One of the necessary skills for being a sports television producer is having the ability to back-time a broadcast off the air. That means if your designated off-time is 4:58:30 p.m. EDT and it’s 4:55:08, you have to quickly recognize you have 3:22 to conduct an interview with the player of the game or winning coach, get in the last two 60-second commercials, and have the announcers smoothly wrap up as you count down, “5-4-3-2-1-black.”
Having lived that life from 1981-’95, I find those particular talents come in quite handy in the business world. First, I’m seldom late for anything. In sports television, you’re judged on two things: how you got on and off the air, and what the other three hours looked like. It’s pretty much 50/50 on the grading scale, so you learn to be on time and on your game. Second, I break down big projects into small pieces and typically get them done as scheduled. That ability likely comes from knowing that in a football game you had four commercial breaks each quarter, so you learned to think and communicate in terms of ‘here’s what we’ll do during the next segment.’
You don’t have to have worked in television to become more efficient. The key to improvement is to adjust your approach to think in terms of the clock counting down. The moment you walk in the door you’re losing time. So plan your day accordingly… schedule specific tasks and commit to getting them done. Remember, you can never gain back a single minute, so treat each one preciously. You’ll become more adept at moving forward and within no time you’ll be judging yourself as an A+ in productivity.