As a business coach, I regularly hear clients tell me that they simply don’t have enough time in each day to do what they need to. Whether it’s staff training, business planning, newsletter writing or something else they really don’t want to do, lack of time always seems to be the reason put forward.
We all have the same amount of time to achieve what we want. Presidents and paupers alike enjoy 24 hours in each day, but what determines their level of success is their ability to use that time in the best way possible.
So, here are my top 15 tips to pack more productivity into your day…
Tip 1. Spend the first 15 minutes of every working day planning your day and your time. You may have the urge to jump straight into tasks, but you should resist it. Doing this can lead you into doing the short, but unimportant things, that should wait until the really important things have been accomplished.
Tip 2. Use a diary system. I learned to do this years ago and I still use a diary system today to get things done. It can be a paper diary (my favourite) or an electronic diary – that’s your choice, but once a job is written down, it won’t be forgotten and so you will achieve more of the things you want to achieve. I can pretty much guarantee this one.
Tip 3. Make a to-do list every day (use your diary). Once your list is done it should include all the things you want to achieve that day plus the things left over from the previous day. Prioritise your list so that the most important jobs are highest priority to ensure you don’t spend all your time doing short but unimportant jobs. This is just another form of procrastination.
Tip 4. Remember the Pareto Principle of 80-20. In terms of your daily jobs, it means that only 20% of the things on your daily list are going to be responsible to achieve 80% of your important results. Make sure you keep this in mind when prioritising your jobs.
Tip 5. Get the most unpleasant stuff out of the way first and foremost. These are the things that you must do but are dreading. It’s called ‘eating that frog’ for a good reason, because it’s not something anyone wants to do, but once done, you can get on with your day with a clear mind.
Tip 6. Don’t revisit things twice. Deal with correspondence, emails or other matters when you come upon them. Reading them now and then reading them again in two day’s times has just robbed you of your time. Open it, deal with it and move on.
Tip 7. If you feel tired, have a break. Let your mind rest. You will be far more productive for the rest of the day if you do. If you continue to work on things when your brain is fuzzy, you may need to go back and re-do them later, and that’s simply a waste of your time.
Tip 8. Learn how to say no, nope, nada, not today or not ever if the time used is not beneficial to your goals. People will always try to talk you into taking over some of their workload when they can, but you hold all the power. Smile, say no nicely and walk away.
Tip 9. Delegate. I’m going to say it again – delegate. It’s important. Being the boss does not mean you have to do it all. Your team members have loads of talents apart from doing beauty treatments, so be a clever boss and tap into those extra skills. Whether it’s social media, report generation, team training or display work, find out what your team’s special skills are and use them to add time back into your day.
Tip 10. Stick with one job at a time. Multi-tasking is a fallacy, because when you split your attention between jobs it takes you longer to achieve each one. Unless you plan to read a report while drinking a coffee, avoid multitasking altogether.
Tip 11. Write it all down. When you tell yourself “I’ll remember that”, you are telling yourself a big fat lie. When you write it down, it never gets forgotten, so whether it’s just a great idea that has popped into your head, or a job that needs to be done urgently, write it down. I use the blank pages at the back of my diary to record all my ‘pop-in’ ideas and revisit that list regularly. Sometimes I’m amazed by what I read
Tip 12. Put set time aside each day to deal with the business side of running your salon. Don’t do it in dribs and drabs and don’t be tempted to use your planning time for other things. I like to do this at the beginning of each day when I’m making my to-do list for the day but for you, it may be at another time of day altogether. Look for dead spots that show up regularly in your appointment schedule and put them to good use.
Tip 13. Be aware of wasted time. Whether it’s in your client appointment column or just time spent dilly-dallying, become mentally aware and find something more important to do in that valuable time. (I had a client who used to spend hours each week pulling weeds out of the garden on the footpath outside her clinic, but could never find the time to plan her monthly promotions).
Tip 14. If you need to do things on a regular basis, create a checklist or template to streamline the process. Whether its writing newsletters, client letters or job lists for your team members, template it to save re-doing it next time.
Tip 15. Stop aiming for perfection – it doesn’t exist. Be happy to do your best. Wanting everything to be perfect is a sure-fire way to not get things completed.
And there you have it. My top 15 tips on how to pack more into each day so you don’t have to work longer hours or take work home that will intrude on your family time (or maybe both).
Think about the things you’ve read in this article, and consider how you can implement these ideas into your day.
Maybe you should make a list and prioritise it!
Related module you may be interested in: Productive Time Management
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