On Productivity, Scheduling, and Goal-Setting—Cycling Imitates Life

by | May 18, 2014 | Mindset

 Trying to keep a schedule is important, and I’ve found that for me, when my schedule gets full, I do better at being productive. I have a few athletes I’m working with now, and I think, I could probably take on two or three more, and it might even improve my efficiency even though I’d have more work. -Janel Holcomb

As I interview pro racers about normal racer stuff, I occasionally stumble upon awesome quotes and stories that don’t just relate to cycling. Some are cycling-focused but wonderful metaphors for real life, some are cyclists talking about normal real-life things, and some are a combination of the two. This first one relates directly to workplace productivity, with a serious cycling bent as well.

I was able to interview Janel Holcomb back in February for a few pieces I was working on, and as we talked, the more and more I grew to pretty much idolize her. Pro racer, normal social life, full-time coach who doesn’t take a week off when she goes to training camp… Yep, this is one lady who really encompasses the whole “doing it all” mentality. So what makes her tick? I went back to our interview and noticed a few themes.

  1. Scheduling: As you can see in the quote above, it’s all about making (and sticking to) a schedule, especially when you’re crazy busy and traveling a ton. I’m with Janel though—I find the more packed my schedule is, the more productive I am and the more content I produce, both for my jobs and for myself. It’s a weird thing!
  2. Goal Setting: Janel has a bunch of huge cycling goals this year, including making the TTT team for Worlds. I love how openly she talked about her goals, since tons of research has been done about the whole “if you talk about your goals to people, you’re more likely to follow through with them” schtick, which I agree with whole-heartedly. But having goals isn’t enough, and she has a ton of great planning to back them up. If there’s one thing pro cyclists understand, it’s goal-setting and working backwards to see exactly what you need to do to make that goal a reality. It’s a great way to get work done as well—that’s how Saddle, Sore got finished: a self-imposed deadline set six months in advance, and then I worked backwards to see exactly where I needed to be each week to get it done.
  3. Not Getting Overwhelmed: We talked about self-coaching and having an outside coach even when you are a coach, and that reminded me of a couple great things. First of all, not putting everything (like your own training) on your plate and properly delegating, and second, stepping back a bit and surveying what’s going on. That’s something I find myself doing more and more when I get overwhelmed, and often, it helps put things in perspective.
  4. Making It Work: Janel told me this great story about the day before, how the women in the Optum Pro Cycling house had a long day on the bike, came home, and were totally exhausted. She had a call with a client (a junior girl) and didn’t want to disappoint her, so despite being beat, she managed to do the call via Skype while working on dinner. That’s not just dedication, it’s the best possible version of multi-tasking, and not dropping balls even when there are a ton in the air.

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