How to Put a Final Stop to Paper ‘Data Hoarding’

Paper Data

The blue ones were for my daily reconciliation reports. The green ones were for my weekly employee time sheets. The black ones were for my monthly EFT records, and the orange ones were for my accounts receivable reports. This doesn’t even include the daily tennis court sheets, the personal training logs, the rented locker sheets and the various other reports that I thought I needed to keep a “hard copy” of, to properly operate my business. I guess you could have called me a data hoarder.

Now, as I travel to various clubs, I see this neatly organized, structured scenario played out over and over again. Like me, many of the clubs I visit are not disorganized or out of control — they are just data hoarders.

By definition, a hoarder is a person who accumulates things and hides them away for future use. These tendencies are usually created out of fear, or a need to control one’s environment. Business information hoarding, or data hoarding, is no different. Club owners and managers have a need to control their business by collecting forests of “hard copy” reports — reports that are vital to the operation, but serve no purpose, other than adding color to the book cases.

The reason for this forestation is simple — we are afraid that we will lose our data if we don’t keep a “hard copy.” If you trust your club management software to operate your business, you also need to trust it to save your business’ data. Technology today has not only made the paper schedule obsolete, but it has also allowed you to integrate schedules and reports that are impossible to cross reference from one piece of paper to another. Technology does so much more than manage your business; it also organizes your business and makes the need to create a library of old information obsolete.

Begin with your club’s scheduling system. By using your club management software to control your schedules for personal training, tennis, racquetball courts, tanning, indoor cycling, etc., you will be consolidating two, three or even more, paper calendars into one. It will also allow you to integrate your schedules within your point-of-sale system.

Take a long, hard look and make a list of how many sign-up sheets you have lying around the club, and how many hard copy reports you have been hoarding in your office or behind the front desk. I bet most, or all, of your sign-up sheets can be managed by your health club software, and I know if the software created the report it was also memorized by your software.

If you need help getting started, call your club management software consultant and ask them to walk you through the process. If they can’t, or try and charge you for the assistance, do me a favor and call a new provider. Management software was designed to maximize your efficiency, and it is your software company’s responsibility to help you understand how to unlock its potential.

So, fellow data hoarders — this is your call to action. There is still time to change the way you store your data before an intervention is needed. All you need to do is understand that the technology that runs your business is also the key to your freedom. A freedom from the sensory overload that you have created with the mounds of paper, clipboards, binders and manila folders that you have hoarded over the years.


Eric Claman owned two clubs in Torrington, Connecticut, before selling both and accepting a consulting job at Twin Oaks Software Development in 2011. He can be reached at 866.278.6750 or at, or visit

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