As health club owners and managers, most readers of this blog are concerned with the overall productivity of their staff. Unfortunately, many leaders set a poor example.
It's not all their fault. The problem is not a lack of motivation or skill. It is not even a lack of time. The crux of the issue is a misuse of the time available - the time spent not doing the immediate obligatory tasks.
While there will always be fires to put out, such as members with suggestion and complaints, or employees that need to be managed, there will always be time during the workday that can be spent in a number of ways. Finding the best way to manage this time can help most club owners and managers get more done in a day. This point may seem obvious, but misspent time is one of the most prevalent problems in every business, fitness clubs being no exception.
Here are 5 tips to help you manage your day a bit better:
1. Do away with to-do lists. Unless you actually knock the items off your to-do list with military-like discipline (in which case, this article may not apply to you anyways), they tend to just get longer and longer every day. Instead of a to-do list, put everything into an appointment schedule. This will ensure --or at least make it more likely-- to get done. For example a to-do item of "check Google analytics" can sit for days; meanwhile, an appointment on Wednesday @ 10 am "check Google analytics" is far more likely to get done. Setting a specific time and date for your objectives makes them less of an ever-present burden, and more like going to get a haircut. You have to do it, or you miss it, and you feel shame.
2. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your plan it out. Knowing what you really need to get done during your day is never a waste of time. Start your day, by not only knowing your schedule, but by figuring out the one or two most important things that you need to accomplish to move your business forward. In a session during iClubs2013 in San Diego, Chris McGoff instructed the audience, that, as leaders, they should focus on the question, “What am I trying to do with my business now, and what is making that difficult?” Come up with two or three main objectives, and put everything else to the side until those problems are solved.
3. Close your open door policy. This isn't meant to imply that your staff and members should not have access to you - as a good owner and manager, it is key that you are the face of your club. But, when you have planning to do, an important call or tasks like payroll or scheduling, close your door. Let your staff know that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.
4. Delegate. You have hired and trained people to do specific jobs, so let them do them. If you have done a good job with hiring, you shouldn’t need to be involved in their day-to-day responsibilities. If the front desk manager needs more supplies or drinks for the cooler, let them make the order. If the fitness manager has a broken piece of equipment, give them the power to call your service company. The more you let people do their jobs, the more you can focus on yours.
5. Avoid distractions. Focus on the task that will propel your business. Check your email once per day. Let your phone go to voicemail, and return calls during your scheduled (see tip 1) phone follow-up time. Don't multitask, as you'll get less done trying to do more.