What can you do to work more efficiently?

Efficiency tips for coaches

Did you ever find yourself over-scheduled or forgetting about important events or tasks? Coaches have to juggle many different kinds of tasks, meetings, and events as well as family and personal responsibilities. Not having a reliable method to organize things often leads to over-scheduling and other inefficiencies that not only prevent us from doing a good job but make us look unprofessional in the eyes of parents and athletes. In my 30-year coaching career I was frequently on the lookout for applications and methods that could help me organize my time more efficiently and help me be more productive.

Planning and communicating effectively are critical to getting everything done that needs doing. We should always be looking for better, easier ways to take care of administration, planning, and project management. And while everyone has to find methods that work for them there are some general principles we should all be aware of. Here are a few tips that will help anyone become more efficient at what they do:

Use one calendar for everything

If you are currently using multiple calendars to keep track of appointments, goals, or special projects then you're life is, or soon will be, a complicated mess. Today we use wall calendars, desktop calendars, diary books, mobile phone apps, computer software, and other ways of 'calendering' important items of our lives. All of them work. The problem is they just don't work together.

Experts agree that one calendar is best. Your personal life, business, work, hobbies, travel etc. should all be tracked on one calendar, thus making it easy to schedule and find everything in one place. More importantly it makes it hard to miss things, which is very easy to do if tasks and events are spread out over several different calendars.

Calendar recommendation: Many calendar apps are available. Pick one you like and will use that works on your desktop and mobile phone. I recommend Google calendar. It's easy to use and allows collaboration and sharing. You will be able to create virtual calendars for personal events and any other categories you need while keeping everything in one place. Desktop and mobile apps are synced so you know you are seeing the latest info no matter where you are.

Use a password manager

We need passwords for a lot of things we do online and the bother of creating -- and remembering! -- them gives rise to diminished security. Reusing passwords or creating simple but easily guessed ones are common reactions to dealing with unneeded security for an annoying array of mundane online tasks. But reused passwords may inadvertently give access to real and important information on some other site or account.

How to deal with this? Easy. A password manager.

If you've never used a password manager now is the time to start. They work, they're simple, and most of them require you to remember only one master password. Set it up properly and you'll be able to create and use secure passwords for all your online sites and accounts and never have to remember any of them. With better passwords everything you do or store online will be far more secure.

Password manager recommendation: My favorite is LastPass for desktop and mobile. Try it or find one that you like, but find one!

What is your phone number?

Do you have more than one? Do you have more than one phone? Do you really need them? Think about it. The argument might be that we have a number (or phone) for personal use and one for business or work. But nowadays this doesn't really make any sense. It used to be that a phone number was a way for people to get in touch with you indirectly, they called your home or office and asked to speak to you. Sometimes you weren't there and they left a message or called back. Today this is unnecessary. A phone number is a way to contact you directly, and you alone.

Do your colleagues call your office anymore? Or your school when they want to speak with you? Of course not! They call you. Most of us, if we are honest about it only need one phone number. Businesses are different and may still need a phone line. But if I want to talk to someone I work with I just call them directly.

Think carefully about whether you need multiple phone numbers or whether you need to carry more than one phone.

And what about email addresses?

Email addresses pose a slightly different problem which I discuss in another article. You can read it by clicking here.