Being a personal trainer can be a very rewarding career. Not only will you have the chance to work with people from all walks of life, but you will also be able to have a meaningful and positive impact on how they live.
While this career comes with plenty of joys, managing your time can also be challenging when working as a personal trainer. In this article, we explore 7 efficient tips that will help you manage your time perfectly.
Tip #1. Keep an Organised Schedule
We could also call this the first step to becoming a time-management ninja: find a way to have everything organised in one place. Whether that's an actual diary and your pen or a tech solution like Google Calendar, it's your choice. The latter works like magic if you'd like to send notifications and reminders to your clients automatically.
Your scheduler should have everything on there; client sessions, consultations, working hours you intend to spend on your business, marketing slots when you work on your blogs or social media, personal commitments and even your to-do list.
Don't forget about your own workouts and appointments, and feel free to schedule a time to do nothing now and then. You might also find that some things take longer than you thought they would, so keep some empty time between activities to avoid stressing out.
Tip#2. Maintain Focus & Attention
Procrastination is a problem for many personal trainers, especially those who decide to leave a full-time job and become self-employed. Time will teach you that whatever energy and time you put into your business, that's what you'll get out. It will have a direct impact on your income.
So, if you'd like to ensure you don't lose your enthusiasm for the industry, practice some self-discipline and avoid wasting time. For example, scheduling a few hours a week or even per day to roam the gym and build a connection with the members is a great way to put your name out there so long as you focus on them and how you might be able to help with their goals.
You can also try out the 2-minute rule. Whatever task you've been delaying to start, commit to spending 2 minutes only to start working on it. You might surprise yourself and finish the whole thing.
Tip #3. Prioritise and Delegate
Some jobs are more important than others, and it always makes sense to prioritise the tasks you need to do the most. There might be two main reasons you want to label a job more important than others. They will have the best impact on your business success, or they need to be completed by a specific deadline to avoid penalties.
Sending out that home workout plan to your clients on the day you promised them will build your reputation, which might lead to new clients and more income. Filing your tax return late can be an example of paperwork that might not feel urgent during the year, but if you live in the UK and haven't gotten most of it done by the end of November, you might spend your Christmas holidays super stressed out. So, prioritising your cash dash and tax admin in small chunks every month during the year will pay off big time.
Delegating the tasks that you don't enjoy or aren't good at is a wise step if you can afford it. Using an accountant to doyour taxes is a prime example of that. So is hiring a cleaner to keep your facility clean.
Tip #4. Automate Your Client Admin
Automation has surged in popularity over the last couple of decades, with people worldwide benefiting from saving time thanks to their computers. It makes sense to automate the repetitive and boring tasks that can be managed by software.
This way, you can eliminate human error, like forgetting you already booked a time slot and accidentally double-booking yourself. You can also save time by not having to send multiple messages back and forth per client.
Think of tasks like booking sessions, cancelling sessions, sending out session reminders, and holiday notifications. Software solutions such as PT Distinction can even manage program delivery, scheduled messages and important client documents for you, like PAR-Q, informed consent, or T&Cs.
Tip #5. Save Time For "Nothing"
Time is one of the most valuable resources you have, but it doesn't mean that you should be cramming it full of work and no space to breathe between sessions and classes.
Allowing buffer space in your schedule will give you the opportunity to travel between clients, deal with problems, and accommodate overruns with clients who need extra help. You can save a window around each of the appointments you make, giving yourself the chance to avoid the stress of running out of time when you have a busy schedule.
Another way of scheduling nothing is to ensure you allow yourself just "to be" regularly and enjoy not having to run around or talk to people or organise business or your life. The best ideas are born when you're able to relax and let your head clear. This practice can come in super handy before making an important business decision.
Tip #6. Be Consistent With Clients
It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of being controlled by your clients and their needs. When you're starting as a personal trainer, you might not even have much of a choice because you want to grow to a level of income that will support you and your family. However, that doesn't mean you should allow people to walk all over your schedule.
Putting in place a solid client agreement that includes a cancellation policy is a great start to ensure they respect your boundaries. Cancellations, for example, should only be allowed within a specific time window, giving you the chance to change your schedule as needed. Most trainers ask for a 24hr notice which may be enough to fill a slot when someone cancels.
Another aspect is to consider how flexible you are with your schedule. Working long days from 6am till 9pm will eventually catch up with you. If you feel you need to create a timetable that suits your needs, don't hesitate to do so and make it public, so all your clients know when you're not available for sessions.
Tip #7. Evaluate Your Efficiency
Do you know how long you take to complete specific tasks when working in or on your business? Quite likely, you don't unless it's client sessions that are always the same length.
If you feel that you're running around all day but don't feel like you're achieving much, it's time for you to do a time audit. You can use an easy stopwatch for that, or if your client management software has a timer feature, you can use that too.
The best way to perform that is to track everything you do for a week and then look at where your time went. You might find that you spend way long scrolling your social media without actually working on it or that your client communications take up a lot more of your time than you thought. Once you have the dry numbers, consider if there's anything you can do to cut down on activities that aren't productive or if you are better off delegating some tasks.
If you ever had a corporate job before becoming a personal trainer, you'll recognise most of these strategies because they are usually all part of any clerical job description. On top of training clients in person, you'll find these tips even more helpful if you offer online training services as well. An online personal training software like PT Distinction can take over many of the time-consuming tasks for you to focus more of your time on what you love: helping your clients.