Time is money! It’s an old saying that gets thrown around a lot, but when you apply it to your own daily schedule, it starts to make a lot of sense and shows just how valuable your time is. For the sake of this discussion, let’s say you charge $60 per hour for personal training. Now consider all of the extra tasks, interruptions, distractions and activities you do throughout the day and imagine each hour you spend on those things costs you $60 in earnings.
That example may be a little extreme, but it’s actually a good way to think about how each hour in the day matters, and how simple time management techniques can help you to fit in all of your tasks and obligations without getting frazzled.
Let’s explore the benefits of, and strategies for, building a productive routine and maximizing your workday.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PERSONAL TRAINER
Let’s start by admitting there is no ‘typical’ day when it comes to fitness coaches. Personal training businesses come in all shapes and sizes and each trainer has their own schedule and routines. However, as a certified fitness coach you probably find you have to tackle most, if not all, of the following over the course of a week:
- Attracting and retaining clients
- Evaluating the fitness levels and health conditions of clients
- Building individualized exercise programs
- Explaining, demonstrating, and modifying exercises
- Explaining and demonstrating safe and proper use of exercise equipment
- Monitoring (and providing feedback on) client progress
- Running both individual and group training sessions
- Recording video sessions
- Offering nutritional guidance or creating nutrition plans
- Educating and motivating clients
- Organizing your schedule (this is a super important one!)
- Following up on enquiries from potential and existing clients
- Completing/lodging/filing/creating paperwork
- Managing payments and all of your business finance
- Creating marketing and social media campaigns and posts
- Undertaking risk assessments
- Developing and delivering strategies for inclusivity
- Maintaining a strong, constant online presence
- Fitting in your own self-care activities
- Having a personal life outside of your business
It looks like a lot, but it’s a completely feasible list for a personal trainer to have in order to keep their business running effectively and constantly growing. To make things potentially more stressful, personal trainers often don’t work during the usual ‘office hours’. They could be coaching any time from before sunrise to beyond sunset. Without clever scheduling and effective time management, this could lead to overworking, stress, poor performance, and even burnout.
WHAT IS TIME MANAGEMENT?
In a nutshell, time management means being organized and strategic with how you use the time you have in each day. The aim is to get more done in less time.
First, it’s important to acknowledge (and truly believe) that your time is extremely valuable. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, so the way you manage those hours can have significant impacts on your overall productivity.
Here are 5 ways to make the most of your precious hours:
#1 Set clear goals and plan out your schedule for each day of the week
This one may seem obvious, but many people are more reactive than proactive when it comes to tackling daily tasks. Without the guidance of a detailed plan, it can be easy to fall into distraction traps or even forget important tasks.
Start by doing an audit of your weekly tasks and then rank them by importance/urgency. It may also help to identify your most productive times of the day. Though this could be tricky when you have multiple coaching sessions throughout the day, if you are useless at admin tasks in the afternoon you need to be aware of this when planning!
Invest the time to create a complete schedule for each day, accounting for every hour (including break times).
Prioritize the most urgent tasks and any goals you’ve set and then slot in the other tasks, trying to group similar tasks where possible (see more on task batching below).
If you haven’t already, this could be the time to set limits on when you’re available to train clients. You may find it beneficial to block out one morning or even a full day when you don’t take clients so you can focus on other tasks. Yes, you may have to turn down some requests, but it will make you a more effective and focused trainer, which can only be good for business.
TrueCoach allows you to easily set up your working hours so you can limit notifications to only occur within your specified working hours. For example, you could set 6am-4pm Mon-Wed and then 8am-2pm Fri-Sun as your working hours (keep Thurs for admin and self-care).
Then you can customize what notifications and emails you receive based on those working hours. Just go to Settings and then Notifications from within your TrueCoach account.
#2 Ditch multitasking – try task batching
We all multitask to some extent but research has shown that it doesn’t really improve our productivity. In fact, by trying to multitask we can actually take longer to complete tasks as we have to refocus our attention each time we switch between them.
Task batching is when you group similar tasks or activities together so that you can complete them simultaneously (a bit like group training!) According to job site Indeed, “this allows you to complete tasks more quickly by combining them into a single job rather than requiring you to complete them throughout the day.”
The benefits of task batching include increased focus and productivity and reduced stress.
You might try grouping all of your marketing tasks such as creating all of your social media posts and responding to comments/questions in one session. Or do all of your client programming in one go so that your mind is fully immersed in that particular task.
Or rather than answering emails throughout the day as they arrive, set aside one time each day to go through them. It’s a good idea to set expectations with your response times by adding a note to your website or to an automated email message saying you’ll only respond between specific hours each day.
For more information on task batching check out this Indeed article: What Is Task Batching? (Plus Benefits, Steps and Tips)
#3 Relinquish control to your AI overlords (or try automation and streamlining)
Nothing can replace you when it comes to training clients, so that’s definitely a top priority on your list. However, there are plenty of tasks that you can rely on technology to complete. According to Business News Daily: “Automation won’t replace people, but it will free them from performing mundane and repetitive tasks.”
These tasks can be identified as anything repetitive that adds value, such as calendar management, appointment scheduling and reminders, payment processing, activity and progress tracking, and you can even automate your social media posts for the future – days, weeks and months ahead.
Automation provides many benefits to your business and clients such as:
- consistency in communications and procedures
- fewer errors
- gives you back time
- allows you to focus on more important tasks
- streamlines your daily activities
It’s all about finding the right software to suit your needs. For example, the TrueCoach personal trainer app can shave hours off program admin work, track and measure client data and compliance, track meals and nutritional progress, auto-link your training videos and process payments.
For tips on choosing the right personal training software, check out our blog post: Thinking about switching your Personal Training Software?
And for more on how TrueCoach can streamline your workday read this blog post: 5 Ways TrueCoach Software Can Help Elevate Your Business
#4 Streamline communication and onboarding
You don’t want to be having the same conversations over and over again about your services, prices and onboarding processes. These repetitive discussions eat away at your valuable time!
Create a welcome pack that includes any information you normally provide to new clients. Then you can just distribute these and will only need to answer questions as they occur. Why not include an FAQ page as well if you know the same questions get asked repeatedly.
If you have a website, you can include all pricing and service information there (plus an FAQ), or if you don’t have a website, you could create an information pack for potential clients.
Linked to automation, you should streamline the amount of emailing you need to do by automating a lot of your client communication. For more on this, check out this post from The International Sports Science Association (ISSA): Automated Emails to Improve Your Personal Training Business
#5 Aim for a healthy work-life balance
Though it may not seem like your personal life affects your business, the two are absolutely, inextricably linked. Most importantly, factoring in self-care and time away from business tasks is an important part of time management.
All work and no play can make a PT stressed and unfocused. When creating your schedule for the week, ensure you factor in time for breaks, self-care and personal time. These elements are just as important for your wellbeing and the health of your business as the rest of your tasks. They may include things like:
- Activities that spark joy or promote relaxation (crafts, movies, hiking, reading, singing, baking)
- Meditation, deep breathing, massage, a bath, yoga
- Your own exercise routine
- Spending time with friends and family
- Spending time alone
- Anything with animals (in person or just watching them online)
By allocating time for investing in yourself, you’re setting up healthy habits that will lead to better decision-making, enhanced (and sustainable) focus and energy, and more stress-busting resources – all of which will make your business stronger and more resilient.
Delve into the importance of (and types of) self-care with our recent blog post: Self-Care: A necessity for personal trainers
Hopefully by now, you’re ready to protect and organize your precious and finite daily hours. Remember that there are plenty of ways to make the most of each day, you just need to plan, prioritize and perform!
For more tips on time management, refer to this Forbes post: 7 Simple Time Management Tips For Business Owners
Download our latest FREE ebook: Investing in yourself: How to improve and protect your best business asset for advice and tips on:
- Using a growth mindset
- Skill development
- Mentorships and networking
- Self-care and stress management
- Future-proofing for long-term success
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Article by TrueCoach
First published: September 25 2023
Last updated: January 11 2024