Time Management Guru
As a Time Management Specialist at Teamworks, I’ve had the honor of working with 40+ compliance offices over the past 6 months on the NCAA’s new time management legislation. In conjunction with our Time Management Thought Leadership Webinar Series launched late September, I wanted to share a few common questions and challenges I’ve heard from across the country.
If you missed the first two webinars you can check out the recordings:
- Lindsey Babcock providing an overview of Time Management at Kansas State.
- Panel discussion with Liz Castilla-Miranda (Texas), Hilary Cox (South Carolina), and Katie O’Malley (Purdue) on more tactical time management how-to’s.
SPOILER ALERT: As you might expect, the answers all start with “it varies.” But don’t despair. I’ll walk you through several parts of the spectrum so you can determine what is right for your institution.
WHAT IS A “TIME MANAGEMENT PLAN”?
There is a lot of variance in the interpretation of a “time management plan.” In general, I’ve seen three views. They are listed below from least to most detailed:
- Schools that consider the plan to be essentially the university’s policy on time management. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Schools that consider the plan to be a high-level view of the student-athlete’s calendar, meaning the anticipated days off, anticipated competition days and days with countable and/or required appointments (but not appointment details). This would ideally be a monthly calendar view with appropriate color coding/shading to indicate various types of days and appointments.
- Schools that consider the plan to be a detailed schedule down to the start/end times of the countable and required appointments, in addition to anticipated days off and competitions. This could also be a monthly calendar view or list view with appointment details.
The good news is there isn’t a right or wrong answer, as this is an institutional policy decision. Regardless of the information and detail provided in the plan, a common theme is to be as visual as possible, in terms of a calendar summary that is easy to digest and understand (and not to mention easy to create!). From a technology standpoint, the wide variance in interpretations necessitates flexibility from the highest level down to the most detailed level.
Teamworks’ Approach: Our Calendar module is the cornerstone of Time Management within Teamworks. Teams build out their anticipated schedule in Teamworks, and the Days Off screen view allows teams to select their weekly required and additional 14 days off for the entire year. All of this can be exported to create a customized Time Management Plan of any level of detail.
WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD TEAMS SHARE WITH STUDENT-ATHLETES?
Just like the answer to Question 1, what teams are sharing with student-athletes (and when; see Question 3) varies widely.
All schools are sharing whatever they consider to be a “time management plan.” This is somewhat obvious given the clear directives in Proposal 2016-137. If the time management policy is not part of the time management plan, then the policy itself is often shared as well.
But is that good enough? I think the piece that is often overlooked, or at least is an afterthought to the time management plan, is the actual detailed calendar of weekly activities. Even if a time management plan is distributed at the beginning of a term or season that includes detailed appointment information, those details WILL change, and a student-athlete still needs to be aware of these changes.
So what exactly does that look like? A print out? Something they pull up on their laptops? In today’s digital age, giving student-athlete’s mobile access to a personalized, accurate and up-to-date schedule is paramount for the spirit of the legislation, and to ensure you have a good practice! And while we’re at it, being able to communicate your time management policy, team-related messages, travel itineraries and other team information with your student-athletes through the same mobile platform certainly is tangential to the legislation’s purpose.
Teamworks’ Approach: Teamworks is a one-stop shop for student-athletes to view, download and sign off on time management plans as well as receive alerts of any changes to their calendar.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD YOU SHARE THE STUDENT-ATHLETES’ CALENDARS?
Questions 2 and 3 are very intimately related, because the level of detail in what you are sharing with the student-athlete will most likely influence when it can be shared or when it needs to be updated and communicated.
The most common approach I’ve heard is to share a high-level time management plan at the beginning of each term or season, and then communicate a detailed calendar 1, 2, or 4 weeks in advance. A slight variation on this is a “rolling” 2- or 4-week calendar where the next week is much more set in stone than the furthest week out, but it allows student-athletes to begin planning their detailed schedule while providing flexibility to the coach and operations staff.
Other frequently mentioned scenarios include sharing a monthly calendar about 2 weeks in advance (for example, on the 15th of the previous month) all the way to sharing a schedule for the entire year. If you take the latter approach, I still think you’ll need to consider the weekly detailed calendar.
Teamworks’ Approach: Student-athletes use their mobile devices to constantly check their Teamworks calendars first thing in the morning and on-the-go throughout the day. Any change to their individual calendars is immediately reflected so there’s no confusion. Additionally, using our Messaging module to let them know their weekly calendars are finalized or other pertinent information, makes for a winning combo.
Stay tuned for the second set of questions where we’ll look at change approval processes and concerns about immediately communicating changes to student-athletes. In the meantime, please feel free to add to the discussion by leaving a comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts and other questions.