As a self-employed mother of three working in the fast-paced fitness industry, I was finding it difficult to stay on top of the latest health and wellness news not to mention the newest exercise tool-of-the-month.
Much of the time, I found myself scrambling to prepare a class plan or a client program just a few minutes before the class or training session was to begin. The stack of books, magazines, newspaper articles, fitness DVDs and YouTube videos to watch was ever-growing. The list of client handouts to prepare and photocopy never seemed to get any smaller. Telephone and email inquiries were taking longer to get to. There didn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done, let alone grow my business.
I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you. The first tasks to be completed are always the immediate ones and those that directly generate income. But what about the ‘behind the scenes’ work? The non-income generating projects and tasks that take your business from good to fabulous?
About three months ago (after complaining to a friend about yet another Pro D Day at home with my children), I realized that teachers have got it all figured out. Take a day each month away from your regular job to work on skills, long term projects and general professional development; the things you can’t possibly accomplish in the little snippets of time available during your regular work day.
I now take the first Wednesday of each month and spend it reading through the references that have piled up on my night table, watching fitness DVDs and online videos and practicing the exercises I want to introduce to my classes and clients. Course work and dropping in on a fitness class at another facility are on my agenda for next month’s Pro D Day.
Last Professional Development Day I generated six weeks of curriculum for each of two different courses in just a single morning, resulting in more polished, professional looking classes and freeing me from the last minute scramble. My handouts are photocopied and organized; no more running to the photocopier minutes before a client arrives! I am consistently returning emails and telephone calls within hours and I have started a fitness and wellness blog (something I never thought I had time for) to make myself more visible in the marketplace.
My practice is growing consistently. My group fitness classes are almost always full with wait lists. I am getting referrals from current and previous clients. But most of all, I feel more focused, less frazzled and more in control of my time.
Professional Development Days; add them to your calendar!