on filing

ALTIS ACP 2020-3368
Dan Pfaff

Dan Pfaff

Head Coach

I often get asked by younger coaches how to organize my thoughts so I don’t get overwhelmed by too much information. 

I use a file system format, whereby I put everything into files of topics. I have blog files, podcast files, coursework files, general research files, advanced research files, etc.

I then use systems to manage them. 

I normally have a month’s theme, so that particular month I focus on a topic in all of these files – for example, physiology, sports med, biomechanics, training theory, management, communication, math, applied sciences and so on. 

If I have a burning problem, then I might use a daily format, seeking specific answers. 

If it is a really pressing, emergency problem, then I might use the above schema on an hourly basis. I try to cover a lot of topics, and all sorts of scale and scope on items both sport-specific and general knowledge — my generalists bias showing here.

As the years have gone by, the number and layers of files have grown — good for mind expansion, but bad for time management.

It was a bit simpler in my early days: libraries, coaches clinics, a few journals and some schooling were all that were available.  So the vetting was pretty solid to pass into those halls of learning. 

Now, we seldom have any sort of vetting on work – so we have to build our own screens.   

I am blessed to have colleagues send me lots of papers, books, podcasts, etc., and it can get overwhelming at times – my desk currently has over a dozen unread books, for example. 

One perk to this is that there is some vetting — so if my friends send it, chances are they have read and pondered it a bit, for they know I don’t handle garbage well. I try to follow and network with folks who work at the coalface, have years in the game, and who are respected by my network go to guys. 

How do you manage?

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