The transition from the gym floor to full-time online coaching feels like it should be a liberating experience.
The reality is that when there are zero constraints on your time, it is easy to fall into wasteman-mode.
We do not rise to the level of our aspirations, we fall to the level of our training.
When you are self-employed, there is no such thing as ‘clocking off’. No such thing as a paid holiday.
Without external accountability, without your gym franchise giving you a steady flow of clients, you need to create your own structure.
This is why optimising your productivity is an essential pillar of becoming a profitable online coach.
Why before what
Busyness is the killer. It is easy to let hours turn into years of misdirected effort. You will see this with fitness clients: misapplied work ethic getting them nowhere. Then, once they work with you and follow a sensible programme, things fly 🚀️.
Before you consider how to be efficient, ensure that what you do is in total alignment with your ultimate vision.
How you want your ideal day to look?
What do you value? Time? Money? Freedom of location? Satisfaction?
Who is your ideal client?
Is what you’re doing day-to-day taking you there, or are you just firefighting?
Do you have objective metrics to know whether those 2 hours you spent making instagram infographics about protein timing actually did anything for your sales?
Your values inform your goals.
Your goals inform your targets.
Your targets inform your actions.
When you get stuck, or you need guidance on specific actions that get you to your goal, hire. Find somebody who has already achieved that result, and exchange your money for their experience. Every time we have done this, it has levelled up our business in ways that would have cost us years to figure out ourselves.
Why before what.
A productive workspace
‘The computer is the bicycle of the mind‘.
We cannot recommend enough that you:
1. Upgrade your internet speed
2. Buy a Macbook
Again, you are buying time. Yes, we are shameless applesnobs, but using an inferior computer to work on is a false economy. Every micro-delay you experience adds up to hours per week, and opens a window for distraction.
See our full guide to optimising your Mac for maximum productivity here.
Clear your working space
Does your desktop look like this?
What do you think that does to your attention?
The same goes for your physical desk. No stray papers or wires. Phone in a different room.
If you don’t get conscious about how you use technology, it will use you.
It is not a matter of willpower.
It is a matter of the 1000 data engineers on the other side of your news feed hacking your dopamine receptors.
- Phone off
- Disable all notifications
- Install Cold Turkey
A productive headspace
Clear body, clear mind
It is ironic that being an online fitness professional means spending far more time at a desk than your image would suggest. It is easy to get caught up in serving your clients and neglecting your own physical and mental health. Your body is your productivity engine. Remember to take the advice that you would give your own clients:
- No shortcuts
- Avoid alcohol
- Eat ‘clean’
- Periods of deep work and deep focus
- Lift weights
- Deep connection & sex with your partner
- Creative outlet
- Dopamine fast
- Minimise social media – put automatic barriers in place
- Spend time with friends
Capture, review, do
Your workflow is comprised of three processes: Capture, review and do.
All three are essential: if one of these processes fails, you veer off course.
When new tasks come on to your plate, they create an ‘open loop’. This has a psychological cost. Open too many loops without writing them down somewhere, and your mind becomes like a computer with too many tabs open.
Get a to-do-list manager, and establish a reliable and watertight system. You must trust your process to fully relax and focus on the task at hand.
Workingmemory.txt is a concept by Cal Newport: the idea that you should have a physical or digital notepad to capture any stray ideas which arise while you’re working. Note it down, get it out of your mind and continue on the current task.
Your external brain
Next, you need a place for admin documents, article drafts, client templates, and notes. Not a folder full of Microsoft Word documents.
Tag, organise and retrieve your thoughts across different domains of your life with Evernote.
The review process is actually what most people find most difficult, us included. A solid review process builds the discipline of separating planning from execution.
Every night, do a mini review: what have you achieved today? What is still outstanding?
Plan tomorrow today by allocating timeboxes in your calendar:
If your capture and review process are working, then ‘do’ should actually be the easy part. We recommend working in Pomodoros: Blocks of 25 minutes of deep focus, followed by 5 minutes break.
Dedicate days of the week to:
- Creating content
- Coaching clients
- Email, admin, miscellaneous tasks
- Time off
And never the twain shall meet.
Set an achievable, defined end time for your work. Close any open loops, plan tomorrow today and shut down entirely from work. Your mind needs to breathe too. Trying to respond to emails late into the night simply tanks your focus the following day.
- Download Ticktick: Your workflow organiser
- Download Alfred: Your speed upgrade
- Download Evernote: Your external brain
These are the building blocks of your road to a more productive, fulfilling and profitable business. Subscribe to the podcast below to level-up.