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3 Productivity Hacks for Strength Coaches

Justin Ochoa
Feb 4, 2019

The coaching profession is one probably one of the most rewarding careers you can have, but it definitely requires some serious work to be put in. I’ve seen dozens of professionals get chewed up and spit out by this industry due to the lack of commitment to the workload.

On the outside, it may look like we wear sweatpants to work every day and get to work out all the time, but every active coach can tell you it’s a highly serious job with many more responsibilities than teaching people how to lift.

We work insanely long hours, sometimes for very little pay. We are motivated by passion, commitment and fulfillment more than money, fame and/or notoriety. Our work is scrutinized by many and misunderstood by even more but we know our true worth & value in our role.

Coaches get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves; the development of people bettering themselves one rep at a time. Everyone has their own personal “WHY” behind their love for this career, but at the end of the day, we’re mostly ALL here to help others.

During the grind of the coaching career, your “WHY” can get lost in the trenches. Before you know it, you could be burnt out just like any other office job worker who dreads going to work every day. This should never happen. And when it does, it’s usually because we have neglected our own selves while trying to pour so much into our athletes. You can’t pour from an empty glass.

Below are some ways you can make sure your glass never becomes empty. While keeping the athlete as the primary focus, there are still ways to stay sharp between your own ears so that you can always give 100-percent in your coaching without ever feeling burnt out.

Try out these 3 tips to increase productivity and instantly become clearer and more efficient in your work as a coach.

Cut the Brain Clutter

Clutter is the actual real-life physical form of all of the procrastination, insecurities and indecisiveness in your head. If you want to avoid actual clutter and messes in your office, weight room, house, etc. you need to clear your mind of clutter first.

As coaches, we’re always “on.” Many of us have so many ideas, plans, projects, etc. in the works all at once and it can be easy to spread yourself too thin.

One of the best ways to clear up your mind clutter is to perform a brain dump. Write down a list of all your current things to do, start and/or complete. Right from the jump, you should be able to identify things you can toss out or finish immediately. That will cut the list down significantly.

To cut the list down even more, rank them on a scale of 1-10 on impactfulness and time commitment. Impactful items that require little time should take precedence. Then, you can work in the impactful projects that may require a lot of time. The goal is to rid yourself of tasks that take up a lot of your time and have little impact. Once you identify them, you can determine if they are really worth it at that time -- and usually, they aren’t.

The brain dump will give you clarity. You can complete tasks faster, have a vision for what you want to accomplish (and when) and start to take items off your plate to make room for more impactful things.

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Improve Sleep

Improving sleep almost sounds like a cliche thing to say at this point. It’s well known how important sleep is for health and performance. This is probably the single most impactful thing a person can do to improve their quality of life.

Instead of beating the dead horse, I’d like to share the method I used to improve my sleep quality in a major way. It’s 3 simple steps and has completely changed the way I sleep and feel very well-rested during 70+ hour work weeks.

First, figure out what time you need to go to bed to get 7-8 hours of sleep at night. For example, I wake up at 4AM so I know I need to be asleep between 8-9 PM to achieve this. Do your own equation to figure this out so you can set a “bedtime” for yourself. Yes, that’s right… set yourself a BEDTIME. Just like mama used to...

Next, find your phone’s “Night Mode” setting. If you’re an iPhone user, you can set this up to automatically turn on. Android users, depending on phone, may have to do this manually. Either way, you want to turn on night mode to eliminate the blue light on your phone screen ONE HOUR before your bedtime.

If you can have this happen automatically, I find it to be a similar theory to Pavlov’s Dog. When I notice the phone screen color changes, that triggers my mind to get ready to wind down for bed because I know I’m about an hour from laying down. The funny thing is, sometimes I’m still training when this happen.

Prolonged exposure to blue light at night time has been linked to poor melatonin production, so in theory, removing the blue light will allow your body to produce your sleep-inducing hormones uninterrupted.

The last step is to put your phone on the charger, out of reach and on do-not-disturb mode at your bedtime that you established. This gives you the peace of mind to settle in and get comfortable for bed without worrying about social media or texts.

These three things have made a noticeable difference in how well I sleep and, in turn, how well I train myself and others. Of course, this doesn’t go as planned every single night. Things pop up, you may lose discipline on some nights, you may have late plans, etc. Whatever the case may be, at least you have a blueprint and can do your very best to maximize sleep quality.

Outsource Personal Programming

The third and final tip for improving productivity is to outsource your personal programming out to other coaches. This is two-fold. One, you get to take a time consuming task off your plate. Two, you get to network with experts in your field.

Seeing how other coaches program, methods, training styles, etc. is great for your growth as a coach. We all should be open to helping each other out. And while, yes, this particular example is for personal gain it’s actually with an end goal of being a better coach for others.

I’m sure everyone reading has experiences the paralysis by analysis when it comes to writing yourself a program. You can write stuff for others at the speed of light, but when it comes to something for yourself, it’s like the lights just go out. Well, kiss that goodbye. Ask a friend or colleague to write it, that way you can put even more of your attention to your own athletes.

Hopefully these tips will help create some mental clarity in your life and ultimately unlock some untapped potential for career growth. These productivity hacks have made a world of difference for me personally, so it’s the least I can do to pass these ideas on in hopes that you get the same benefits.

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