9 Time management ideas for salons and spas

Are you exhausted by being busy? Do you feel out of control? Swamped by the ‘world of too much’?

I’m currently reading Busy by Tony Crabbe – one of my best business reads in a long while and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s not so much about time management as addressing the bigger picture behind our frenzied busy-ness.

Tony Crabbe is a business psychologist who works with multinational companies to help them think, feel and do things better. In Busy he explains how, as human beings, we’re not wired up to deal with all the instant interconnectivity that the internet brings.

Strike a chord?

His opening chapter is “Too busy to read this book?”. Here he gives simple ideas which won’t solve the underlying problem (you need to read the rest of the book for that) but they should help to create some space in your business life.

So without further ado here are his 9 most effective tips from Chapter One to help you feel more in control as your salon hots up this December:


#1. Switch off to make more time to run your salon business

Our brains need downtime. That’s how they’re built.

Our constant ‘grazing’ on the phone, texting and checking our emails and social media not only exhausts us but leads to impaired IQ and concentration. Great word that – ‘grazing’. It sums up exactly what so many of us do.


To avoid this incessant grazing set specific times aside to check your phone and inbox, and give your brain a break from this hyper-connectivity. Obvious: but then the best business advice often is.


#2. Stop task-switching when running your salon

I pride myself on my ability to multi-task to plough through my to-do list.

But Crabbe tells me I’m deluding myself.

Changing from one task to another, ‘hop-scotch’ as Crabbe describes it, is a big no-no. Jumping back and forth between just two tasks can reduce the time taken to complete them by up to 40%.

Far from helping us get ahead at work, multi-tasking slows us up. If you can’t resist the lure of a new message pinging in (that’s me) then switch off the notifier. Focus on the job in hand.

I tried this tip whilst writing this blog. It’s hard to judge if I was any quicker but I certainly feel less harassed and calmer at the end of it. Try it.


#3. Clock watching makes you more time-effective

Think back to the day before you went on holiday. How much salon paperwork did you get through? I bet it was one of your most focused and productive business days for months.

Research shows if we’re aware of time, as we are when the clock’s ticking to that plane leaving, we are considerably more productive.


Crabbe suggests setting alarms every 30 minutes to trick your brain.

I thought I’d give this one a try this afternoon.

Wow. It worked for me. I raced against my laptop pinger in an utterly pleasing way. I thought it would stress me out. But far from it. I just found myself going hell for leather in a surprising calm manner.


#4. Salon meetings eat time

Yes, we all know this one but do we adhere to it?

Do you really need that salon business meeting? Would a phone call do?


Crabbe suggests aiming to kill one meeting a week to reduce that overwhelmed feeling.


#5. Regain control with ‘because’

Crabbe recommends using the word ‘because’ when saying no to a request at work or explaining why you’ll be leaving the salon on time.

Research shows that including ‘because’ in your argument is seen as more rational and acceptable. “Sorry, I can’t let you have next Saturday off because…”


#6. A trick for overcoming salon procrastination

Have a difficult project looming that you’re likely to put off? Crabbe suggests this effective tip.


A few days before you intend to start work on the job, take 20 minutes out and start working on it. Nothing too major, perhaps a mind-map or a bullet point outline. Then put it away. Your sub-conscious will be tricked into starting work and will quietly work its magic. Then when you do start the project for real your thinking and ideas will flow.


#7. Revisit your salon work patterns to create more time

We’re all so busy we’re too busy to think outside the box. Crabbe recommends looking at tasks you do regularly and ask yourself how you can make them quicker, easier or smoother. As he puts it, “How could you take a minute to save hours?”

It might be as simple as putting together a master template for one to one meetings with your salon team. Take it a step further and prepare an employee induction manual so each time someone joins your spa or salon team you save hours going over the same ground. They read it and you have a shorter more productive meeting with them. And it’s all in writing for them to refer back to.

Useful idea that, “How could you take a minute to save hours?” You’ll find free marketing tools and templates here to help you save hours when marketing your hair or beauty business.  And if you’re looking for salon and spa marketing systems you can implement, try this blog post.


#8. Feel less overwhelmed in your salon

Are you guilty of using any downtime to ‘catch up’ on your business emails, post on your salon Facebook or scan the latest news?

We’d be more productive later, and feel less overwhelmed, if we took 10 minutes out away from our salon phones, tablets and screens and took a proper break.

We all really know this one but I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of multitasking whilst eating my lunch.


#9. Smile and feel in control of your time

If we want to feel less overwhelmed and out of control we should smile.

Smiling is proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and release those happy endorphins.

Apparently a single smile stimulates the brain as much as 2000 chocolate bars according to research. Just think of those lovely saved calories – I’m smiling broadly as I write.


Yet two thirds of adults smile less than 20 times a day. As Tony Crabbe points out, “No matter how much stuff you have to do, you may feel less busy if you smile”.

If you don’t try any of his other tips this one surely has got to be worth a go.


More time management tips for hair and beauty business owners

If you’re looking for ideas to make better use of your time and run your hair or beauty business more effectively and profitably try these 5 marketing habits for spa and salon owners. Busy is well worth a read. It’s jargon-free and very readable. It would certainly make my Top 10 business reads for salon owners and managers.

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