Good Leader

A lot of time management is learning how to be a good leader of yourself. When you run your own coaching business, you wear many different hats. You are the owner, manager, marketing director, accountant, employee, etc. etc. You have roles that encompass both working in the business and working on the business. For each of these roles, you must tell yourself what to do, how to do it and when. When you work for someone else, they define your role expectations and objectives. They take the time to train you on their procedures and methods and let you know, “Here’s how we do things here…“. When you work for yourself, you have to define those things­– you have to learn to lead yourself.

When it comes to working in the business versus working on the business — you might have a bias toward one or the other. If you find that one side is lacking, it can be helpful to begin balancing them out by carving out a 2–4-hour weekly time block to get in the habit of working on the one that is getting left behind.

The Skills of Effectively Managing Your Time

Once you’ve let go of the time management myths and accepted that you need to be a good leader of yourself, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Time management comes down to several different skills. Just like the physical skills involved in your sport, you must learn each time management skill– and then practice it­– to benefit from it. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you work on improving each of these skills even by 15%, you are well on your way to improving your time management.

Top 5 Time Management Skills:

Planning: This can’t be overstated enough. I am definitely someone that wants to jump into action, and it took me a while to realize that planning things out does save time. “I don’t have time to plan!” cannot be words in your vocabulary. You don’t have time not to. Planning out your month, your week and your day is essential to use the time you have effectively.

Prioritizing: Get clear on where you want to spend your time. It means having self-discipline, the ability to make hard decisions, and the courage to say “no.” Getting clear on what serves your clients and drives your business and what is a waste of time is crucial. You must decide what’s first, what’s second and what doesn’t need to be on the list at all.

Decision Making: A lot of time gets wasted on tasks that make you feel like you are busy and accomplishing something. You get a nice dopamine release each time you check your email, answer your phone as soon as it rings or complete a task that satisfies your immediate reward centers. In the meantime, you haven’t done anything meaningful for your business. Be intentional.

Setting Boundaries: This is a two-parter:

1). Know when to say no to others.

2). Know when to say no to yourself.

When you take on too much, everything falls through the cracks. Boundaries need to be set with your time, schedule and projects, along with expectations — much of managing your time comes down to managing boundaries.

Creating systems: You are running a business. Have you created systems and processes for that business? Streamlining tasks you perform regularly can help you be more productive. Think about the activities you do regularly in your business and figure out what you can automate or template out to save time.

Get Your Priorities Straight

Are you spending your time on the most critical aspects of your business?

Time management isn’t about getting up at 5:00 am so you can do more. Frequently it’s about understanding what you need to stop doing and prioritizing what’s left instead of trying to cram in more until you’re so burnt out you don’t want to coach or compete anymore.

When you’re working too hard

If you feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s time to assess how you’re spending your time.

Here are two questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I filling my time with “busy work”?
  2. Are there tasks that should be delegated to someone else?

Sometimes you can get addicted to the busy work because it makes you feel like you are being productive. You can get that dopamine release again when you check your email and do the more manageable tasks of running your business. Still, chances are you’re sacrificing moving the needle on the most important projects for your business.

Do some inventory on the tasks you do for your business and then decide if any of these should be delegated to someone else. Even if you can do the job, would your time be better spent elsewhere?

When you’re not getting things done (or not working at all):

If you feel like you are easily distracted and not getting the things, it’s time to get intentional.

Here are two questions to ask yourself:

  1. What’s the most important thing I can accomplish this week?
  2. What’s the most important thing I can accomplish today?

You can’t be at the whim of every potential distraction that comes your way; you have to own your time. Another great tip is to make use of setting a timer. Think about the task in front of you (i.e., checking your email, writing up a training plan, social media marketing, etc.) and estimate how long you think it will take to accomplish the task. Then set a timer for 10 minutes less than your estimated time and get to work. The act of setting that timer and having the goal to accomplish your task before the timer goes off can be a helpful tool for keeping your focus on the task at hand.

As a coach, you know that the bottom line is — if you want to get better at something, you have to prioritize it and then put in the work. Take two ideas from this article right now and start there. The work you put in will pay off in dividends.

A Coach Using Trainingpeaks On Her Laptop In Her Home Office

Start Your 7-Day Free Trial

TrainingPeaks App

Explore all TrainingPeaks features and more with a free seven-day trial for coaches. Tools built by coaches to make coaching easier.

Avatar1543608288 7
About Carrie Jackson

Carrie Jackson is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant and expert in the field of sport and peak performance psychology. She is the co-author of the book Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries, as well as co-host of the podcast The Injured Athletes Club. She also runs a Mastermind to help coaches Level Up their coaching businesses. Sign up for her Mental Training Email List and find out more about her programs over at www.carriejackson.com. Follow her @feedtheathlete

Related Articles