Since starting my first season as a Head Football Coach in 2018, things have been pretty hectic. There never seems to be enough time to sit down and accomplish any more than the most necessary tasks.
The podcasts (almost) always get recorded. Usually at the last minute before a self-imposed deadline. Since this is the life blood of my business marketing, podcasting always comes first. On Tuesday evenings, we do a weekly Q&A Session for JDFB Insider Clients. The two podcasts and the weekly Q&A are the only tasks I have on any sort of ‘schedule’.
In preparation for the season, most of my other work has been systematized and delegated. I have a wonderful assistant who has kept Joe Daniel Football from collapsing. Meanwhile, I try to figure out what in the world I’m doing as a head coach.
Other necessary tasks include responding to emails, and answering client questions on our private Chalk Board forum. I also waste time on Twitter – and sometimes learn a thing or two – but avoid Facebook almost entirely.
High School Football Coaching may be the only corner of Twitter left that is not completely toxic. It’s actually extremely positive, educational, and enjoyable.
Passing the halfway point in a thus far successful season (6-0), I’m looking at the big question everyone asked when I took the job: How are you going to run your business and be a head coach?
After two and a half months, I can answer with all certainty… I do not know.
3 Reasons This Should Not Work
There’s a rhythm to this. I’m moving along to the beat… just maybe not as smoothly as I’d like. Going into the season, I knew I had a few personal shortcomings going against me. I thought maybe the new position would change me, but so far that hasn’t happened.
I’m not an early riser. I don’t get up at 5am. After getting up very early for 10 years as a teacher, I’m completely against the idea. It’s just not natural for me.
I’m not a particularly hard worker. That comes as a surprise to a lot of people. And maybe I hold myself to a certain standard that I rarely ever meet. But I’m just not a ‘grinder’. I’m prone to short bursts of extremely hard work, followed by periods of equally, if not more, impressive laziness.
As for strike three, I am violently opposed to living my life on any sort of schedule. The idea makes my stomach churn. The few interviews that I still do for The Football Coaching Podcast usually leave me flooded with anger and anxiety in the hour or two leading up to the call, simply because I have to do something at a certain time. That keeps me from doing more interviews, despite enjoying the actual conversations immensely.
Three strikes. I’m out.
Well, maybe I should be. But so far, I’ve been able to keep moving forward in both business and coaching. Without completely sacrificing a personal life, either.
One Thing Actually Works
The one thing that has prevented a total meltdown, besides my incredible assistants, is the very fact that I acknowledged my weaknesses ahead of time.
It would be easy to tell myself that once the season starts, I’ll get up early. Increase productivity because you have limited time. Stick to a schedule. After all, you’ve got to do it – and it’s only for a few months.
But there was no way it was going to happen. None. I know that.
Instead, I put systems in place. Those 3 tasks that must get done every week were chosen strategically. They are the 3 tasks in my business that I absolutely enjoy doing. 3 tasks that I’m not resentful of having on the schedule every week (and the only 3 tasks on the schedule).
3 Tasks I Can Actually Get Done Every Week
Podcasting is effortless for me, beyond deciding what topic to talk about. I solved that problem by turning The Football Coaching Podcast into seasons. Each season targets just a few specific topics, over a 23 week period. The topics are planned out before the start of each season, and then I just have to stick to the plan.
Every Wednesday, I look at a calendar in a spreadsheet (created by my assistant), to see what topic I assigned myself weeks or months ago. There’s usually some brief research. Then turn the mic on. Once the recording is done, I send the raw audio file to our A/V editor.
My second podcast, the JDFB Quick Clinic, is even easier. I’ll answer listener questions, which are usually never hard to come by. They are filed into a folder in my Gmail, and when it’s time to record I just pick the one that interests me that day.
As for the Chalk Talk Q&A Sessions, it’s the same idea. Talking football is easy. Coming up with topics is not. In the Q&A’s we answer questions about whatever issues coaches are facing that week. It’s very informal, and only done during the season – when coaches need answers right now.
One system that’s being added during the season is turning those Q&A Sessions, recorded through YouTube Live, into additional member content by cutting them up into video segments. Since I already have a few years of recordings built up, the edited videos are going to serve as a huge database for JDFB Insider clients to find answers.
Learning how to incorporate systems into my business has been a huge improvement. But it’s also been a huge benefit for our football team.
Turning Football Into a Business (sort of…)
Unlike my work life, our practices are rigidly scheduled. We hit the field at 3:15pm every day, and every minute until 4:45pm when we leave the field is planned out.
90 minutes is a much shorter football practice than most High School football coaches would be accustomed to. I detailed that on a recent episode of JDFB Quick Clinic, if you’re interested in finding out how we do it.
I’m not sure why the rigid scheduling doesn’t bother me in coaching, but completely guts me in my normal life. There’s problem some deep seeded reason, but it doesn’t matter. Stick with what works.
I’ve incorporated systems for equipment inventory, locker room management, leadership development, and more. All of these systems have been successful, to varying degrees. And they’ve all required adjustment along the way.
Systems don’t have to mean strict rigidity or a hands-off, heartless approach to getting the job done. Far from it. It’s incorporating these systems that has allowed me to have a balance between my business, coaching, and personal life – and keep from going completely insane in the process.
As for writing this article… it’s not in a system. I just wanted to write today. That’s OK, too.