SO I’ve discovered something about myself lately: There’s a lot of stuff I have to do in a day that I really don’t like doing. Shocker, I know, but the sad fact is there’s a bunch of menial tasks that I quite frankly don’t have the time to do. So I’ve decided I’m not going to do them any more!!
I know that by now many of you think I’m on crack, and that you all have those kinds of tasks that you just simply can’t get away from, but the truth in the matter is I think it’s going to be really quite easy.
A couple of years ago I made a decision regarding how I schedule my days. I used to use a sheet of paper that had the times throughout the day marked on it and progressed through the weeks and months using the method of writing in the clients I was training at what time and so on. The downside was that when someone would call to cancel or re-schedule their session to another day or time, I wouldn’t always get the message, and if it was for a client first thing in the morning, I would either show up for no one or miss that session entirely. On top of that, if I forgot what time my first client was in the morning, I would have to call in to the club to ask, which wouldn’t work well if the club was closed early on a weekend!!
This wound up pissing me off to no end, especially when I missed a few sessions that had been booked early and wound up having to give them freebies to make it up to them (one of my policies is that if you cancel with little notice on me, you get charged for the session, so if I have to cancel with little notice on you or don’t show up to a session, your next one is free. Your time is just as valuable as mine, and I want to always respect that.).
Enter online scheduling. I began using a web-based software that lets me schedule clients on-line about three years ago, and have never looked back. It let’s me do the following a paper scheduler never could:
1. Set up recurring appointments on the same days and times weeks in advance
2. Let’s my clients that I have given the link to schedule in their own sessions, saving the headache of email or phone tag
3. Let’s me see my day regardless of where I am or what time it is
4. Let’s me send out email blasts to all my active and non-active clients about upcoming promotions, products, training offers, etc
5. Sends an email reminder to the client and to myself when a session is booked, letting me stay on top of whose booking time with me and for what
6. Reduces paper use to nothing, saving a few trees in the process
7. Pre-define times that I will work, preventing others from booking outside of this time for any reason, and preventing double bookings
8. Gives me a heads up on client birthdays
This all has a cost to it, but when I started thinking about all the phone calls, emails and general hassles that I had to go through to keep in control of my schedule, I was spending about five to ten hours a month of my time on scheduling. This new scheduling tool costs less than the equivalent of 1 hour of my time per month, and let’s me have those extra nine hours to either train clients, write, or train myself (a forgotten luxury!!). Plus it looks wicked cool to have everything on-line and emailing you and stuff like that. **Would you like an email confirmation of our session next week? Why yes, thank you!! You’re the best personal trainer in the world!!!**
Next up: I hate cleaning. same as pretty much everyone out there. I still do it, because I don’t feel like catching the plague anytime soon and there are some things that should always be cleaned (like dishes and laundry and so forth), but the piddling little crap that no one really cleans (like walls) and the stuff no one likes to clean (bathrooms, dusting) are the main culprits that can be procrastinated right into next weeks list of things to do if you’re not careful. SO I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting a cleaner to come in once a month or every two weeks and give the house a thorough ass-kicking with Mr. Clean, and I am thinking it’s time to get on it. Neither Lindsay or I have a lot of free time, and instead of arguing about whose turn it is to bust out the Vim and scrub the tub, I figure we should get someone else to do it for us. From everyone I’ve talked to, it’s the best investment they have ever made, and it only costs about $80 to have the place spotless every couple of weeks. That works out to a couple of hours pay to do the things I don’t want to do, but normally would have to do. On top of that, I save the 8-10 hours a month that I would normally spend cleaning. I’m still gonna mow my own lawn though. That’s my baby, and no one’s going to touch her.
I’m reading Timothy Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Work Week, and in it he discusses how to create automation in pretty much every aspect of your life. I’m going to give this a try in a few key areas. Need to compile research for a new seminar? I’ll get a Virtual Assistant in India to help out with that for $4 an hour. Website design and administration? I’ll get a guy in Singapore to work on it for $10 an hour. Editing and copyrighting for the new book? Let’s see if I can find someone highly qualified and proficient in Sri Lanka for $8 an hour.
Yes, they all have costs behind them, but so does my time, and so does yours. What would you be willing to pay if you were able to get an additional 5, 10, or even 20 hours a week of additional free time to do what you want, or to be able to work on the projects you wanted to work on? How much would you be willing to pay if to get all that free time also meant not having to stress about the menial tasks and making sure they were done? A lot of big companies and even little companies off-shore their low priority tasks in order to save money and increase productivity. Try to call any big-box company customer service line, and I’ll bet you wind up getting someone in a developing nation on the other end as a representative. (This makes me wonder, if I get a person in India to help compile some research for me, and they have to call a big box company to get some info, are they going to have to call a dispatch center in North America and then get re-routed back to India again? Wouldn’t it be easier to just lean out the window and yell at the next building??). You should be able to do the same, save a few bucks, and more importantly get some more free time to spend with family, friends, yourself, and whatever the hell else you want to do with your time. I’m not too judgemental in what you do. Maybe try some of these fun things…