Adding officiating to your already busy schedule can cause a painful time crunch. But if you manage your time well, you can fit officiating into your life without much sacrifice.

You first need to recognize that you are committing time not just to games, but to a variety of related activities as well.

Games generally last from one to three hours, and you may be asked to officiate several games in succession. You must also allow time for travel and on-site preparation. Travel time is obviously variable, but becomes significant when a game site is a half hour or more away. On-site preparation time is also variable but can be diminished if you have the opportunity to travel to the game with your crew. If not, you may need to allow time for pregame conferences with fellow officials. You may also be required to perform pregame inspections and to observe player warmups.

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In addition to all of those “day of” time considerations, you must make time for meetings — some associations meet weekly during the season — as well as time for studying rulebooks and attending clinics.

Managing your time effectively can make fitting all of those activities into your schedule much less difficult. However, a few common bad habits can thwart your time management efforts.

  • Putting tasks off is one of most people’s worst habits. You may put off your less attractive responsibilities, planning to get to them later. Somehow, all of the time you actually had available to complete the tasks gets used up on other things, and things are left undone, or are done shoddily.
  • Juggling tasks is another common bad habit. When too many tasks are juggled at once, none of them are completed thoroughly.
  • Poor concentration can also lead to inefficient use of time by allowing you to be easily sidetracked.
  • Overloading is another common problem. Many people take on more than they can realistically handle.

The good news is that you can learn new time management strategies that will help keep you on track. Here are a few to get you started.

  • Set aside a little time for planning. That may seem like yet another thing you don’t have time for, but, in the long run, you’ll be glad you did it. Use the time to prioritize your tasks and define your goals on paper. You can organize these as long-term goals, weekly goals and daily goals. This gives you the opportunity to see the big picture without sacrificing the focus on tasks at hand. Checking off goals and tasks as they are completed can help keep you motivated.
  • Set time frames for task completion. Having an estimate of how long you will be spending on a given task can help with planning.
  • Whenever it’s realistic, delegate. Don’t waste time, and don’t allow others to waste your time. Be diplomatic about it, but don’t let yourself be drawn into needless, time-consuming conversations or activities.
  • Don’t neglect day-to-day responsibilities. They’ll just build up and take excessive time to clear up later. Set deadlines and adhere to them.
  • Reestablish your goals as necessary. See your goals and plans as flexible. That serves, not as a way around onerous tasks, but as a way to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Make time for yourself. You will be much more effective at all tasks if your state of mind is positive. Don’t put your own well-being at the bottom of your priority list.

If, despite impeccable time management, you find that you simply don’t have enough time for everything you’ve set for yourself to do, you may need to pare down your commitments.

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