10 ways for small business owners to beat procrastination
Jun 20, 2020
The beauty industry professionals, hairstylists, barbers, nail technicians, lash artists, spa technicians, make up artists and all others, love being creative. Artistry, originality, and producing beauty is where their passion lies and what independent professionals in the beauty industry are most excited about. But as a small business owner, you cannot do only the things you love doing. There is another side of the business, dealing with the business’ financial aspects, the admin work, for example, and other tasks at the salon. These additional tasks may not be as attractive for creative people, so procrastination is how they are being dealt with.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the intentional delay or avoidance of a task we should be doing now. A task we have a deadline for. And pretty much all of us mortals procrastinate. It’s somehow in our human DNA to avoid doing things we don’t really like, or those we’re afraid of, or that we feel overwhelmed to deal with. Anything that seems overwhelming falls into the “I’ll do it later,” procrastination bin.
Why do you procrastinate?
Many small business owners procrastinate because they just feel overwhelmed. Being your own boss has advantages, but it also takes its toll as you need to do everything related to your small business. Sometimes people procrastinate because they are afraid of failing. This is true even for small business owners and the want-to-be-entrepreneurs. Many dreams were crushed or derailed by the procrastinating little villain. Some people would rather avoid something for eternity instead of tackling it with determination and courage. They just cannot face the possibility of failure. Therefore, procrastination becomes a part of life, increasing fatigue and stress levels in the background.
Beauty industry professionals tend to postpone and avoid less creative tasks sometimes. Those tasks still need to be done, but they keep piling up, as they are not attractive and exciting enough to be dealt with promptly. Then stress invites itself in. Do you know why? Having those things in mind, without tackling them, is like having a horsefly buzzing around your head and making noise continuously. Did you ever have one of those crazy horse flies following you on the hike? They are noisy and nasty little creatures. Plus, they bite from time to time.
Some other independent professionals procrastinate because they feel they work best under pressure. This way, they are making themselves go through a lot of stress constantly. Though this works for some, the human body is not designed to be constantly under stress and on an alert mode. As the people in this category get older, they, unfortunately, might reap the fruits of continually being under pressure and doing things last minute. Stress generates several health issues which the wise small business owner can and should avoid at all costs.
Why is procrastination bad for you?
First of all, procrastination affects your business’ success. When you’re procrastinating, you’re missing opportunities. Sometimes opportunities present themselves, but you’re not quick enough to attract them. There might be a big holiday marketing campaign, which would have given your salon a lot of advertising and market recognition if you would have stopped and planned.
Secondly, mistakes can occur when you wait until the very last moment to deal with something important. Sometimes essential things get left out for the longest time, and then you need to deal with it in a matter of minutes. Does that sound familiar? Avoiding a task never solves it. Think about a decision which you avoided or delayed for the longest time, just to have to deal with it in very little time, then realize you’ve made a mistake because you didn’t take the time to put the effort needed into it. Even a middle school kid who has a math test for which he didn’t study, understands this.
Thirdly, another negative of procrastinating is that it can give you a bad reputation. You don’t want to be that hairstylist who doesn’t pay the suppliers on time, or who always promises to remodel the salon, but she/he never actually does it. A fitness trainer who keeps talking about building up an online presence to build a personal brand, but never really does anything about it, is not a professional who keeps his word. A bed rep will eventually affect the way you interact with your clients and providers.
Overcoming procrastination is not easy, but it’s possible. Oh, yes!
Ten keys for overcoming procrastination as a small business owner:
1. Admit you’re procrastinating and identify your excuses.
It takes honesty and humbleness. Recognizing you’re a chronic procrastinator is not the most thrilling compliment. As you decide to do something to change it, the starting point is to see it with your own eyes. Admit it and start identifying your excuses. Some might be noble, and others might be lame. No matter how thrilling they are, all excuses need to get out of the way.
2. Turn off social media and similar distractions.
Procrastinators usually have a hard time focusing on a task because of too many distractions. You’re working in a salon, surrounded by people, noise, and social media messages all day long. You have to decide to turn off your internet or your phone, to silence all these external factors, and get some silence in your heart to think about important things. Can you plan some moments of total silence amid a busy life, so that you can hear yourself? Peace and stillness in your being will help you identify and organize the things you’re putting off doing.
3. Make a list.
Write down those tasks you’re avoiding. Now that you’ve turned off your outside distractions, what are you procrastinating about? Is it updating your salon website, or putting in place that marketing campaign you kept thinking about but never got to the planning and implementing stage? Write down everything that comes to mind. Then arrange the tasks according to their importance and urgency. Important and urgent should be done first. Write down the priority order of how you plan to deal with those tasks starting today.
4. Eat that task in small bites.
If it’s a big task, don’t aim to finish it all at once. Decide to work on it by pieces. Plan to begin with half an hour. Sometimes all it takes to do something is to start it. You know the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?”. You can’t swallow it all at once, but having it in small bites will do the trick. If the project takes three weeks, for example, be realistic about it. Don’t think you can’t finish it in two days. But find a plan to stay motivated every day of the three weeks, keeping consistent with your goal of completing the task.
5. Do the hardest task first.
This one is hard but very rewarding. Have you heard about “Grab the bull by the horns?” It is the right expression, meaning that whatever is the most difficult or scary task you have to do, you should start with that one. Solve the problem confidently and without further delay. You don’t allow yourself to spend prime time on little additional tasks, but deal with the most challenging task first.
6. Get enough sleep and eat healthy so that you’re not exhausted.
Salon work is hard. Being on your feet all day long is not as simple as it looks to your clients. If only they knew that being a hairstylist is not as easy and glamorous as it looks like. Of course, you’re a champ and making it look super easy. But the long hours and hard work are trying to leave their mark. To fight being exhausted, make sure you get enough sleep every night. Healthy eating habits and exercising will also contribute to high energy levels.
7. Set yourself a sooner deadline.
That’s a good idea to keep yourself on a schedule. If you need to finish a project by the end of the week, set your target for Thursday. It will keep you motivated and on target, helping you avoid procrastination. This way, worst comes to worst, you will still have another day to finish your project. It’s kind of the same principle as for people who have a problem with being punctual. In their attempt to get better at it, their watches will be set 5-10 minutes early to help them avoid being late.
8. Review your SMART goals.
Remember our last week’s article about SMART goals for hair salons, barbershops, beauty salons, spas, and fitness training centers. Whether you’re a salon owner, a hairstylist, barber, fitness trainer, gym owner, massage therapist, pet groomer, lash artist, nail tech, or any other independent professional, this is for you. Reviewing your SMART goals will help you reach your targets, and correct problems, and get back on track.
9. Use an online scheduling app for the tasks you don’t like.
Appointfix scheduling app and online appointment book can help with those tasks you don’t like doing. Things like keeping your clients informed about their appointments. You won’t have to send text messages to your clients manually, reminding them about the upcoming appointments. Appointfix got your back! Your clients can book online, so you won’t have to answer texts and phone calls while working so hard. Your clients can book themselves online on your website, Facebook, or Instagram. What can be easier for you than online booking? Let technology help you. You can stop avoiding those things you don’t like (like managing appointments and clients), and focus on doing the creative work you love. Appointfix online scheduling app was created to help small business owners like you run their businesses smoother. Download it now and enjoy more free time!
10. Pat yourself on the shoulder.
Whenever you do something difficult, and you stay with it as long as needed to finish it, you deserve a little reward. When you complete the task, you were avoiding, or the small project you kept postponing, give yourself a pat on the back and a little prize. It can be something like watching a movie, if you finish the hard task, or having a nice cup of ice cream, ice chai latte, or a bubble bath. Be honest and kind to yourself and celebrate your little victories.
As a nasty, noisy horse fly, procrastination can bite you and affect your small business if you’re not paying attention. If you’re a perfectionist, remember that even small wins should be celebrated when it comes to procrastination. The goal is that you make progress. We’ll never reach perfection, but each of us can be a better version of ourselves tomorrow than we are today.
Ending this article with one of the most inspirational speeches you’ll ever hear. It’s about the wisdom of a third-grade drop out father. We’re celebrating Father’s Day this weekend, and this video can teach us all some precious lessons about not procrastinating, as well as about how to combine knowledge and wisdom, to be the best version of ourselves. Happy Father’s Day, and here’s to the most wonderful small business owners, Appointfix users, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and amazing human beings. For whatever you strive, may you always thrive!