Sticking to Good Habits in Your Massage Business

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.  -Will Durant

In our various research and attempts to be more productive and efficient in our work, Michael and I have both learned that it all comes down to habits.

Business excellence comes from following the proper steps, over and over again, to properly promote and manage our businesses.

We've written extensively about productivity, time management and working smarter. But none of our tips matter if you can't make them into real, functioning habits.

But how do we make change, institute new habits and ensure success? 

Mostly I think it's about knowing yourself, which is why I'm really sold on Gretchen Rubin's writing (and podcast) about the Four Tendencies. It describes how people tend to respond to both outer expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution).

Rubin classifies 4 types:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

You may already know where you fall, just from the description, but you can take the quiz here.

I'm not a big fan of placing ourselves into little boxes, but I do love that once I identified my 'type' I saw some patterns, and it's helped me.

Upholders typically don't need many tricks to get things done, they are motivated by fulfillment. But they should be mindful to schedule time to rest and occasionally reexamine their goals.

Questioners may need to spend time thinking through the reasons for working on a new habit. Write it down, think through the process and be very clear about the outcome. "If I scan and upload all my client charts, I can get rid of this ugly file cabinet in my office."

Rebels are the least common. They break the rules and think outside the box. These can be great things, but can also be a little self destructive as small business owners. Focusing on why they want to be The Boss of You, free from the shackles of employment, may help a rebel stay on course and get stuff done.

I'm an Obliger (with just a hint of questioner). That's why I never managed to build this whole online learning center by myself. It wasn't until I partnered with Michael and became accountable to him that I started taking deadlines seriously.

It's also why I'm great at managing a shared workspace, but not so great at accomplishing the little tasks in my massage practice. Other people are counting on me to keep the office clean and well-managed. But I'm the only person nagging me (and procrastinating) cleaning out my client charts.

If I make myself accountable to someone else, the task will get completed. For example, I planned for my niece to help me with some light office renovations. Because she was on the schedule and counting on earning a few bucks, I was held accountable, and it happened.

I don't think identifying your type is the end-all-be-all for making change, but it can be a good starting point if you're stuck!

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