8 Ways to Manage Time as a Business Owner

time management for business owners Jan 18, 2023

You’ve heard the old saying, “We all have the same number of hours in the day,” before, and while that’s true, we all can’t use them in the same way. 

Some of us have kids, some of us have appointments, some of us don’t have staff, and so on. Plus, what might take someone 15 minutes might take another person an hour. You get the idea.

But there’s also something that we, as fit biz owners, do that sabotages those hours we do have — we don’t learn how to manage our time properly.

Think about a time when you were awestruck at the number of things someone was able to get done in a day — whether that’s your mom, a friend, or a colleague. How do they do it? What’s their secret? 

They control the time they have instead of letting it control them. 

It’s easy to get off track when you’re trying to manage your time and get a solid grip on all of your responsibilities. But if you want to fix that, here are a few ways to improve your time management as a business owner. 

Utilize a to-do list

If you don’t know what needs to be done, you can’t effectively prioritize your workload.

This doesn't mean you have to go crazy and buy the most elaborate planner you can find or sign up for software or programs you don’t need. Honestly, paper and pencil work just fine, especially if you’re not a “to-do list person.”

On the flip side, you should also have a “to don’t” list to help you stay focused and prioritize your tasks. Just because you can do something in your business doesn't mean you should.

It’s like working with a client. They may be able to do a particular exercise, but it hurts them, so they shouldn’t do it. You are capable of getting it done on your own, but that doesn't mean you should do everything on your own because you’re going to end up running yourself dry. 

Don’t multitask

Everyone thinks they can multitask until they see the results of multitasking. It’s far less productive than focusing on one thing at a time, and if you’re not careful, can lead you down the path of procrastination.

I find it difficult to switch my brain between working with clients in the studio and going home to work on the admin/CEO-level side of my business. 

They require different parts of my brain, and trying to switch between them quickly is anything but. It majorly slows me down, and when you stack up the numbers, I don’t get much done in a day. 

That’s why I have dedicated days for each type of task so I don’t have to waste time trying to get in the podcasting, planning, and delegating mode and then immediately switch to PT mode. 

Track how long each task takes to complete

If you don’t know how long something will take, you can’t effectively manage your time because you won’t have anything to base it on. 

Think about it like this — a new teacher is going to need a decent amount of prep time before their first day of class.

But a seasoned teacher can just walk in the room and know what to do. The difference is that one has done it before and is aware of how long it will take them to do everything involved with teaching a class, so they don’t need to sit down and track everything beforehand.  

You won’t know how to manage your time well if you don’t track it to begin with.

Start your day early

By early, I don’t mean 5 am — I mean somewhere between 6 and 7 am. Personally, I get my best work done in the mornings and found that once I start getting up earlier, even just by half an hour, I get more done. 

And so I can continue to do that, I’m strict with my bedtime and make no apologies for it. I’m in bed by 9 pm every night and get 8-9 hours each night. Sleep is non-negotiable for me because I want to prioritize my health. 

If you’re struggling to get up and feel ready to go in the morning, starting your day early, along with exercise, is a recipe for success. In fact, a lot of well-known entrepreneurs do this. It doesn’t have to be a full-on cardio exercise — I walk my dog — but some movement can wake your body up and prepare your mind for the day ahead. 

Prioritize urgent tasks

Part of the reason we multitask so much is that we’re looking at everything as urgent and something right then and there, when in reality, less than half, if not 25% of those tasks, are actually urgent. 

If you want to cut the bullshit and get focused on one thing at a time, you need to learn how to prioritize what’s truly most important (usually deadline driven), and then delegate and defer to your team if you have one. 

Use the 80/20 rule

The main idea is that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of your clientele. So that means focusing on the 20%, aka the most important leads/tasks/etc. that help you make money, is going to drive a majority of your income. 

I also like to use this rule as a standard of measurement for my work. As the CEO, focus on the 20% of tasks that are going to drive 80% of the business — whether that be recording a podcast, creating content, writing emails, etc. 

The main idea is putting your focus on the most important things in your business. And while you may be doing way more than you should be at first, when you can, start delegating tasks that aren’t the best use of your time — like answering emails, phone calls, or updating your website. 

If you want to move the needle forward, there has to be a higher level of focus put on the CEO-level tasks

Learn to say no and say it often

Saying yes means you’re saying no to something else. And time is something you can never get back, so make sure you’re saying yes to the right things and saying no more often.

Don’t be scared and don’t be shy. You have to protect your time and save it for the things that matter, especially as your business grows.

Get help from a mentor

If it wasn’t for the right support and the right mentors, my business wouldn’t be where it is today. Actually, it wouldn’t even exist because I almost sold it one time out of frustration and an overwhelming need to have more time in my day. 

Having people in my corner who had been there, knew what the struggles of being a fit biz owner were like, and were ready to give advice made all the difference — and kept me from jumping ship. 

Now? I visit my studio for less than 10 hours each week. I focus 100% of my time and energy on the things I love. And my business is still growing, supporting our team, and serving our clients and community well. 

If this is the kind of thing you want to learn too, I invite you to check out the Beyond the Movement Inner Circle.

The Inner Circle is my small-group mentorship program, designed specifically for female physical therapists and boutique fitness entrepreneurs. Inside this group, I’m focused on helping you create predictable 6-figure revenue while cutting your client-facing hours in half.

If you’re doing everything inside your business and are sick and tired of it, don’t miss it — registration closes on January 31 and there are only 3 spots available. Want to be one of them?