Using Time Wisely - Tips for Tackling Your To-Do List That Work

By: Lauren Whitaker, BCN Communications

In the beauty industry, we understand that time is of the essence. If you don't manage your time well and use it wisely, it doesn't matter how good the quality of your work is – you are bound to miss opportunities. Constantly living under the pressure of “last minute” will drive you towards burn out, plus it can have financial and legal implications.

However, practicing effective time management is easier said than done. It can be difficult to stay focused at all times and check off every point on your list. In other words, using your time wisely as a salon owner or manager takes a lot of planning, organization, and discipline. The rewards that come with taking control of your time are worth it. 

So, to make things easier for you, here are some guidelines to help get you started with managing your time successfully:

Set Goals + Prioritize

If increased productivity and efficiency are what you’re seeking, first you need to know what you’re working with. Determining what to work on next based on memory is exhausting and unnecessary. It’s time for a tangible list, either written or technology-based.

Write down all the tasks you must get done and what you would like to finish. Is there anything that you can delegate/outsource to someone else or, perhaps, a few tasks that can be eliminated altogether? Now, where to even begin? Luckily, there are different schools of thought on how best to attack your list. 

Brian Tracy, author of “Eat That Frog”, has an effective approach and an interesting way to look at your to-do list. Tracy writes, “Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.” The idea is to tackle your most important project of the day first thing and keep at it until you’ve finished.

Other experts suggest starting with the smaller tasks first, taking pride in crossing some items off your list and building momentum to keep working towards those larger, more important projects. 

Research & try out a few different methods to see what works best for you. Regardless of the style you choose, you’ll begin to focus on how you’re allocating your time and pick up some new practices in goal-setting to help get more accomplished. 

Establish a Schedule 

“If You Fail to Plan, You are Planning to Fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Another method of using time wisely in salons is to have a specific time allotted each day or week for recurring tasks. In other words, Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 are set aside for placing supply orders, Thursdays at 11:00 for payroll preparation, and so on. This allows you to calendar, set a routine, and focus on just one task at a time. By taking control of your schedule, you can build in some flexible time each day for those unexpected/“firefighting” instances that inevitably occur. 

Having a routine helps those around you respect your time as well. You can be open and available to your employees without having to stop and drop everything for every conversation. If it’s an issue that’s not a nuclear-level emergency (see below in “Empower Your Team”), you can let your team member know that you’ want to give him/her your full attention and then suggest a time slot that’s available just beyond your current task. You complete your project and get to truly communicate with your stylist without interruption– a win/win.

Involve Your Team

As a salon owner or manager, make sure that your employees are also involved in the process of maximizing time usage and the success of the salon. This means sharing the responsibilities that keep the salon functioning properly, which may include duties such as training, routine clean up, inventory, etc. 

Investing in continuing education for your stylists to sharpen skills and increase speed can help to maximize appointment booking without sacrificing quality. Also, training with your salon coordinator team periodically to ensure that they are operating efficiently can be time well spent. 

Empower Your Team

In many cases, a salon team often depends on the owner or manager to solve any issue that arises, even if it’s something they can solve themselves. Empowering your team to make decisions when appropriate is vital to growth. Rather than immediately offering solutions, ask your staff questions instead. 

You’ve hired a smart, capable team who also care about the salon success. Have good conversations & set your expectations. Run through some commonly occurring “emergencies” and confirm that you’re on the same page in terms of solutions. Support their good decisions and give them the independence to help out.

Tags: Salon Owner, Salon Management, Stylists, Time Management, Leadership, Management, Communication

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