It seems there’s never enough time in the day. Yet, we all get the same 24 hours. Why do some people achieve much more in a day than others? The answer is powerful time management – the skill that lets you work smarter, not harder.
Time is highly elastic. In an emergency you always find time, don’t you? When you tell others you’re too busy, you actually mean something else. I don’t want to do it. It’s not my priority.
As an owner of a salon, spa or beauty clinic, you need to find at least 4 hours each week to work uninterrupted on your business. Use these powerful time management tips and you’ll find all the time you need – pronto.
1. Understand time management
When you manage your time wisely, you reduce stress and improve your quality of life. Time management isn’t about being more efficient or squeezing a few extra minutes into your diary here and there. It’s about cleaning up your schedule, minimising, prioritising, and working out what’s important – and what’s not.
Powerful time management has a simple, central principle: stop doing stupid things.
2. Know how you spend your time
For one week, track your time to identify how you’re using the hours you have. Write down ALL your activities from Monday to Sunday. Total up the time you spent on various tasks and activities for that week. You might find some surprises, like double-digit hours spent watching TV.
3. Set your priorities
Now comes the challenging part: you get to prioritise your own schedule, using the 80–20 rule. Choose the 20% of tasks (four to eight) that give you 80% of your results, your fulfilment in life, make you happiest and bring you the most joy. These tasks or activities need to be entered first in your schedule each week. Add four hours working on your business to the priorities plus business-free downtime to recharge your batteries.
Now, what’s left on your list? Review each item critically. What does it add into my life? Does it produce satisfaction, joy, happiness, love or financial success? Is it just a distraction? Is it wasting my time? Why am I doing it? You’ll have all sorts of excuses for doing what you do. Maybe you’ve just always done it or you fear someone will reject you if you stop. Be honest with yourself. Pull yourself back from commitments that don’t line up to your highest values. Drop them, forget them, move on.
Imagine only doing the few things that contribute to what you really want your life to be about. That’s the schedule to aim for. It’s not easy – but the rewards are well worth your effort.
4. Use time management tools
Using a personal planning tool will improve your productivity. You have many to choose from: electronic planners, pocket diaries, calendars, computer programs, wall charts and notebooks. Write down your tasks and free your mind to focus on your priorities. The key is to discover the one planning tool that works for you, then use it, use it, use it.
5. Plan your week ahead
Start with an empty schedule. Add your priorities in your weekly calendar – deadline items first, followed by important items, then non-urgent tasks. Identify the times of day when you feel more focused and energised. Plan to complete your most important, complex or heavy tasks then. Limit scheduled time to about three quarters of your day, leaving time over for creative activities such as planning, dreaming, thinking, and reading … or just doing nothing.
6. Know what can get in your way
Procrastination is usually a direct result of poor time management. You may be putting off tasks, especially those that seem overwhelming or unpleasant. Try breaking down the task into smaller, do-able steps. Collecting materials or organising your notes can be an easy way into a bigger task.
Multitasking is a myth to make overly scheduled and stressed out people feel productive and efficient. You actually lose time when switching from one task to another. Focus on doing one thing at a time.
Create a “Do Not Disturb” zone. Close the door, put up a sign. Turn off your phone ringer and email notifications. Use auto-responder and voice message.
Never hesitate to take a break. Take a walk, go to the gym, get some fresh air. A moment of clarity can make all the difference.
Block time for reading and responding to e-mails and stop checking Facebook every 20 minutes. Stop letting pop-up notifications rule your world. Set aside times of the day to receive calls, check your emails and social media. Choose strategically good times like before starting work, right after lunch, and late afternoon. Let others know when you’re available.
Eisenhower, 34th President of the US, had a reputation as a formidable manager and leader. He said: “There are two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Apparently, he organised his workload and priorities based on this principle.
You can be a formidable time manager, too. You just need to change your mindset. Every single task you allow into your schedule is your choice. Take responsibility for it. No more whinging about being too busy – ever. Everything you do, every minute you spend is your choice. You’re in control.
There is always time for what matters. When you focus on what matters you can build the life you want in the time you’ve got.
Kai Schnitzler is a Business Coach for the hair, beauty, salon and spa space at The ZING Project. For more wisdom email me at email@example.com.