Time Management for the Sports Industry - Work in Sports Podcast e122

We all struggle with managing our to do list and prioritizing our day. In this episode Brian shares some tips to make life more efficient! Isn't that the goal?!

Hi everybody I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast.

I just got back from Phoenix we had our quarterly business summit with our team at Work in Sports, and a couple of notes. We have some big things coming, which I am very, very excited about. There is still a ton of work to be done, but we have the framework in place for some dynamic changes that will serve all of you better.

We’re a customer focused company, and when we have these quarterly business meetings all we ask ourselves is, “what can we be doing to serve our members and our partners better?”

Last year, we focused hard on upping the quantity and quality of our jobs – we used to hover around 6-7,000 jobs, and in the last year we’ve added so many new employers to our site that we are now up to 10,000+ jobs.

Think about that for a second – we focus in on many of the small to mid-sized employers in the sports industry, so when you come to our site you will find 10,000 available sports jobs from all kind of employers, many of which you may never have even known existed.

I mean I had never heard of True North Sports and Entertainment, but when I go on our site I see they are hiring for a Manager of corporate partnerships. And right next to it I see a job with the Boston Celtics for a Sr, Coordinator of Community Engagement.

Point is, we have them all. Big and small. And that was our big push last year, this podcast and upping our job totals. I’d say both have been a success. This year we have a new focus and it's going to be really cool.

The second note I had from our business summit was this. 4 times a year I go to Phoenix, and it’s a total change from my norm. It’s dry, it’s hot, it’s sunny… no humidity, no rain, clear skies, bright sun.

You know what happened this last trip. Rained the whole damn time. I’m inside most of the time anyway working… but come on. Can’t a guy get dried out a little bit?

Alright let’s move on to this weeks question from John in Missouri – John’s going to get a free month on WorkinSports for asking a question and having his question answered… you can too!

Email me, podcast@workinsports.com or hit me up on LinkedIn, or through our private facebook group. Many options.


Sports Career Question from John in Missouri!


Question from John in Missouri:

Hey Brian, big fan of the podcast, thanks so much for what you do. I’m currently a senior in college and I’m probably trying to do too much. I’m interning for a local team, volunteering at the school paper and in the athletic department, I’m president of a few clubs on campus, have a full class load and …to be honest, some days I am way overloaded.

I’m doing this all so I have notable experiences on my resume, but it brings up two questions:

1: I feel like my time management is poor – do you have any advice?

2: Is all of this necessary or am I just doing a lot of running around like a crazed man for nothing?

John – I like both of these questions.

For the first part on time management – I stress to people all the time that they need to focus on time management when they are in the early stages of your career (I view college as the start of your career – because time is your own to manage). The reason you need to focus on time management early on is because the workload and demands of your career and life will get harder from here, and if your processes aren’t well structured you’ll struggle to manage your own growth.

Here’s what goes wrong when you don’t have time management processes in place:

  • You limit your potential –
  • being inefficient limits your ability to accomplish what you should, and reflects poorly on you
  • You scramble your priorities, if you don’t weigh out what is most important, you tend to go toward the things you like to do, or can accomplish faster. So you put the wrong things first.

I look back at my early career now and think – I used to feel stressed when I had a job that I worked 40-50 hours a week.

Now I look back at that and say “man I was a chump” I’ve got so much more on my plate now than I did then! If I couldn’t manage my time well, I’d be a wreck.

So let’s get into this idea of time management.

The first thing you need to analyze is your overall commitments. This ties into John’s second question, which we will get into more detail on later, but take a step back and decide what is essential. Ask yourself a really pointed question “Am I trying to do too much?”

Then ask the even tougher question, “Am I trying to serve too many other people, at the risk of hurting myself?”

I’ve known countless people who can’t say n to people who ask for help…but they end up stressing and damaging themselves in the name of others.

Like I have this one friend who will work his tail off all week, has three kids so he’s always at school functions and sports events… and then if someone says hey can you help me move this weekend, he’ll always say yes.

I get it – he has a kind heart…but at what cost? He goes back into work on Monday already tired, the stress mounts, he makes a mistake, his boss gets mad he gets passed over for a promotion and his kids don’t get to go to college…all because he helped a friend move.

Of course I’m speaking hyperbolically – but the point remains. If you over do it, you don’t do anything well. Figure out what you need, what you want, and what you can give up on your commitments. That is step one on time management.


Time Management for the Sports Industry


Here’s how I manage my day – you’ll need to embrace your own method, but this has sure as shit worked for me.

I write down all of the things I need to get done today. This is just list form, no priority, no status no nothing. Just a list.

Writing things down helps you remember them, this is a fact. So while I’m very adept at my iPhone, I like to do this on paper, or for me in a notebook. The physical action helps me think through all the processes.

Now at this point, I just have a list. It’s static, it doesn’t say much, it’s kind of lame.

Now I organize – three categories:  A, B and C priorities.

A: Must get done – high priority, high need for focus, high expectation.

B: Less priority, still important, less time consuming.

C: Needs to get done, but not necessarily today, or could be done in short time.

Now I’ve got my list of what is important… but now how you attack the list matters too. So many people say “take on your biggest. Most time-consuming challenge of the day first!”

This may work for you – it does not for me.

I like a little ramp up time. I may bang out 2-3 of my easier/less time consuming B tasks early on because I like momentum. I like crossing things off my list… that’s what gets me going and feeling accomplished. After getting a few things checked off, then I go back to the big things.

Now don’t get mired in the small things, and don’t take a break on facebook, for a hour. I’m just saying for me, I like to check off two to three small follow ups, or emails, or simple tasks to get things rolling.

Then I go after my big project of the day.

Take today for example, I did three social media posts, and wrote 5 emails, before jumping into the script for today's podcast – which is my big to do today.

I alternate this way. Work on something that may take an hour of time, then go knock out a few 10 minute projects. Then back to a bigger priority. You attack your whole list this way, and make real progress.

One last point, there is a little nuance here. I also reverse engineer my schedule a little. If I have 4 things on my A list today, and I estimate those will take me an hour each. That means mentally, I know I can get everything I need done today. That gives me the freedom to pick off a few smaller projects along the day and see my list dwindle.

Setting expectations for yourself is key. You might have a day with 10 A priorities and have to adjust your flow…but if you don’t prioritize and write things down, you’ll never even know what you have ahead of you…and that causes a frantic approach that is not healthy or a string way to perform.

Don’t fly by the seat of your pants… write things down. Set priorities, give yourself some structure and enjoy the process of completing tasks.

Now, let’s jump to section 2 of Johns question – to recap, sine it’s been a while, John is a college senior, way over-scheduled, feel frantic and consumed – and asks, “Is all of this necessary or am I just doing a lot of running around like a crazed man for nothing?”

Good for you John – you are questioning the concept of “just do a little bit more and you’ll reap benefits” …you hear this so often, “what’s that 1% more you could be doing?” I hate this concept of more. Everyone wants more more more more more.

How about better?

Just having a booked schedule doesn’t mean you are doing the right things to advance your career.  

Volunteering for the athletic department sounds great – but what are you doing? What are you learning? Who are you meeting? Are you building relationships there? Are you networking?

If you are NOT doing these things, then what is the point?

If you are working at the school newspaper…it sure sounds great! But do you have a strong mentor there? Are there editors who are helping teach you how to create valuable content? Are you learning the skills to publish a paper?

If you are NOT doing these things then what is the point?

Are you on the advisory board of your church? Or the president of the organization of undergraduate communication students?

Check how much time you dedicate to these tasks and start to evaluate them for their impact on you. What are you getting out of it?

Sounds selfish right? Sorry it isn’t. You have to look out for yourself and if you are constantly sacrificing your limited capacity for things that aren’t helping you personally, mentally, physically or career wise… you may need to cut them loose.

  Maybe volunteering at your church is the one thing all week that makes you feel whole – great keep it in! But know you have to make some hard choices here.

Here’s what I’d like to see everyone do. Once you determine who you want to be when you grow up – study job descriptions really freaking hard and discover exactly what is needed to be successful.

I’ll use the example of being a sports reporter – you study and find out you need to know camerawork, video editing, graphic manipulation, story telling, you need a demo reel etc etc.

Now when things come up on your schedule you ask yourself the question – should I be president of this club, or should I spend that time watching YouTube videos and learning Final Cut Pro?

Should I volunteer at my fraternity event, or should I take an online course on Photoshop.

Should I be a teachers assistant this semester, or should I try to work at the local public access channel, reporting at local high school games?

It’s not about doing more – it’s about doing the right things.

And add this one last thought it – have some frickin fun. Have balance in your life – you don’t need to spend every moment on your career path… go to a party, drive to the beach, blow off classes one day to go to a national park and camp for the weekend.

Living a full and balanced life will always help you feel like the best version of yourself.

John. I think that should do it. That was a lot. Time for me to do a couple of quick tasks, before I get into any more big stuff for today.

Talk to you all later --- if you have questions on this or anything else you hear on these shows – hit me up on LinkedIn or via our private Facebook group.

By Brian Clapp | October 08, 2018
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