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what I learned from a football coach I've never met


The most challenging thing for me is staying focused. This has always been the case, I remember being in the first grade and my mom getting frustrated with me because I would be “working” on one piece of homework for hours and hours. I like doing a bunch of things at once, switching between tasks. I’m prone to being distracted. There is a quote by the British sculptor Barbara Hepworth that has been a positive prompt for me when I try to overcome distraction: “Halfway through any work, one is often tempted to go off on a tangent. Once you have yielded, you will be tempted to yield again and again.” 

In an effort to invite more focus to my work and my days overall I created a daily schedule. It is inspired by football coach Pete Carroll’s program. I’ve been on this for a little over a month and it is working very well for me so far. Here’s the breakdown:


Tell the Truth Monday

On Monday I look back on the week that just passed and I assess what happened. The point is to be brutally honest with yourself. Make a list of what went wrong, didn’t meet your expectations, as well as what went right. These lists will help to answer the question of where are you at? This can also include personal life, how you feel emotionally etc. It’s important to look at everything.

Competition Tuesday

How can you challenge yourself? The Monday check-in will help determine where you can step up. Tuesday is the day to start acting on some of those things. You have to compete against your personal best not someone else’s. 

Communication Wednesday

This day is all about strengthening your communication. Check all of your correspondence channels and make sure you are clear. Work on a proposal, send a long email to pitch a new idea, make sure you didn’t forget to text back any of your friends. Close the loop on any communication where the ball is in your court.

Thoughtful Thursday

This is my full studio day. I work on things here and there all throughout the week, but on Thursday I spend the majority of my day working in the studio. It’s about experimenting, nurturing new ideas, acting on more developed ideas etc. etc. Thursdays are also when a few of my favourite podcasts come out and it makes me that much more excited to plug in and get to work.

Figure It Out Friday

Friday is the take-care-of-(annoying but necessary)-things-day. So if I have to call the bank, or my phone company, if I need to make a doctor’s appointment etc, I leave that to Friday. Any pesky, mundane task with a lot of steps, something that I would rather put off or one that requires being on the phone is done for a while on Fridays. (I like to clean while I’m hold.)

Still Going Saturday

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the Friday feeling. Even thought I don’t work a 9-5, Fridays generally feel so good and carry an ease. Unless I make plans, it puts my Saturday at jeopardy to be a write-off. Right now I need to push it. I have a lot of projects on the go and being a one-woman show means I am doing almost everything myself. So Saturdays have to have utility. Even if it ends up being errand day, where I get groceries, go to the art store whatever – I do something useful for my future self. 

Slow Down Sunday

All of the days so far are high energy. Sunday is for the soul. It’s usually the day I spend with my family. But even if I have to keep working in any capacity I make sure I take long breaks. I make sure I don’t neglect any of my basic needs. Furthermore I try to actively enhance the experience of those needs. Like if I’m going to make a salad for lunch, I am going to make a luxurious dressing from scratch to go with it.

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