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By Shannon Fable, SUCCEED! Speaker

Planning to grow a fitness business often results in a to-do list a mile long—sometimes that list becomes a block, preventing entrepreneurs from earning more, doing more or dreaming bigger. Instead of allowing the tasks to pile up and paralyze you, take a minute to review and implement a simple 1-2-3 process for progressing forward.

1. Capture & consolidate your inputs

The quickest way to ease anxiety over your to-do list is to consolidate your inputs into one inbox. You are most likely finding your next step by browsing your email inbox, social media DMs, text messages, voice mails and sticky notes on your desk. This can leave you feeling frantic and disjointed. Instead, find one inbox you can trust; become disciplined about getting every single thing into it on a daily basis!

There are tons of apps you might explore (my fave is Trello). Or you could use a simple spreadsheet or document. Good ol’ pen and paper also work, although these tools are much harder to use for managing projects. You may have to experiment to find your favorite. Whatever you choose should allow for easy capture of the task, the backstory, notes about progress and attachments you may need to reference (e.g., pictures, files).

2. Identify projects & tasks

Once you have your “to-dos” in one place, you'll be able to identify projects hiding on your list versus small items that can be checked off with less effort. Projects are to-dos requiring multiple tasks, which are often the ones that stay on the list and plague you. If you take the time to consistently drill down to the next step that will move you closer to your goal, it's easier to make progress. Periodically plan time to check your lists and look for these projects that are hiding away as incomplete tasks. Once identified, brainstorm all sub-tasks needed to cross the “big one” off your list.

To-dos that are a bit more finite in nature (e.g., buy a birthday card, make a dentist appointment) are easier to accomplish in less time. You could knock these types of items off your list throughout the day when you're in between appointments, waiting for your car, when you're tired and not feeling particularly creative, etc.

Review projects and tasks, determining if they are urgent or imminent (date-sensitive, must be done), moderately important (deadline or timeline is approaching, getting it done would be helpful) or a try-to-do item.

3. Discern & decide your next steps

Finally, you'll need to plan time daily, weekly and monthly to review your lists. If you do your work monthly (prune the list, delete items that no longer serve you and brainstorm new items you haven't yet captured), you'll be able to proactively plan your weeks. Pick a day each week to organize the next seven days.

Review projects and tasks, determining if they are urgent or imminent (date-sensitive, must be done), moderately important (deadline or timeline is approaching, getting it done would be helpful) or a try-to-do item. This latter task is not time-sensitive; nothing bad would happen if you don’t accomplish it right away, but you don't want to lose sight of it either.

Not everything on your list will fall into one of these three buckets (or, I should say ... they shouldn't). You'll have to discern if something truly must get done in the next seven days or if it can wait. Underpromise and overdeliver. You can always move things from the backlog into your week's work if you get it all done!  That's where daily check comes in. Either first thing in the morning or last thing before you close up shop, take a look at your calendar for the next day and decide which of your tasks you can schedule in for the day ahead.

Start growing your business

While the three steps above do not represent everything you must do to supercharge your productivity, they do provide an easy 1-2-3 to get started. Much like we give our clients a smaller goal to build confidence during their wellness journey, you must follow the same logic for your fitness business needs. If you give it a try and stick with it for 4-6 weeks, you will see results (sound familiar?). Happy organizing!

Create a full productivity plan that helps you succeed faster and more efficiently with your fitness business in Shannon’s sessions at SUCCEED! Annual Business Convention & Expo, April 12-14, 2019, Irvine, California. 

Time Management Essentials to Grow Your Business Like Never Before
Turn Your Learning Experience into a Take-Home Action Plan  


Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the VP of Learning Development and Product Innovation for the FIT4MOM® franchise. For more than two decades, she has helped impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, Power Systems, ACE, Silver Sneakers, and BOSU® as a fitness business and programming consultant.  

An experienced educator, freelance writer, and certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach, she helps fitness entrepreneurs navigate the industry and make more money. Fable serves as the Chair of the ACE Board of Directors and is the founder and co-owner of GroupEx PRO®, a cloud-based group fitness management tool.