Welcome to the first installment of our blog miniseries: Time Management Essentials for Busy Professionals. Join us as we review essential tips, techniques, and methods for saving time, increasing productivity, and improving customer service for your business.
We get it: you have a lot on your plate. You have to keep track of your clients and their needs, stay on top of keeping your facility and equipment clean, make sure that you don’t double-book anyone, and much more. Do you ever feel as though you don’t have enough hours in the day to get it all done?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. However, if you’re like most people you actually have a lot more free time than you think. While running a business and keeping clients happy does take a large amount of time, you can streamline your day, decrease your stress levels, and get everything done in less time if you use a few deceptively simple time management tricks.
Plan your week in one day
How many times have you woken up in the morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and a granola bar, and thought on your way to work, “What do I have to do today? What am I missing?” This happens to all of us when we don’t properly plan ahead, and it can be a huge time-waster. When you get to the salon or when you begin packing up your table and accessories to go do house calls for your clients, you can waste a lot of time thinking, “What do I need to do this morning? Is there a client I’m forgetting? What do I need to bring with me for this appointment?” And, if you don’t remember in time, you can find yourself in need of equipment and accessories that you’ve left at home or at the salon. Sounds like a headache, right? Fortunately, it’s a very avoidable headache.
Set aside some time on Sundays or on Monday mornings to plan out your entire week. At first, this may take 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how many clients you have and what you need to plan for, but it will definitely save you time throughout the week.
Block off your time
Take this time to map out what you have planned for each day. You can use a daily planner, a calendar, your phone, or a spreadsheet—but whatever you land on, be sure it’s a format that works well for you. If you have trouble entering the data for the week, you’re going to have difficulty keeping this habit up.
As you plan your week, start by blocking off the time that you already know you’ll be at the salon or with clients. Bracket those blocks with the time you’ll need to commute to your salon or your clients’ sites. Then look at any special equipment or accessories that you’ll need to bring with you for each client. List these in their time slots.
With this done, you’ll know what you need to take with you or to make sure that you have at the salon each day of the week. Next you’ll plan out time to take inventory of your supplies and other work you’ll need to do to maintain your business.
Plan maintenance, inventory, etc.
Look at the gaps in your schedule when you do not have clients scheduled and you aren’t on the road or spending time with your family (which you should block off time for!) Schedule a day to inventory your supplies, a time to go pick up anything you can get locally, and a time to make orders for new supplies through your distributors. Add these as blocks of time into your schedule.
Finally, add in other incidental tasks, and you’ll have your entire week planned out. Each day, instead of worrying about what you have to get done and what you need, you’ll be able to consult your schedule. It will all be there for you, and you’ll have everything you need to give your clients the care and service they want and need.