January is often a month of good intentions. We have welcomed in the New Year with our resolutions and goals for the year ahead. But how often do we achieve what we set out to do? If you are one of the few that is saying YES then I commend you! If you are like me, and find yourself back on the mouse wheel and well in to the daily grind by February, then read on!

A few years ago I was introduced to a very powerful book on prioritising called ‘Eat That Frog’ (by Brian Tracy). Strange name for a book I hear you say! You are not wrong. But a powerful concept all the same and I highly recommend it to all… so much so that all team members at S.H.E receive a copy as part of their induction. Prioritising is a very important skill to develop and it is often what stands in the way of us being successful.

The expression ‘Eat That Frog’ refers to completing something important, but perhaps difficult or unpleasant! No doubt you don’t want to do it; you are probably procrastinating about it (who wants to eat a frog after all!). But it might be extremely important to eat the frog all the same. This metaphor could refer to a difficult conversation you need to have, or to a phone call you don’t want to make. I am sure you can each thing of a few ‘frogs’ that you are currently avoiding.

The book outlines some wonderful ideas to help us be more productive and achieve better results. I will give you a brief outline of the book and some of the ideas discussed:

1. Be clear on your goals. Write them down. It isn’t a goal unless it is written down (if it is only in your head then chances are it is just a dream). Set a deadline. Make it a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound).

2. Plan your days in advance. Spending 10% of your time planning in advance can save you as much as 90% of your time getting the job done.

3. Focus on the important activities each day. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff. We can waste a lot of time being ‘busy’, but not always being busy doing the right things. Be clear on your main priorities and then develop a list to rank those priorities in order of importance. Focus on your top priorities first.

4. Focus on your key result areas. Do you know what yours are? Depending on your role in the skin centre this could be performing treatments, retailing products, payroll, marketing, training (or maybe all of the above!). Be clear with your manager (or yourself if you are an owner/operator) on your key result areas to ensure your time is effectively used to achieve business goals. That might mean that rebooking and follow up client calls are prioritised over other tasks such as social media!

5. Don’t try and do everything. Just do the important things each day. Consider the question “what is the most valuable use of my time right now?” If you are in treatments throughout the day then the client is always going to be your top priority. But what about the downtime between appointments? How best can you utilise your time to
1) increase service bookings and 2) increase retail sales.

6. Up skill yourself through continuous learning. Sometimes the jobs we procrastinate on the most are the jobs we feel inadequate at. If you are not feeling confident in your rebooking style, or how to retail to a client, then chances are you will procrastinate on these tasks. Ask for help if this is the case! Up skill yourself to increase your confidence, and increase your productivity and results.

7. Break your big goals in to small bite-sized pieces. “A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step”. Perhaps you have set yourself some business or career development goals for 2014? Why not break them down in to smaller goals to help achieve the BIG goal you have set for yourself. Be clear on what you need to achieve on a monthly, weekly, even daily basis to help you get there.

8. Set high expectations of yourself to perform and get the job done. A good manager and team will support you here, but only you can make this happen!

9. Do the hard stuff first, procrastinate on the unimportant tasks. Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing… so long as it is ‘creative procrastination’. As our ‘to-do-lists’ continue to grow with exciting new projects and responsibilities think hard on your ‘stop-doing-list’. We can’t all be superheroes and stopping some activities is really important to allow you time to focus on new ones.

10. Block out time to focus on your tasks/priorities. This is really important in our industry! Often times we are busy with clients and we have to ensure adequate time is blocked out to focus on our ‘key result areas’. As a therapist, this blocked out time could be used to prep for the day ahead: reviewing past client consultations and product prescriptions, developing a treatment plan. Or it could be time blocked out for your follow up calls. Perhaps it is time for training?

11. Develop a sense of urgency. Become a respected member of your team by working at a fast pace to get the job done, and done well.

So, what are you waiting for, stop procrastinating and eat that frog!