Column: increase your productivity for the peace of mind

Posted May 28, 2018 By: Matthew Lim

From the moment you open your eyes in the morning to the second you fall asleep in your bed, you live a very busy life as a coach; days full of work that consists of barely any time for your family, let alone for yourself. The accumulated stress and pressure of such a busy life can do no good for your mental health, and consequently for your physical health either. It is a common sense that as a coach, your mental health plays a significant role in the performances of your athletes; somewhat like how cranky bosses do not usually bring the best out of their employees. How do we solve this ‘got a lot to do, but not a lot of time’ phenomenon?


Time Management Skills

Harvard Business School (2005) states that increasing personal productivity and effectiveness can be done through foundational time management. Logically, better time management skills would result in better time distribution/allocation between work and life, allowing you to focus on work at work and life at life. What does this mean? More work-less time for you; whether you want to spend it on hiking with your family, going to the bar with some friends, or binge watching a TV show by yourself (my personal favourite). On that note, try not to bring work to home unless absolutely necessary; it breaks that barrier between home and work, which leads to less productivity overall


Know When to Say No

Now you may be asking: ‘what if I have too much work to NOT be bringing home’? The answer to that is ‘know when to say no’. The commitment and responsibilities come with the role of being a coach: taking the extra step for your athletes and your team and going above and beyond to get those work done. However, as important as it is to be ambitious and enthusiastic as a coach, it is equally important to know when to say no. Recognizing the boundaries and responsibilities of a leader does not only increase your productivity but also allows you to put more time and effort into individual projects or works. At the end of the day, you’re only human: you can only do so much. All I ask is for you to take care of yourself along the way!


Ask for Help

Now, when I say, ‘know when to say no’, it does not mean to neglect your responsibilities and procrastinate. It means to share your responsibilities and ask for assistance whenever necessary. In fact, it is very common for coaches to think they can get more done than what they can actually get done due to the competitiveness in the nature of the role; however, having some of the burden off your shoulders and sharing the weight with your colleagues or whoever it may be (i.e. parents) can help reduce stress by a lot more than you would think. It does not only reduce the time and effort required by you to finish the task, but it also lifts that pressure in your mind about having too much on your plate and not knowing what to do first. At the end of the day, a helping hand or two isn’t too bad for gathering opinions from other points of views or taking care of however many athletes you are responsible for.



The main point I wanted to get across with this column was to let coaches know that your mental health is just as important as your athletes’. It is very crucial for you to take care of your well-being and emotional stability for your athletes’ supreme state of training and performance, and one way to achieve the peace of mind is to manage your time more wisely and setting the boundaries more distinctively. So, start being productive; your athletes will appreciate your not-so-cranky mood a lot!