Raising a toddler is like watching an exercise in wasted energy.
Case in point, yesterday I was watching my toddler pick up Legos. Which, on it’s surface, is awesome for two reasons: 1) I don’t have to worry about stepping on them and 2) he’s not in the habit of leaving stuff strewn around the house. Win-win.
Except toddlers have a very particular way of getting things done.
The bin for the Legos happened to be in the living room while the Legos themselves were in the den. The rooms aren’t that far apart, in fact, you can see one from the other. And I imagine that’s why my spawn decided that the best method of clean up was simply to pick up the Legos (one-by-one, mind you) and carry them (again, one-by-one) into the living room to place them (gently) into the bin.
See? Wasted energy.
I certainly don’t think my child is an idiot. But he is 2. And it never occurred to him to just bring the bin to Legos. Or to pick them up more than one at a time. As far as he’s concerned, this is the way it’s always been done.
More importantly, his way works.
- Until we run out of time and have to leave the plastic shrapnel buried in the carpet.
- Until he gets frustrated by the energy it takes to do it that way and has a complete meltdown.
- Until he literally falls asleep in the middle of his task.
- Until he learns a more productive way to do it.
There’s Never Any Time
As a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, a full-time student, and someone that would eventually like to start participating in my sport again this season, I often feel like Jesse Spano.
Not only is there never any time, but I’m constantly freaking out about how there’s never any time. And, quite honestly, I wish I could muster half of her excitement.
Time feels like the ruler of all things. The “one ring” that binds what you can do at any given moment.
While it’s true that time is finite, chances are good that you’re also not using it as efficiently as you could be. If time is your “one ring” then time management needs to be your trip into Mordor: the way you manage the burden you’ve been given with hope that, at the end, the burden can be killed with fire.
Time Management Always Seems Like a Bit of a Mind Fuck
If you could just MANAGE your time BETTER, you wouldn’t be such an unrelenting ball of stress. If you could just BLOCK OUT your time BETTER, you wouldn’t want to scream into your pillow at the top of your lungs each night. What is wrong with you?
Here’s the thing:Time management isn't really about managing your time. It's about managing your priorities and your expectations. Click To Tweet
I used to wake up everyday to a to-do list that I had written the night before that was as long as my rap sheet (er, I mean my arm). Every single day I’d busily work my way through the to-do list to find that I was typically more stressed out than I had been when I started and the things that I really needed to get done hadn’t been done at all.
My busy to-do list was a procrastination technique; it kept me from focusing on the most important things because I had so many other little things to focus on. Counterintuitively, I was actually becoming lazier about big, important projects the busier I got. #mindfuck
It was actually my husband who straightened me out. After coming home from work one day to find me vibrating with unfinished to-dos and trying not to murder our toddler and pitbull, he mentioned his system. At work, before he leaves, he writes down his priorities for the next day. He doesn’t allow himself more than 3 and they HAVE to be focused on moving his current project forward.
Typically, the biggest movers become the biggest priorities.
What Does All This Have To Do With My Training?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you suspect that you might be training too much. Or that you feel stretched thin by the amount of time that you’re training and you need some relief.
First things first: manage your expectations.
Your team appreciates when you train outside of practices and show up ready to breathe fire on game day. However, your team doesn’t expect you to kill yourself outside of practices to do that. (In fact, they probably hope that you don’t.) The person telling you that the amount you’re training right now isn’t good enough or isn’t up to your expectations IS YOU.
Could you still be a fire-breathing beast if you trained outside of practice a little bit less? Could you work more intensely, both at practice and outside of it, if you did it fewer times per week? Could you manage your expectations to give yourself a little bit more time?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. When you’re in-season, you will benefit much more from a couple of short, intensely focused training sessions per week. It might not FEEL like enough, but that’s where managing your expectations comes in.
Second things second: set your priorities.
In theory, it would be great if I could train for every athletic quality all of the time. Of course, we want to be stronger, faster, more agile, more powerful, BETTER.
In reality training for all of those things at once takes a lot of time and energy. Time and energy, we just discovered, that you probably don’t have.
- PICK ONE. What athletic quality will have the biggest impact on your game play? Focus on that. Set your training sessions around building up that quality (with maintenance of the other qualities). When you’re focusing intently on ONE thing it will take less time overall.
- PRIORITIZE IT. Once you’ve picked the biggest game changer for yourself, make sure you focus on that athletic quality first. That can mean first in the workout, so if you get pulled away it’s done. That can mean early in the week, so if you have to scrap the rest of your training you got the most important thing done.
- IF YOU GET NOTHING ELSE DONE, AT LEAST YOU GOT THAT DONE. Adopt this mindset right now. This is the value of prioritizing. You get to be okay with not doing EVERYTHING because you did the MOST IMPORTANT THING.
Third things third: give yourself some boundaries.
As Sebastian is famous for saying in The Little Mermaid: “Teenagers. If you give them an inch, they swim all over you.”
You’re the same way. If you give yourself an inch, you’ll swim all over your priorities. Hell, I did it. For the next 3 months after my husband gave me his secret priority system, I listed no fewer than 6 priorities per day. It was still my to-do list, just with a different name.
Give yourself a maximum number to training sessions that you can do each week. A “training session” constitutes a practice, outside of practice training day, or intense cardio session.
For example, if you set your max training sessions at 4 and you have 2 practices per week, then you train outside of practice 2 times that week.
My recommendation is anywhere from 4-6, but I always, always, always want athletes to err on the side of caution.
- Start with the lower number in the range.
- Try it for 3-4 weeks.
- Reflect on how you feel. Are you burnt out, fatigued, sloppy on the track? Or do you feel great?
- Add an additional training session to your max (if you want to).
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so the goal here is to avoid stress and frustration in the first place by starting somewhere manageable. Stop picking up Legos one-by-one.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you!
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