How to Manage Your Time on and off the Court

“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time', is like saying, 'I don't want to.” ― Lao Tzu

How to Manage Your Time on and off the Court as a basketball player

We all have 24 hours in a day, but some people manage to get more done than others.

All the time we hear how important it is to manage our time wisely, but when you're a student-athlete, it seems like there's never enough time in the day.

You see, the ability how to manage your time and focus throughout the day can give you the cutting edge over your competition.

There is a lot of information on this topic out there, especially for the corporative environment, but today, I want to show you how you can apply it directly as a basketball player.

Two main topics that will be covered in this article:

  1. The best time to work out
  2. Time blocking – reaching flow states off the court
  3. Bonus

Let's dive into it!

clock running time managment

The Best Time to Work Out

The human body has an internal clock — the circadian rhythm — that tells our body when to raise its body temperature and alertness and when to lower it based on the time of the day. It's basically there so your body knows when to be awake and when to go to sleep

That's the reason why you might not perform as well at 5 am or midnight, as you would during your regular wake time.

Therefore, we can use this internal clock to our advantage so that we get the most out of each workout.

Alertness & Body Temperature

Below, you can see two graphs that represent body temperature and alertness during the day. Take a moment to observe these and see whether some similarities stick out to you.

Body temperature during the day:

core body temperature vs time of day graph

Alertness during the day:

Something that sticks out to me is that our body temperature peaks at around 6 pm, and there is also a peak of alertness during the evening. It means that we are going to get the maximum out of our workout at that time.

At that moment we are most motivated and our body is ready to go. During this time period, we are ideally going to work on things that we really want to improve.

Now, there is also an alertness peak in the late morning (around 11 am). This means we can get another high-quality workout during that time.

Example (2 a day):

  1. Weight room session at 11 am
  2. Skills session at 6 pm

If you want to train in the early mornings, go ahead. However, make sure you are properly warmed up before the session because our body temperature is naturally quite low at that moment. Do something low intensity, like a shoot-around or a small aerobic workout.

Example (3 a day):

  1. Shoot around at 6 am
  2. Weight room session at 11 am
  3. Team practice at 6 pm

Time Blocking – Reaching Flow States off the Court

When you need to get things done off the court, be it doing your homework, studying game film, or researching about your next opponent, time blocking is a great tool to use.

Here, we take a specific amount of time (for example two hours) and focus only on doing the most important things during the time block.

You don’t get distracted, you don’t check Instagram, you don’t chat with your friend, just do the things you set up to do.

For example, you want to analyze some game film on your opponents. For that, you block the time from 7 am to 9 am. You tell everyone in your apartment that you are busy right now and that they should not distract you.

You get everything you’ll need during these 2 hours in your room and lock it. Put your headphones on, so you don’t get distracted by any noise. Now, during these 2 hours, you focus on studying your match-ups and analyzing your opponent.

You don’t get distracted, you don’t check Instagram, you don’t chat with your friend, just do the things you set up to do.

I understand that this can be quite difficult, especially if you’re not used to it. It can seem boring and the urge to distract yourself can be huge. However, if you don’t cheat, you’ll be amazed by the quality of your work during the time block.

By the way, that's what we are usually doing when we are training as well, don't we?

When you are working out, you are focusing on what you need to work on, instead of constantly checking social media or talking with your teammates about completely different things.

The same principles apply here.

Manage your Focus

Even though we are talking about time management here, it is not so much about how much time you invest in something, but how good your work is during that time. Now, to produce high-quality work, we need to make sure our focus is on point.

During the morning, our focus level is usually at its highest. The reason for that is that our mind is fresh since we didn’t use up much of our energy and willpower yet. So if you want to get the most out of that film session, do it in the morning.

It is not so much about how much time you invest in something, but how good your work is during that time.

Now of course, if you didn’t get enough sleep (or got too much), your brain just won’t be able to deliver in the mornings; make sure you get enough high-quality sleep.

We only have so much focus during the day, and we must spend it on the most important things –  things that you need to do to reach your goals

Key Points:

  • Use the circadian rhythm to your advantage
  • Block your time to get more done
  • It’s more about quality rather than quantity — manage your focus

If you have any questions/suggestions or just want to talk hoops, don't hesitate to reach out!

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Until next time!