Time Management and the Art of the Banana Peel


In the course of a week, I’ll normally have about one or to dozen people ask me how I manage to do everything I do. To give an idea, this is a typical month:
Train 130 sessions
Teach 2-8 full days worth of courses for trainer continuing education (8 hours each)
3-5 hours worth of distance consulting with trainers I have worked with and certified
3-4 hours communication with health care professionals regarding clients
5-10 hours examining new trainers for Can Fit Pro
20-25 hours of program design (more if a lot of cardio program or food log analysis
15 hours of Boot Camp classes
5-10 hours of writing for various projects, blog posts, etc
10-15 hours of research and development for different classes
20 hours working on the medical advisory board, communcating with board members about referrals to and from our company.

Average “work” time of 230-300 hours per month (figuring about 24 work days in the month, works out to roughly 9-13 hours of work each day, depending on the number of courses taught that month). I put work in quotations because I’ll be the first to admit that I have some form of ADD mixed with boredom at the thought of doing any one thing for more than a few minutes in a row, so I tend to jump from one project to another throughout the day. That and the fact that it is hella fun to do some of the things I get to do in a day, and it seems more like play than work. I get jacked up pushing someone to their limits, and get a surge from learning new things that I can put into action with a client that day. Talking with a doctor or other health care professionals who views me as an equal is pretty cool indeed, as this is something not too many trainers get to feel.

On top of all this are the normal house work, errands, and my own workouts which fill in the cracks. Keeping it all straight can be a challenge, but I have always had a lot of irons in the fire. When I was in high school, I went to class, then either went to work at a part time job or went to practice for a number of sports teams. After that I had to study, so that I could keep myself in school and be eligible to play. In university, I had to work in order to pay rent and groceries, etc, as well as had a full course load in a highly science-based program, so my days went from class to work to study. Typically for me those days started at roughly 6am and ended at about 11pm. Now I’ve just shifted everything a bit earlier to be at work for my 6am clients!!

This didn’t happen over night. It took roughly 15 years of conditioning myself to work these kinds of days to be able to do them without going insane. Now it’s actually easier than when in high school or university because I only have to be in one place in a day! When new trainers come in to the fitness industry hoping to be the top dawg, they see me working long days jam-packed with stuff and try to do the same, thinking the ones who work the most get the best rewards. One downside in the fitness industry is that new trainers are highly susceptible to the dreaded “burnout” as they try to do everything and don’t take time for themselves or care about their own health. This can be a slippery slope, as many want to work harder and harder as they start to see more success. Eventually though, this slippery slope has a banana peel on it that causes most to fall flat out on their butts and wind up either getting sick or not giving their all for their clients.

I’ve missed two days of work in 8 years. One was because I threw my back out and couldn’t stand. I know many are you are thinking the same thing as this guy…..

One of the things I have learned over the years is that focus is necessary in everything you do. Now I’m not talking about being so intense you feel like you’re hovering above your chair, although that would be something. I’m talking about giving your focus to what you have under your control. Do you ever stress that the stop light is taking too long? Or that the weather isn’t what you need it to be or that the overall economy is beginning to falter again? Then you don’t know what I’m talking about. All of those are variables that are out of your control, much like trying to harness the wind. In each day, I can get into a state of mind where I can simply coast without my energy getting too high or low, or without having my stress elevate or dip too much. These variations can be the difference between leaving at the end of the day feeling like the dog or like the fire hydrant.
Managing time becomes truly important as we take on more and more projects, jobs and tasks. Those banana peels become more prevalent and will pop up sooner and without warning if we take on too much, so knowing our own limitations becomes truly important. Balancing our wants with our desires and with our capabilities becomes the art that separates those who can go all day with those who can’t handle their stress. On top of that, I always get excited and motivated to do something new, like launching a webinar series or building seminars for conferences.
Allowing yourself to enjoy each situation gives you a lot less stress each day, which lets your immune system stay healthy and lets you keep on truckin along with your daily duties. Having new and exciting challenges keeps things interesting, but balancing priorities becomes important to keep you in line and keep your projects on time. This becomes the art of the banana peel, and knowing where not to step.  

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
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