A nail tech’s schedule is ruled by appointment-making and appointment-breaking. Whether you accept walk-ins or not, time management (in and out of the salon) is key. Sara Barba of XOXOrganizing (www.xoxorganizing.com) teaches business owners how to use a calendar like a personal assistant. “Consider yourself someone who never cancels an appointment. If you think this way, you might be less likely to over-book yourself,” says Barba. Here are her tips for effectively managing your time:
1. Group like-tasks together. Start with the one you can finish the quickest. For example, send and reply to your emails in one sitting.
2. If you own a business, first complete the tasks that will help you earn a paycheck.
3. Don’t force a digital calendar on yourself. Use the tools that make you feel the most comfortable so you’ll continue to use your calendar.
4. Give yourself a time limit to browse social media each day. You’re already doing it anyway, so at least give yourself permission in your daily routine so you can enjoy time to yourself. Another option is rewarding yourself at the end of three completed tasks. For example, give yourself five minutes to browse Instagram if you finish cleaning up your station in 15 minutes or less.
5. When scheduling a fun activity like a date night, ask yourself what you need to do to prepare (buy a new dress, hire a babysitter, do your own nails, etc.) and plan for those tasks.
6. If possible, avoid making appointments two days before and two days after a trip or big event. You need the extra time to get your life back in order.
7. If you live in a heavily populated area of town, be sure you pad your time for traffic.
8. Don’t respond to text messages immediately. Only respond when you have time and if you have your calendar handy.
9. Empty your purse every night, especially if you’re a business owner. Those receipts are like gold and you don’t want them to get lost.
10. Organize your closet with your uniform or work-appropriate attire together so you know what you have and can always find it.
We asked nail techs to share their time management hacks with us. Here are their tips for staying on track:
> “I always give myself a 15-minute cushion on every appointment. This allows for late clients, unscheduled artwork, potty breaks, maybe a quick snack or cup of tea, and keeps me and other clients on a true schedule.”
Jeanette Joswick, Posare Salon, Las Vegas
> “I lay everything out that I need, in the order I need it. That allows me to keep the appointment on time and I never have to go searching in my bag.”
Jasmine Smith, Laurel, Md.
> “Always prepare for the worst case scenario. Keep a tidy, organized work station. Use products that will cut down on time so you can focus on your client and treat them like your one and only.”
Diane Diaz, Canvas Nail Studio, Chicago
> “I always set a timer when I am waiting on the client’s polish to dry. When you are talking, time can pass quickly and you can run behind on your appointments. I also have a polish removal station set up for the client to take off her own regular polish. One client will be taking off her polish and can visit with the client who’s sitting waiting on her polish to dry. I use this time to wash implements and clean the area.”
Vickie Meador, European Body Wraps, Olive Branch, Miss.
> “I have everything organized and at arm’s length so I know I’ll always be ready to grab whatever I need and won’t be making anyone wait on me.”
Jessica Martine, Manassas, Va.