MPM Podcast

PODCAST: 9 Tips for Mastering and Managing Your Time

by Brian Cain, MPM

Brian goes solo to give you 9 Tips for Mastering and Managing Your Time.  He gives you tangible action steps to help you maximize your time on a day-to-day basis.

You will learn about…

  • A “Not-To-Do” List and examples Brian puts on his list
  • How to clear to neutral 
  • The importance of scheduling out your weeks
  • A 4-Step System for leaving a voicemail
  • Tracking your E:E ratio



Cain: I’ve got bigger goals and things that I want to do, so I want to take my limited free time that I have and not put it into watching other people that I don’t have any personal connection with.  I want to put it into educating myself so maybe I would be valuable enough to have a personal connection with those people who are playing so that I can serve them.  Now this is not for everybody but neither is success.

I want to share with you 9 Tips for Mastering and Managing Your Time.  This is straight out of Pillar #3 Time Is Ticking – and I know that you’ve been following the journey of Coach Kenny and Matthew Simonds through The 12 Pillars of Peak Performance.

When we start talking about time, why is time one of the 12 Pillars?  It’s because it’s the only factor that is the same for everybody.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in the NBA or you’re playing JV high school basketball – guess what?  You’ve got 168 hours in a week, 86,400 seconds in a day, 1,440 minutes in a day, and how you use your time is ultimately going to determine where you end up.

The 9 Tips for Mastering and Managing Your Time – I want to share with you some of those tips so that you can get some simple takeaways from this podcast that you can start implementing immediately, one of which is understanding what I call the “not-to-do list.”  At a certain point in your life (the younger you are) you probably have a to-do list where the to-do list is these are the things that I need to do to give me the best chance for success. Well, if you’re a coach or athletic director listening to this, there obviously comes a certain point in your career where the not-to-do list probably becomes more important than the to-do list, because the things that you do, are they the best use of your time?  The one factor you can’t get back is, you can’t get back time.  It’s the only thing that is the same for everybody.

You’ve got to have a not-to-do list.  For example, “I will not do yard work at my house, I will not make food” – those are two things that I could do but I don’t like to do.  I’m not good at them and I simply would rather hire someone else to help me with those or go buy premade meals and hire someone to do the yard.  For the 90 minutes or so that it takes me to do the yard I’d rather take those 90 minutes and invest them into time with my wife, invest them into doing a podcast like this to impact people like yourself, or invest them into doing one-on-one coaching.  I have found a way to take a skill set that I have (in coaching) and instead of doing something I don’t like to do (yard work) I would invest that time into a way where I can make the same amount of money that it’s going to cost me to pay someone to do my yard – I can make that doing something I love.  Why would I not do that?

Some people like doing their yard work so that may not be something that you put on your not-to-do list. Something you may put on your not-to-do list is laundry.  Well, they have these companies now that come and I got one on my front door the other day.  They dropped off a bag on the front porch and if you want to put laundry in there, you put it back outside.  It’s like every Tuesday and Friday they pick up the bag, they leave you a new one, and they bring your laundry back to you in three days.  So if that is something that is for you, then it’s for you.

You’ve got to understand the not-to-do list.  Other things I have put on my not-to-do list are “do not check e-mail before you exercise.”  You know how it is in the morning.  You wake up with this grand vision of you’re going to go, you’re going to get moving, you’re going to start to sweat, you’re going to get yourself going in the morning – but as soon as you open that inbox (AKA Pandora’s box), now your life revolves around everyone else’s agenda. So that is something I am not going to do.

Another thing on my not-to-do list is “don’t text and drive.”  Do you realize that as many people were killed from texting and driving nowadays as there are from drunk driving?  Why would you text and drive?  If you think about it, if you send one three-sentence text message, you’ve basically driven around the entire bases of a baseball field without looking at the road. People do it all the time and people get away with it, but that doesn’t make it right and that doesn’t make it that it should be part of your routine.  You’ve got to have that understanding of what’s on your not-to-do list.

Other pieces that go into this Time Is Ticking and Tips for Managing Your Life is just simply having a SYSTEM.  What is your SYSTEM?  SYSTEM is an acronym for “Save Yourself Stress, Time, Effort, and Motivation.”  A SYSTEM of what I like to call “clearing to neutral.”

Before you go into a week – when I was a high school teacher and athletic director, I’d already take Sunday.  Sunday would be my clear to neutral day where I would actually do laundry.  I’d set up my meals for the week and I would make sure the house was clean and organized and my desk at the office was organized and my home was organized, and I had everything laid out for the week so I would just go in and I would rock and roll.  At the time I didn’t have a 168-hour week plan, but if I did I would have been that much more effective.  So having Sunday apart now where my clear to neutral is clean out all e-mails, all text messages, all voicemails, all social media, have all my clothes folded and put away, no clothes in my laundry, have my bags packed for the week, have my meals set up for the week, have my 168 done.  Boom. That is my clear to neutral.

My 168 is there are 168 hours in a week.  So on Sunday I’ll sit down and map out where all my time is going to go during the week.  That way I can sit and I can say “okay, this is what is going to set me up to have a successful week but let me just go make sure I have a successful day.”  If I have a successful day by implementing my 168 plan, then that leads to a successful week which leads to a successful month which leads to a successful quarter which leads to a successful year.

I can say with complete conviction that since I started to map out my 168 I’ve gotten more done in less time, I’ve had more free time, I’ve been able to work out more, and I’ve had more time with my wife because I know where my time is going.  I know that if there is that time where I’ve got to catch an early – like tomorrow I’ve got to get on a 5:00 AM flight, so I know that tonight I’ve got to try and get in the rack by 8:30-9:00 so that I can get enough sleep so when I get up at 3:30 to catch a 5:00 AM flight I’m going to be juiced.  I’m going to be ready to go.  I’m not going to be going to bed at midnight and waking up and then setting myself behind.  Mapping out that 168, having the not-to-do list, having a SYSTEM is going to be important.

Let me share another one with you.  Voicemail.  Nowadays most phone calls are going through on cell phones but I know for a lot of people in the educational sector that are listening to this (coaches), they have office phones and you get this voicemail:  “Hey, Brian, it’s Matt.  Give me a call back.”  Now that would be like somebody sending you an e-mail and going, “Hey, Brian, it’s Matt.  E-mail me back.”  That is just pointless.  It’s a waste of time.  It’s inefficient.  Here is a four-step system for leaving a voicemail.

Step #1 is state who you are, first name and last name.  Step #2 is who are you calling?  Step #3 is timestamp with contact information, phone number.  Step #4 is move the conversation forward.  That is the one that gets missed the most.  Again, Step #1, who you’re calling; Step #2, who you are; Step #3 timestamp and contact info; Step #4 move the conversation forward.

So it looks like this.  Let’s say I’m calling my friend Matt Morse.  I’d say:  “Hey, Matt Morse, Brian Cain here.  It is December 25 (Merry Christmas).  It’s noon.  I hope you’re doing fantastic.  My phone number is 555-555-5555 and I’m calling to see if you wanted to go over and get a workout in tomorrow at 9:00-10:30 over at Lifetime Fitness in Southlake, Texas, to see if you wanted to go get after it.  Give me a text message back or give me an e-mail back or leave me a voicemail and let me know if you want to do it.  I’ll see you over there.  9:00, Lifetime at Southlake.  Merry Christmas.  Dominate your Day.  See you.”

So what did I do?

I said who I’m calling, I said who I am, I left my phone number and the time I called, and I let him know what I wanted to move the conversation forward.

For the athletes listening to this who are in the cell phone generation, you can say “I see when the guy called, I see what his name is,” but there is going to come a time where you have an office phone because you are working in corporate America (or whatever it is) and you’re going to get that voicemail and it’s going to drive you nuts because you won’t be able to get back to the person because they didn’t leave you the right phone number or you don’t know which person it is – because you are going to know more than one Matt – and then they’re going to get after you and say, “hey, man, you never called me back” when you couldn’t because they didn’t know how to leave a damn voicemail.  Make sure you know the four steps of how to leave a voicemail.

The last thing I want to share with you here is what we call NET time and your E:E ratio.  NET time is – if you’re listening to this podcast in your car you know exactly what NET time is – No Extra Time.  We want to be savages of our time. We want to know where our time is going and maximize our time.  When you’re driving in the car, enrolling in what we call Automobile University (which we’re going to talk more about on another podcast) is listening to audiobooks, listening to podcasts, listening to Philosopher’s Notes or breaking down educational material.

NET time is No Extra Time, which ties right into your E:E ratio.  The limited free time that you have – does it go into education or does it go into entertainment?  For most people it goes into entertainment and you were probably that person listening to Mike & Mike in the Morning or listening to something in your car, sports talk radio.  Here is my question for you:  Why do you care about people talking about other people’s lives and other people talking about professional sports?  Maybe you’re a professional sports agent.  Maybe you’re a bookie.  Maybe you’re somebody who has a son that is playing in professional sports.  If not, start investing in yourself and stop wasting time listening to professional sports.

I work in pro sports.  I can’t stand watching it on TV unless I have a personal connection to somebody who is in there – I feel like I’m dying.  The reason I say that is because I’ve got bigger goals and things that I want to do, so I want to take my limited free time that I have and not put it into watching other people that I don’t have any personal connection with.  I want to put it into educating myself so maybe I would be valuable enough to have a personal connection with those people who are playing so that I can serve them.  Does that make sense?  Your E:E ratio.  Your entertainment towards your education.

Now this is not for everybody, but neither is success.  It’s simple.  Look at the free time you have.  Does it go into watching TV or does it go into working on you?  Does it go into watching other people live their lives or working to better improve your life?  That is the E:E ratio and that directly ties in with NET time – No Extra Time.

I hear it all the time.  People go “I can’t work out – I don’t have a gym membership.”  Dude, you have a body and you have a floor.  Pushups, burpees, squats, whatever it is.  You don’t need much.  Grab a garbage can and go until you puke – thank you, Leif Babin, author of Extreme Ownership.  Just make it happen.  I’m being somewhat sarcastic there about making yourself go till you puke, but just get moving.

And guess what the best part about NET time is?  Grab a headset, grab an audiobook, grab this podcast and listen to this podcast as you go for a walk and then a jog and then a light run and then a run.  Next thing you know you’re educating yourself with one of my favorite routines, what I call the “learn and burn.”  I learn as I burn calories and as I get going and get moving in the morning.

But guess what?  Time is ticking and there is one thing you can’t get more of – and that’s time.  So let’s start maximizing your education ratio, minimizing your entertainment ratio.  Don’t eliminate it completely because you do need some entertainment in life, but maximize your education and get on NET time and Dominate the Day.