If there's anything Luxy Hair is, it's results-oriented. In 8 short years, the company has grown from a simple idea to provide women with high quality, affordable hair extensions to a global, 7 figure business.
From humble beginnings with three co-founders just looking to break even (Mimi Ikonn, Alex Ikonn, and Leyla Naghizada), Luxy Hair has outgrown three offices, expanded to 15 full-time employees (and counting), and serves over a quarter of a million customers in 165 different countries around the world.
From being recently acquired by holding company Beauty Industry Group as one of nine brands under the BIG umbrella to having a ton of new, exciting product launches in the pipeline, the future is looking as bright for Luxy Hair as their Platinum Blonde extensions.
So how does the ever growing team stay aligned internally and productive toward a common goal? Here are 9 productivity tips from the Luxy Hair team members themselves.
1. Make use of project management applications like Trello
Takara says she not only outlines her action items on the Luxy Hair team Trello board, but also has her own personal board for her own individual items. “I have this largely so that I can change the background to the way I like it! It sounds silly, but when you’re excited to look at and be on your own Trello board, it makes you more productive.”
2. Prioritize and complete tasks by importance
Have you ever come in to work with so many important tasks ahead of you that you just don’t know where to start? How about those days when you decide to tackle the easier, smaller tasks first, leaving the most important, difficult tasks unattended to by the end of the day? Everyone is guilty of procrastination from time to time when certain tasks just seem too daunting. Enter the Productivity Planner, designed to help you get more done and beat procrastination during your workday, leaving you feeling proud and accomplished as you leave the office.
The premise is simple, yet effective: tasks are organized each day by most important, secondary importance, and additional items. Each day, you will complete at least one most important task, two secondary importance tasks, and two additional items. By working in short, focussed bursts of 25 minute Pomodoros (yes, like the tomato), each task is assigned a maximum of 5 Pomodoros a day before moving on to the next task, to ensure that you are not wasting your time or diluting your efforts. With a bit of practice, the Pomodoro technique becomes second nature, and becomes a tool to gauge your own productivity for the day.
Digital Marketing Manager Liliya knows all about prioritizing big tasks into manageable pieces—after all, she’s responsible for launching new products online, managing advertising efforts, and improving the customer’s journey online overall.
“The number one productivity tip I’ve learned at Luxy Hair is prioritizing,” she says. “That’s why I love using my Productivity Planner so much. With so many things going on consistently, prioritizing is the one thing that you must absolutely do. If you don’t prioritize, you risk doing all the 'fun' and 'easier' things first, leaving the harder and more complex tasks that require thought behind.”
For General Manager Lulu, the Productivity Planner is key to starting off her work day on the right foot not only to remind her to do the most important task of the day first, but to help her track her time all day. “What I oversee is very broad so I can’t spend too much time on one item otherwise I’ll miss something else,” Lulu says. “Limiting a task to 1–3 Pomodoros has helped increase my efficiency dramatically so I can move on to the next thing.”
In fact, Luxy Hair is so serious about prioritizing that all new employees receive a free Productivity Planner on their first day.
3. Keep your email inbox clean and organized
It’s easy to let emails pile up when you’re focussing on those action items on Trello and prioritized tasks in the Productivity Planner, but keeping your email inbox neat and orderly plays a big part in overall productivity. All Luxy Hair team members use Gmail, as it allows for easy organization, has a smooth interface, and features options to add apps like Boomerang for follow up reminders, or Mailtrack to see when a recipient has opened an email. By using labels and categories, emails can also be organized automatically into their respective folders for you to then prioritize by importance. We weren’t kidding, we love prioritizing!
Influencer Manager Rachel receives hundreds of emails throughout the week from prospective influencers, agencies, managers, and freelancers, which can pile up fast. “Emails can definitely get overwhelming if you don’t have a game plan,” she says.
Rachel starts the day by skimming through her inbox, allowing her to quickly see what the most time-sensitive or urgent emails to attend to are.
“I then respond based on urgency, as opposed to when they were received. I do this by keeping all priority or time-sensitive emails in my inbox for immediate answering and I star the rest and move them to their specific category-folder to get to them after.”
4. The 80/20 rule
Steve Jobs once said, “real artists ship," and you will likely hear team members uttering this quote. Jobs was referring to the fact that many people have ideas, but the truly special ones actually act on them or 'ship; them. You could spend two years coming up with the perfect plan for the perfect product but without 'shipping' it or putting something out there, no matter how imperfect, all your efforts are a missed opportunity.
In the same way, at Luxy Hair, done is always better than perfect. In such fast-paced environment, time management skills are crucial and there simply isn’t time for hyper-perfectionism.
Digital Marketing Manager Liliya says the 80/20 rule is very important in her role. “There are so many things you could potentially do in a business and it’s just not possible to get to everything, she says. “The key is to focus on tasks that can lead the maximum yield for the time and resources you have available.”
5. Flow...also known as getting in the zone
Based on a principle by positive psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, Flow is known as a state of total immersion in an activity, or more casually known as being 'in the zone.' When you are in Flow, be it at work or at home, all of your focus and enjoyment is poured into the activity at the time. Have you ever been so immersed in your work that hours go by without you even noticing? That’s Flow.
According to Csíkszentmihályi, the amount of time one spends in Flow leads to a more successful and happy life. The more time you spend in Flow at work, the better your performance and the more positive you feel overall. Flow can lead to other positive feelings like higher levels of focus, more confidence in one’s ability, a sense of serenity, and motivation from within. Knowing this, it’s no wonder Luxy Hair encourages Flow. In fact, when a team member is clearly in Flow, they are encouraged to turn all laptop notifications off to Do Not Disturb and answer any discussion items or questions once they are out of the zone.
“You can always address urgent emails, messages, and other things that come on throughout the day in between Pomodoros. Those things can wait 20 minutes and don’t need to disrupt your flow,” says Lulu.
Luxy Hair may just be one of most positive and productive offices around, thanks in part to Flow. Of course, not everyone can experience Flow at all times. We’re only human, after all.
Liliya says even she sometimes experiences a slump and can’t seem to get in Flow, but there’s always tomorrow. “The most important thing is to organize your day very clearly and prioritize your tasks, and then tackle them one by one, with the highest priority first. If you don’t get to them all, that’s fine—tomorrow is a new day.”
6. Write. Everything. Down
This is such a simple yet effective concept, that many people don’t take advantage of, not only at work, but in life. How many times have you thought of that one grocery item you really needed, promising to remember once you got to the store, but forgot the item since it wasn't on your list? Similarly, ideas and action items will bounce around your head and it’s easy for them to get lost if they don’t have a home. Luxy Hair team members utilize Trello to keep a list of Pipeline items, where any sudden ideas go for later. If you’re away from your computer, try an app like Wunderlist where you can keep track of ideas when you’re on the go.
“Luxy Hair has definitely taught me the value in organizing your thoughts,” says Customer Experience Specialist and Editorial Coordinator, Azra. “Once you start to gain more responsibility in the workplace, it’s impossible to remember every little action item or improvement you think of. If you don’t get into the habit of writing things down, you won’t be as productive as you could be and bright ideas will fall to the wayside. Quickly writing down my thoughts in my personal Trello board or Productivity Planner as they come up helps keep my mind clear and focused on the task at hand.”
7. Convert discussions into action items
Similar to the above, important or even impromptu discussions can result in nothing if action items are not clearly defined right away and assigned. At every meeting, a note taker is delegated to convert discussions into action items on Trello, holding team members accountable and propelling new initiatives forward. Then, at the end of the week, team members plan their new week, prioritizing these actions items.
8. Free up mornings, have meetings in the afternoon
Mornings are considered the most productive time of the the day at Luxy Hair. In fact, many executives tout 4 a.m. as their most productive hour of the day. While the Luxy Hair office won’t be buzzing until at least 9 a.m., the premise still stands that mornings are a time for zero distractions and the perfect time to get in Flow. That’s why music playing in the office in the morning is usually calm and focussed, and meetings are scheduled for the afternoon, including daily check-ins. You will usually see team members wearing noise cancelling headphones in the mornings to further reduce distractions, with more light-hearted, open conversation and discussion reserved for the afternoons.
9. Speak in silence with Slack
The Luxy Hair office is an open concept office, which for some is the perfect setting for collaboration, while for others, is the perfect setting for distractions. To mitigate this, Luxy Hair uses a team Slack (instant messaging) channel where team members can hold quick discussions, ask questions, share interesting news and crack jokes, all in silence. Work at Luxy Hair for a few weeks and you will soon develop the uncanny ability to hold in your laughter, while sharing a joke with someone across the room!
“Even though our office is open-concept, we usually respect each other’s workflow and Slack each other vs. walking up to somebody. This allows that person to respond when they are out of a Pomodoro,” says Lulu.
Slack also accommodates different channels so that different departments can hold their own internal discussions on Slack. Any customer service issues that arise are brought up immediately in the customer service channel, while marketing issues are brought up in a separate channel. With only the appropriate team members in each channel, discussions are kept tight, solutions are created quickly, and members are held accountable.
Luxy Hair is always evolving and trying new ways to boost productivity, however, by following these nine tips, you too can take your productivity to a new level.
Are you a part of a thriving business? Do you have any other productivity tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.