Summer Is For Finding Ways To Enjoy Work More

July 20th, 2017 | by Matthew Monte
Summer Is For Finding Ways To Enjoy Work More
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Enjoy Work

They call them the Summer Doldrums for a reason. It’s hot, much of the sports calendar has wound down, and you have more time to reflect on your life and career. Sadly, we often tend to focus on the negative; where we think we should be or what we should be doing. It’s easy to fall into this trap because, by nature, those of us working in sports are bred and trained to have lofty goals and expectations of ourselves.

Well, it’s time to get out of the rut. Summer can be a great time to change your perspective a bit and add a few new things to your repertoire. It’s time to take action and get the most out of life and your career, so we’ve put together a few simple ways you can become more thoughtful and enjoy work a bit more.

1) Remember You Are More Than Your Job

I put this one first because I wanted to get this out in the open. Sports professionals are a special breed. You put in ridiculous hours, wear nothing but your school colors, and represent your program everywhere you go. But, for your long term health and happiness, you need to separate¬†your job from your identity. It’s okay to put in those hours and show pride, but you need to understand who you are outside of work. You’re a parent, or a spouse, or a sibling, or a child, or all of the above. You have other interests and things that bring you joy. You should never be so callous as to say your job is, “just a means to an end,” but you need to stop identifying yourself as what you do because people rarely do one job their entire life. There will come a time when you have to make a change, whether in the venue or in the career itself. When that time comes, you need to be secure in your own identity to know that you can survive elsewhere.

This security will make you more confident in your work. It will allow you to connect with people on a more personal level. There is a reason Self Actualization is at the top of Maslow’s famous pyramid. Understand who you are and you’ll be better for it.

2) Learn From The People Around You

I’m fond of the theory that everyone you meet knows something you don’t. While mentoring programs are great, their scope is just too narrow for me. Sure you should prioritize knowledge from the people in the seat you want to one day occupy, but if they are the only person you listen to then progress will leave you behind. We grow by discovering new ways of doing things and by discovering things we didn’t know to do in the first place. We’re also lucky that intercollegiate athletics is rife with people who will cross the country to take a new job. It means that just down a single hallway in many athletic departments you will find experiences from regions and programs completely different than the one you are currently in. Get to know your coworkers and offer to help, even in small ways on things that they do. I can tell you, I’ve learned more sitting in a room stapling papers and listening than I have in all the management courses I’ve taken over the years.

3)  Break Your To-Do List Up Into Tasks And Priorities

I’ve fallen victim to this too many times. You get bogged down on the minutia of a single task and miss the forest for the trees. What I’ve learned is that there are two kinds of things on our to-do lists; tasks and priorities. Unlike some fanciful article claiming that the key is to be like Warren Buffett and ignore small tasks, we all have to get all of our work done. Instead of removing things from my to-do list, I put them in the proper perspective. My priorities are often large scale projects, loosely defined but clear in their goal. I rarely have more than three at a time. My tasks are those things that crop us during the day that, while still important, don’t contribute to a major priority at the time. Once I understand where everything falls, it is easier to work through my day without losing sight of where my attention needs to be. It also comes with the immediate realization that you are really here to accomplish the priorities. The tasks are things that you can share with others. When you are up against the wall, be willing to let a few of those things get deligated out. If you can’t assign them yourself, ask your boss. When they know that your mind is on the priorities first, they’ll likely be more than willing to find you some help.

4) Buy Into The Impact You Have

It’s easy to write off the effect we have through our jobs. But whether you raise millions of dollars, wrap fingers and ankles, or build spreadsheets, you have an impact on the lives of kids who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families. Whether you want to discount that or not, if you work in college athletics then it is true. Do things the right way and with the kids in mind and you will make people’s lives better.

About Contributor Matthew Monte
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.

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