To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Beyond Time Management: Life Management,” by Sue Shekut, in the February 2012 issue. Article summary: Since most massage therapists view massage as a way to help others, our life purpose is often part of our career goals. But the business side of massage and the common practice of juggling multiple workplaces can make additional demands on our energy and time. We must be mindful of our own energy needs. I’d like to share some of my energy-saving and renewing tips with you, my fellow massage therapists.

by Jeffrey A. Goodman

“I am overwhelmed. I have so much to do. I’m not seeing enough clients to pay the bills, yet I don’t have the time to take on any more clients.” Does this sound familiar?

Improper time management is common among wellness practitioners I work with. I have found they’re often creative thinkers who struggle to create an organized calendar. Learning time-management techniques that work for you can change your business and life for the better. Here are some tips to create a more holistic experience of managing your professional and personal time.

1. Your clients don’t own your calendar, you do. Particularly in a service business, it’s easy to forget this and adopt a take-all-comers whenever it is easiest for them approach. But this can rapidly sap energy from you and the service you share with your clients. It’s vitally important to create healthy boundaries within your calendar.

2. Reclaim your calendar and play with it like a Vision Board. Start by creating what I like to call clustered scheduling: specified days of the week and grouped times of day, chosen by you, where you choose to see your clients. “But I don’t know how many clients I need to see and how much time to block off,” is another common remark I hear. Allow me to show you how easy it is to create this clarity.

Know your bottom line budget. How much do you need to make every month to cover your bills? Don’t be nervous. Knowing this number can be empowering and liberating. Once you total all your bills per month and divide that amount by how much you charge per session, you will discover the minimum clients you need to see each month to pay your bills.

For example, if your monthly bills total $3,000 and you charge each client $100, divide 3,000 by 100 to determine you need to see at least 30 clients a month to pay your bills. Anything beyond 30 clients is cause for celebration.

4. Playfully cluster your schedule. Using this example, now that you know you need to see 30 clients a month, you have options on how you schedule. Maybe you choose to see 10 clients a week for three weeks and have the fourth week for play. And you can even pick the days you love to work most and only schedule on those days. I might cluster five appointments on Wednesdays and five appointments on Thursdays and now I have five other days to have fun and enjoy life or work on my other businesses.

Yes, I know what you are thinking, so please remember—you own your calendar, not your clients. I promise you, clients will begin to adjust their schedules to fit yours. In return, you can now make the implicit promise they will get your best performance because you are working on your favorite days and time of day.

Danielle Haines of BodyMind Birth says, “Learning this has been like blending the ‘Power of Attraction’ with your calendar. I can now better focus my energy on these defined time slots and with minimal effort, they begin to fill up! Oh, make sure you schedule clients back-to-back, so they see each other. This lets them know you are busy and in demand and they tend to respect your schedule even more.”

Done properly, time management can create more freedom in your life while adding prosperity to your business. Respect your time. Treat each of these clusters as sacred. It needs to be protected, nourished and shared wisely.

Send an e-mail to Jeffrey A. Goodman at referencing this article and he will share with you, for free, a detailed budget sheet he offers to his clients and students.