(Part 2 of 2) Time management: Jim Tressel’s 6 Keys for Time Management Success

Football coaches are notorious for the long hours they keep during the season. And despite wearing a different hat now as president of Youngstown State University, former college head football coach Jim Tressel said he sees similarities in the challenges he faces to best manage his time.

Tressel, who shares a connection to the Mahoning Valley with Simon Roofing, headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, recently shared some of his valued time with us to offer his thoughts on time management.

“Many of us spend too many hours on the job, probably an unhealthy amount,” said Tressel. “And I believe it’s largely because we don’t manage our time well. We allow ourselves to spend time where it isn’t most productive, but we remain determined to get done what needs to get done, so we end up working extra hours to make that happen.”

Taking a moment to reflect on time management strategies he strives to live by, Tressel offers the following thoughts:

  • Spend your time in the right places. We only have 24 hours in a day, so assign where you’re going to use those hours and spend your time in the right places. That’s really what time management is.
  • Don’t let technology bog you down. In this age of technology, people can fill your calendar up from a distance without taking into consideration all you need to work on. Further, time spent managing emails and texts can quickly get away from you. While they can be considered productive means of communication, they can also rob us of the time and energy necessary to do critical and strategic thinking, as well as engage in good conversational communication with others.
  • Do the most difficult tasks first. Whether in a life context or in business, if there’s a difficult call you have to make, a cumbersome report that has to get done, or a visit with someone that needs to be had; do that first-thing when you have the most time and energy. Plus, you’ll get it out of the way for the remainder of your day so you can concentrate on other important tasks at hand.
  • Keep an eye on your 30-day calendar. Consider having a whole month in front of you because it helps not only the daily assessments you do with your time, but you can look at the month snapshot and see upcoming mission critical events to allow you to prepare appropriately.
  • Manage your “free” time. What does it truly mean if you’re “free” according to your calendar? “Free” in the context of what? “Free” should be framed in the relative importance of where that hour should be best spent. While you may have nothing scheduled for an hour on your calendar, you may have planned to use that time to prepare for a presentation later that same day.  If it ends up being filled with yet another obligation, you might end up not having time to prepare for your presentation, which will risk you not only looking bad in the eyes of your audience, but wasting their time as well. That’s one of the pitfalls of not being able to say ‘no.’
  • Trust the people who are responsible for tasks, and give them the opportunity to show they’re capable. In short, delegate. It’s one of the hardest things to do if you’re a little bit of a Type A personality.  You might feel nobody can do something “as good” as you can, or that it’s just easier to do it yourself; both of which are not good uses of your time when there’s someone being paid to do it. You need to trust them or address the fact that they cannot.