Coach's Schedule, Administrator's Schedule

Time blocking can be a useful tool for estimating the time needed to complete a task and can help you to stay on track and avoid overcommitting yourself.

· 5 min read
Coach's Schedule, Administrator's Schedule
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Paul Graham’s essay “Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule” is a must-read for anyone who navigates both creative and managerial roles. In the realm of athletics and strength & conditioning coaching, understanding these concepts is essential. In this essay, Graham outlines the crucial differences between these two types of schedules and why awareness of them is vital for productivity and success in coaching.

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

Paul Graham's Website

The coach's schedule is characterized by large blocks of uninterrupted time, often several hours long, dedicated to planning, analyzing performance data, and creating detailed training programs. This schedule is ideal for those involved in the in-depth, creative aspects of coaching, such as strength and conditioning coaches and sport scientists. On the other hand, the administrator's schedule is fragmented into shorter intervals, typically no more than an hour, filled with meetings, calls, and various administrative tasks. This schedule mirrors the hectic day-to-day routine of a head coach or athletic director.

Graham argues that these two schedules are inherently incompatible. Trying to impose a coach's schedule on an administrator’s timetable, or vice versa, leads to frustration, decreased productivity, and lower quality work. For example, a strength coach who is constantly interrupted by meetings or administrative requests will struggle to design effective training programs, as this creative work requires sustained focus and uninterrupted time.

The key to success, according to Graham, is recognizing which schedule you are operating on at any given time and adjusting your approach accordingly. If you are working on a coach’s schedule, you need to create large blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on your work. This may involve scheduling specific times of the day to turn off your phone, close your email, and minimize distractions. It might also mean working from a location where interruptions are less likely, such as a quiet office or training facility.

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Conversely, if you are working on an administrator’s schedule, you need to be flexible and able to switch tasks quickly. You may need to schedule brief meetings and divide your day into smaller, manageable tasks. Prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance, and delegating when possible, is also crucial.

While it can be challenging to switch between these two schedules, it is essential for success in the coaching field. Coaches often need to shift between planning sessions, attending meetings, and managing athletes, requiring a blend of deep focus and flexibility.

To further illustrate the importance of understanding the coach's schedule and the administrator's schedule, let's consider a scenario where a strength coach is working on creating a detailed training program for a student-athlete. This task requires thorough planning, strategic thinking, and meticulous attention to detail to ensure the program is tailored to the athlete’s specific needs and goals.

Suddenly, an athletic director calls for a Zoom meeting to discuss a new initiative. This interruption can be incredibly frustrating for the coach, as it disrupts their focus and pulls them out of their planning zone. The coach may feel rushed and stressed, trying to quickly switch gears and prepare for the meeting while also trying to maintain their focus on the athlete's program.

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This scenario highlights the difficulty of balancing the coach's schedule and the administrator's schedule and the potential negative impact of interruptions on productivity and work quality. The administrator, while well-intentioned, may not fully understand the coach's need for uninterrupted time to focus on their work.

To mitigate this situation, it is important for both the coach and the administrator to communicate their needs and schedules effectively. The coach should communicate the importance of their work and the need for uninterrupted time, while also being flexible and willing to adjust their schedule when necessary. The administrator, in turn, should respect the coach’s time and needs, and work to minimize interruptions.

In this scenario, the coach might need to prioritize their work and communicate their schedule to the administrator, explaining that they are in the middle of an important project and may need to schedule the meeting for a later time. Alternatively, the coach may need to adjust their schedule to accommodate the meeting but should do so in a way that minimizes disruption and allows them to maintain focus on the athlete's program.

Ultimately, effective communication and understanding of both the coach's and administrator's schedules is key to success in the coaching world. By recognizing the different needs and approaches of these two schedules, individuals can work together to maximize productivity and achieve their goals.

Time Blocking in Coaching

The concept of time blocking is particularly relevant to the coach’s schedule. Time blocking involves scheduling specific periods to work on particular tasks or projects. This technique is especially effective for creative work, allowing coaches to focus without interruption and ensure they have sufficient time to complete their tasks.

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To create effective time blocks, it is essential to be mindful of your energy levels and work habits. For example, if you are most productive in the morning, schedule your time blocks for planning and creative work during this time. Similarly, if you work best in shorter bursts, schedule shorter time blocks throughout the day.

It is also important to be realistic about the amount of time needed to complete a task. Time blocking can help estimate the required time and keep you on track, avoiding overcommitment.

While time blocking is particularly effective for the coach's schedule, it can also benefit those on an administrator's schedule. By scheduling specific time blocks for tasks such as answering emails or attending meetings, you can complete these tasks efficiently and without interruption.

In conclusion, the coach's schedule and the administrator's schedule are two fundamentally different approaches to work, and recognizing which schedule you are on at any given time is crucial. By creating time blocks and minimizing distractions, coaches and administrators can work together to maximize productivity and achieve their athletic and organizational goals.