Aaah yes, one of the things that most service-based businesses struggle with: time. Or rather, not enough of it. Or maybe it’s not enough time management?

If you’re a service provider who feels like you’re always one step behind on getting organized, believe me, you are not alone. 

On a regular basis, I started making lists to help me sort through the 500 thoughts that would run through my mind throughout the day. But when it comes to the busy season (hello, holiday bookings), trying to tackle the day-to-day can become a bit overwhelming even if you’re a list devotee like me. 

Have you ever felt like you are the king or queen of multitasking, but then soon realize you actually never get anything done? This was me!  So, I decided to simplify my process and create something that would both hold me accountable and create less stress.

Here are my six best tips for balancing work and life even during your salon’s (or fitness studio or massage therapy businesses’…) busy season: 

1. At the beginning of every week, make a list of the things that you want to get done. 

But I’m not talking about just any list. This is a three-tier list, and it’s all about prioritizing. On the same sheet of paper, notebook, or your phone the list is divided into these categories:

  1. Must finish today. 
  2. Can be done mid-week. 
  3. Can be pushed to next week. 

This process really helps me sort out not only my feelings (“What’s most important to me today?”), but also lays it out in a way that would reduce some stress. 

Hang your list in your office, and check off as you go! And yes, a printed list — I found that If I kept it in my phone, I would forget about it. There is also something so satisfying about it as well. 

2. Delegate 

If you run a salon or team of stylists, artistss, etc., sharing some of the duties is key. 

Put someone in charge of doing inventory every month. If you don’t have a manager, maybe you have an assistant or a receptionist who can help. They can really help take some of the stress off of you, and it will keep them busy as well. If you are a business that has a hefty amount of inventory, this can be such a time-consuming task. I recommend you train your receptionist or assistant to handle inventory every single month. You want to make sure that you are making time for the things that other people cannot do. Think of this as a friendly reminder: It’s OK to ask for help! 

3. Tackle one task at a time

This is a big one. Trying to complete 10 tasks at once is totally overwhelming. Remember that list I had you create in tip #1? Use it to take on those tasks one at a time. I often feel like when we start to do too many things, we sacrifice the quality of what we are trying to do. 

4. Stop procrastinating

Ugh, this is a tough one. If you’re anything like me, you may put off things until the last minute. (Only things that may not excite you, of course.) But, this can become a source of a lot of stress especially during peak season for service-based businesses. That’s why I actually recommend doing what you like the least first. Sounds weird, I know. But once you finish it, and you can check it off the list, you will feel so much better.  Plus, you’ll be less likely to run up against the deadline or rush through at the last minute. 

5. Dedicate one day or carve out a few hours to work ON the business

This is huge! As a service provider and entrepreneur, working on your business is the most important thing — but it’s also the easiest to set aside. If you find yourself in the trenches constantly and unable able to focus on actually growing your business, you may start to fall behind. During this dedicated day (or at least a few hours!), you can start to create marketing strategies, plan new guest promotions, set up those follow-up emails through Schedulicity, and tweak some of your systems. 

6. Be consistent

Once you put these techniques in place or set up times to work on the business, commit to keeping it consistent. You don’t need to do everything. Pick a few of these ideas and see what works best for you and your business. If you start to implement a list system and it doesn’t work for you, scratch it off the list. But if things are working great and you have a good rhythm, stick with it. It usually takes about 21 days to create a habit. And this is a habit you want to create. 

About the Author: Nina Tulio is a former salon owner and stylist that has been in the industry for 23 years. She now owns a consulting business and travels the country educating salon owners and stylists on how to grow a successful, sustainable business.