A week ago, I received a Facebook message from one of my clients. He had just discovered that he was wasting 90 minutes each day on a task that wasn’t important. This was a task that he performed Monday to Friday, so he uncovered a whole working day worth of poorly allocated time. What a win!
Time and again – no pun intended – I have seen gym owners radically change how much time they spend at work by simply better understand exactly what is going on in their business.
One of the most common complaints I hear from gym owners is “I just don’t have enough time to do all the work!” Yet the truth is, it’s not about not having enough time, it’s about wasting time on the wrong activities.
In the last few months of owning my gym I had reduced my hours to two hours per day. That was all the time I needed to complete the work that was my responsibility. I could then choose to do more work or enjoy the rest of my day. It took years for me to get to that point. I’d like to share with you a few strategies that you can employ to take control of your work hours.
Review your day
Do you know what you spend most of your time on?
Do you know if that work is important?
Are you just procrastinating?
Before you do anything to adjust the way you work, get a good idea of what you are doing right now.
The easiest way to do this is to perform a time audit. For 2-3 days track what you do. Write it down in a log. Do this as you go so you don’t forget anything. You’ll be surprised how much you fit into one day.
After 2-3 days, review your audit. Some things to investigate:
Are you jumping from task to task?
Are you spending time on tasks that you know are time wasters?
Are there areas for improvement?
The simple act of auditing your day will show you many areas in which you can become more efficient and effective.
Determine your RGAs
The big question is often: “So, what should I be focusing on?” And the simple answer is: You should be focusing on making money!
The work you should be doing is RGAs: Revenue Generating Activities!
If you want to get more important work done in less time then focus on RGAs. At a minimum 80% of your time should be spent on RGAs.
Revenue Generating Activities include: leads follow-up, networking, launching new services, creating marketing campaigns, scheduling sales presentations, consulting with prospects, creating content to build your audience, and generating website traffic.
To be clear, when it come to RGAs most gym owners just need to pick up the phone.
If you were to pick up the phone today and call your leads, your clients, and your network you would most certainly land more sales. The fear of picking up the phone might just be the biggest hurdle for small business. So, pick up the phone.
Prioritise your important tasks
Once you’ve defined your RGAs, you then need to prioritise them. What is it that is most important to the growth of your business right now? Is it marketing? Is it sales? Is it networking? Is it retention?
Define what is most important. Then prioritise what you must do. Everything else can wait. You must be ruthless here. There just isn’t enough time to do everything.
Keep it as simple as possible. Identify your top three priority tasks and be sure to complete these before you move onto any other tasks.
If you still don’t know which tasks to prioritise, look for the tasks that you’ve been avoiding. Almost without fail the tasks that you avoid are the ones that need doing.
Batch your activities
Bouncing from task to task wastes a lot of time. Hours upon hours each week can get lost in switching between tasks. This is especially true when swapping from creative tasks to, say, analytical tasks.
To become more efficient and effective, batch your tasks. To get started you could check email at a certain time rather than checking it every 15 minutes. You might also restrict social media activities to a particular time of day (or your could use software to schedule your updates). There are many other tasks that you could group together and process at the same time.
Batching tasks will save you a lot of time. It saves you time as you don’t bounce from tasks to task. And it saves you time because you maintain focus and become more effective at each task you undertake.
Turn yourself into a batching superstar by grouping all of your like tasks together in chunks. You can, for example, complete all of your financial tasks at once, same for marketing, sales, admin and so on.
Create a schedule
After you’ve taken the time to determine your RGAs, prioritise your tasks, and batch your activities, create yourself a schedule. Having a schedule will take the guesswork out of what you are going to do each day. And you’ll save even more time because you don’t have to plan out your day before you can get started.
A schedule will allow you to have some structure and it will give you a system that you can refine. Once you have system, you can test and measure and make improvements. It is through constant refinement that you will achieve you greatest efficiencies.
Lastly, stop multi-tasking. You cannot hope to produce good results if you are splitting your focus. So, do one thing at a time. In fact, aim to complete a single task before you move on to another task. It is better to complete one task than half complete multiple tasks.
Spend time to save time
The irony is that you have to spend some time upfront to get your time under control. It’s worth it. If you really want to grow your business while working less hours then take the time now to make the changes that you know need to happen.