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Time Management Strategies to Optimize Your Day

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No one said it better than Gandalf the Grey, a character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Using time wisely — also known as time management — is a key ingredient to success, for both club operators and Lord of the Rings characters.

“Time management and productivity are not a choice — they are a must,” said Amber Martinez, the vice president of sales at Crunch Franchising. “People rely on me, and I have a responsibility to deliver.”

For Martinez, weekly success starts with planning during the previous weekend. “Taking some time on Sunday evenings to plan out my week ahead is helpful,” she said. “After the weekend rush has settled, I sit down with my computer, my calendar and my planner. I look at the week ahead objectively and set myself up for success, tackling my highest priorities first. What are the things I have to do, who and what needs my attention most, and where will I make the biggest impact?”

Once the week starts, it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of meetings and operational tasks. To help effectively prioritize tasks that need her time the most, Martinez follows two rules: the “sunset rule” and the “one-minute reply” rule.

“I took on the sunset rule after learning about it in a leadership meeting with one of our franchise partners,” explained Martinez. “People deserve and expect a more immediate response by text, email or call by the end of the day — before the sun sets — even if that response is simply to let them know I’m working on an answer. This rule keeps me organized, on task and providing a level of service I feel good about.”

The one-minute rule encourages even prompter responses and actions. “If something comes through and it doesn’t require a lot of effort or research to reply, take one-minute and reply now,” said Martinez.

In addition to adopting better response habits, putting together a detailed list on daily, weekly and monthly tasks is another effective time management strategy.

“I’m still pretty old school and love to make prioritized lists — handwritten lists — where I can cross off my accomplishments,” said Martinez. “This helps keep me on track and motivated.”

And just like the daily tasks of running a club become seemingly endless, a gigantic to-do list that spans different productivity apps can be equally overwhelming. “One thing to be mindful of is to not get overwhelmed by the totality of the list,” shared Martinez. “Take the task that is in front of you, complete it and move forward.”

Efficiently organizing your tasks and schedules into one easy-to-access place will also improve your time management skills. “It’s also helpful to find the right tools,” said Martinez. “I don’t suggest downloading 10 time management and productivity apps — that would not be productive.”

However you choose to more effectively manage your time — through new apps, a sunset rule or a reasonably-sized to-do list — finding the right methods that fit your habits and personality will boost your daily productivity.

“Making time for everything I love, and being engaged and in the moment, allows me to be better at everything I do,” said Martinez. “When I am organized, efficient and effective, I am able to confidently and comfortably move through my day.”

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