08 Mar Want to have a breakthrough in sport? Learn how to optimise your time
I need to start by saying, I love being organised. I get a buzz from beautiful diaries, and I love to #konmari my linen cupboard. So just putting it out there – this post is not for everyone. It is not for the ‘go with the flow’ types or the ‘dabblers’… this is for the over-achievers, the high performers and those who love to improve themselves with a challenge. So if this isn’t for you… relax and switch off now!
However, if you are trying to push the boundaries and achieve extraordinary things (yes – that’s a lot of you #bindicrew!) then you may want to get serious about how you use your time. Accomplishing something that’s not been done before can be uncomfortable, but hey, we all love a challenge right!
In the past two months I have been immersed in planning for the year ahead, being super productive and have been crushing hard on the performance coach Brendon Burchard who’s unbelievably positive attitude has changed the way I work, train and play.
These are the top five takeaways I have learnt and implemented, and I am loving the results such as improved focus on training, more clarity on my goals, and more free time with my family.
1.Turn off the TV: Let’s get real here – how many hours a week are you actually spending on the couch in front of the TV? I can hear you now… oh but I use it just to wind down after a big day! Honestly – have you ticked all your training boxes, done all your physio work and stretches this week? If the answer is no… then I challenge you to swap out that TV time for a podcast and your yoga mat.
2. Get off social media: This time sucking, addictive habit is not your fault… the technology is designed to keep you coming back for more. We are so reliant on our phones it can be a constant merry go round between apps. Trust me when I say you will breathe a sigh of relief when you delete a couple of apps off your phone and switch off notifications for the rest. Set an alarm for those you must use – for example Instagram can remind you when you have reach your designated time limit for the day.
3. Get a coach/mentor/trainer/professional: We all know someone who heads to the masses for advice – you know the general posts on social media starting with… ‘Anyone had some experience with this injury/race/gear/diet etc? And BAM there are 113 comments, all them conflicting. Now is the time to stop playing the small game and get professional help. For your chosen sport, get a qualified coach. For a specific and tailored nutrition plan book to see a sports dietitian. Get a proper bike fit. See a sports psychologist if your head space needs work. It is time to level up here if you are serious about pushing boundaries and achieve something great.
4. Stop listening to music: Whaaat? No music?! OK, hear me out. There are two reasons for this almost unbelievable suggestion… firstly when you’re training, you should be completely focused on the session and goal at hand. If you are running, that means on form, technique and your pacing. Music can lead to day-dreaming and inattention, and let’s face it you won’t have it on race day anyway. My second reason for this is learning – I am a huge fan of podcasts as you can basically learn anything on the go now. Got some housework to do? Catch up on your favourite motivational podcast. Road trip for work? Consider learning a new skill via a podcast, one that will move you closer to your goal. Try saving the music for meal times while you are having dinner with your loved ones and your phones are all switched off 😊
5. Plan out your day, week, month, year, life: We all know this one… “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. However all too often we set a big goal like a marathon, but then don’t break it down into what needs to be achieved in the months, the weeks and then even the days to make it happen. This is where a diary comes in handy and spending 20 minutes every morning planning out exactly where your time will be spent for each hour of the day, including what you are going to eat (remember recovery foods?) and blocking out your training for the day becomes vital to achieving that goal. Unless you are unbelievably and naturally talented, then failing to commit to this step means you might just miss the mark when reaching for those big hairy goals.
The end result of these steps is becoming disciplined about where your time goes in any given week. This will give you the chance to plan and enjoy your down time because you haven’t just given it away mindlessly throughout the week.
This approach isn’t for everyone, and I’m yet to pull all the elements together perfectly… but hey if you want to achieve something extraordinary then it is going to take something out of the ordinary to get there right? Are you up to the challenge?
PS My current favourite podcasts: The Brendon Show, The Kona Edge, The Tony Robbins Podcast, TED Talks
“Why live an ordinary life, when you can live an extraordinary one?” – Tony Robbins