I‘m busy and you probably are too. To help you manage, I’m sharing my 7 strategies for time management below.
Before I do, I should note that I don’t want to “trick” anyone. I don’t have it all together but I’m managing and taking great strides towards balance. Being at the mercy of other people’s schedules is an unfortunate consequence of personal training. These strategies have helped me run my gym and 2 other businesses on the side.
Read the next 7 tips and start implementing today to gain back some control into your life.
1. Prioritize your tasks.
Create a to-do list and categorize your tasks as high, medium, or low in terms of importance. In my list, there is also space for me to identify whether it’s a J&M task, a GGS task, a personal brand task, or a general life task. Beside them, include due dates where applicable and a section for notes.
After creating your list, here’s how to enter it into your calendar:
- At the beginning of each week and each day, pull out my planner (yes, a paper planner) and write down any concrete due dates
- Block out times to complete high priority tasks before their due date. (Note: It’s better to overestimate then underestimate the amount of time it will take for a task.)
- Create a list of small tasks that can be done in spare time. Whenever you complete a task quicker than you estimated, pull out this list and start checking off tasks.
2. Outsource as much as possible.
Any task that you don’t enjoy doing that would cost you less to pay someone else to do than you would make doing your job should be outsourced. So if you value your time at $150/hour, and you can get someone to mow your dreaded lawn for $15/hour. It’s a no-brainer. Time is your most valuable resource.
This is easier said than done, of course, so start small. Hire someone to clean your house twice a month. Hire someone to mow your lawn and trim your hedges. Once you see the beauty and feel the freedom of outsourcing tasks you don’t enjoy, you’ll never go back.
3. Find amazing business partners.
You can’t take the tickets at the door, sell the popcorn, and star in the play all at once. It’s nearly impossible to have any work-life balance if you are running the show by yourself.
You are only one person, and you have a finite amount of time and energy. Find an amazing business partner, who is as committed as you are, define your individual roles and responsibilities, and then be willing to pick up each other’s slack when necessary.
And remember, in order to have an amazing business partner, you must BE an amazing business partner. This was a lesson hard learned for me, and I could have lost my business over it. Let’s just say that Jim, my partner in J&M, is a saint.
4. Be disciplined and focused.
Do you get distracted easily? If so, read this article on beating procrastination (it’ll open in a new window, read afterwards)
In order to be disciplined and focused, I had to come up with very hard and fast rules for myself and I suggest that you do the same. Here are a few of my favorites:
- No personal texts before 8 pm. This applies to text messaging with people with whom I will have longer, more drawn-out conversations with. If my Mom texts me a quick question, or it’s something business related, I’ll answer. Otherwise, I try to refrain from texting before that time.
- Always keep your ringer off unless you’re expecting an important phone call. And even then, only turn it on for a short time. Otherwise you’ll subconsciously react by grabbing your phone every time it beeps or buzzes.
- In bed by midnight. I have an alarm that tells me to get ready for bed, and one that tells me to get in bed.
- Awake by 8 am.
- Plan specific times to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Personally, a lot of my job relies heavily on spending time on social media sites, it’s so easy to get sucked into 2 hours of playing on Facebook and convince myself that I’m “working.” Umm… that’s crap. Figure out when the best time to post on Facebook is and book off a couple of small blocks each day to log on.
Set multiple alarms in your phone to remind you to keep on track [Note from Jon: I do this as well and it works great!]
5. Take time to slow down and meditate.
When you start to feel frazzled, stop and close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths (3-5 second inhale, 8-10 second exhale to calm me down), and then return to work.
Schedule regular massages, acupuncture appointments, pedicures, and dinner with close friends to ensure you have time to relax and unwind. Try to lay quietly each morning for 5-10 minutes, and again at night before bed reflecting on your day and feeling very grateful for everything in your life. I have an app called Brainwave that I highly recommend to listen to while you’re doing this.
6. Organize and simplify your life.
Back in January I hired a woman to help me organize and simplify my life. Little did I know that she would help me do a complete overhaul and become a full-fledged Life Coach.
If you do not have good organizational skills, hire someone to help. Over the last several months this woman has helped me become more productive and effective with my time than I ever imagined. And we are just getting started.
If you have no clue where to find one, start asking around. I’ve found several stay-at-home-moms who are interested in doing these things. They are used to juggling a million things at once and often like organizing things. Plus, the extra cash for doing something they enjoy is a great bonus.
7. Don’t be afraid to say, “No.”
There comes a time when “no” is the best answer. It’s just not possible to take everything on and you’ll stop doing a good job at anything while trying to please everybody. If it doesn’t align with your purpose or goals, it’s important to learn to say no.
Also, if you start saying “no,” your “yes” will become that much more powerful and desirable to others.
This is another area where my Life Coach has helped me. With every new project we discuss, she asks me if it will ultimately move me closer towards my goal. If the answer is no, I usually turn it down.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any to add? What has helped you on your journey towards a work-life balance? Comment below and share your strategies with other passionate trainers.
About the Author
Molly Galbraith, CSCS, is a strength coach and co-owner of J&M Strength and Conditioning and Girls Gone Strong.
No stranger to the gym herself, she has competed in both figure and powerlifting and her best lifts include a 275 lb. squat, a 165 lb. bench press, and a 341 lb. deadlift. You can find out more about her on her personal blog at http://mollygalbraith.com/, on Twitter, or Facebook.
Recommended additional reading
When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook? – Jonathan Goodman
Procrastination is Opportunities Natural Assassin – Jonathan Goodman
Avoid Burn Out! The Block System for Personal Trainers – Jonathan Goodman