If you feel like you…
- Are not enjoying your life
- Want a system
- Never say no
- Are wasting time
And most important…
- Do you spend more time in the business than on the business?
Then you are in the right place. And that is one of many reasons why many good financial advisor businesses sometimes fail.
Many financial advisors are struggling with time management. They are busy, but they don’t feel like they’re making any real progress. They feel like they’re just spinning their wheels and not getting anywhere.
The reasons for this are many. But one of the most common is that they have a business that requires a lot of time without a corresponding increase in income.
This article will go through the seven basics of time management for financial advisors. Stay until the end because I will also give you seven essential tips that will help you create more balance, time and income in your life.
Why is time management important for financial advisors
Time is our most precious resource. And it’s the one thing that can’t be made more of. That’s why time management for financial advisors is so important to ensure they are being as efficient as possible with their time.
Time management can be hard for financial advisors because of the hectic nature of the job and the importance of balancing family, clients, and other aspects of your life. However, you can always improve your time management and live a more balanced life:
1) Create a schedule and follow it religiously- Studies show that people who have a schedule and strictly adhere to it get more done than those who don’t have any structure. You should make sure you’re setting aside enough time each day for all aspects of your business, as well as personal activities outside of work. It’s best to keep a daily planner or calendar with you at all times so you can stay on top of appointments and deadlines, as well as block out important personal events like doctor’s appointments or vacations.
2) Prioritize tasks- The best way to manage your time is to prioritize tasks according to what needs to get done immediately versus those that can wait until later in the week or month. This will help you avoid spending too much time on things that are not urgent or important at this moment, like social media posts. You should also take a look at your list from step one and decide if anything needs to be taken off due
7 steps to improve time management for financial advisors
1- Plan your day
Studies show that people who have a schedule and strictly adhere to it get more done than those who don’t have any structure. You should make sure you’re setting aside enough time each day for all aspects of your business, as well as personal activities outside of work.
It’s best to keep a daily planner or calendar with you at all times so you can stay on top of appointments and deadlines, as well as block out important personal events like doctor’s appointments or vacations.
Then, you need to prioritize tasks according to what needs to get done immediately versus those that can wait until later in the week or month. This will help you avoid spending too much time on things that are not urgent or important at this moment, like social media posts. You should also take a look at your list from step one and decide if anything needs to be taken off due.
If you’ve been struggling with balancing time and routine, you are in the right place. You must understand that time management requires balance and space.
First of all, try getting out of overwhelm and decision fatigue. Then, once you’re there, you should be able to make a list of all the tasks ahead of your day.
The steps you should follow to plan your day are:
- Make your to-do list
- Prioritize it into A, B, and C to-do’s
- Estimate the time to complete each to-do
- Schedule the to-do in your diary
2- Do your ABC’s
- A: things that you must do today
- B: things that you would like to do today
- C: things that are not essential for you to do today
3- Check-in every 15 minutes
To make sure that you are on track, you should ask yourself every 15 minutes:
“Is what I am doing right now taking action towards the intended outcome of my goal?”
Some people go so far as to set the alarm on their watch or computer to keep them on track.
If the answer to the question is no, then;
- Stop doing it
- Find someone else to do it
- Record it on a list to schedule for future action
- Forget it
4- Take 5 to 15 minutes to review your to-do list
They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit.
What if, for the next 21 days, you formed the habit of allowing yourself 5 to 15 minutes at the beginning of your day to review your list?
In this time you should:
- Add new tasks to your list
- Subtract non-priority tasks from it
- Re-prioritize your to-do’s
5- Use a Weekly planner sheet
I find that I like to view my schedule for the entire week.
So once I’ve finished steps a,b,c, and d of point 1 (plan your day), I include all of these tasks into my weekly planner sheet.
If you have no idea what a weekly planner sheet is, I have attached an example page for you to look at; Week At A Glance 24/7 Worksheet.
6- Stack your tasks
Now that time awareness is in your mind, and you are considering all of your priority activities, start to schedule your significant activities into the highest energy, productive parts of your day.
Take a look at all the similar activities and group them into time blocks.
For me, early mornings are my best, and that is when I write my e-newsletter.
E-newsletter falls into the category of writing, so this includes:
- Web site edits and additions
- Product development.
So the days I do my weekly newsletter, I also block some extra time in my schedule and do all of the other tasks above too. That way, I can make the most of this time by focusing my energy on similar activities.
You can start task stacking by grouping similar activities in the same time block. For example, group your e-mails and phone time together.
Another thing you can do is stack together all the tasks that require you to be out of the office. That way, you make the most of your time and don’t have to go in and out several times in the week.
This may sound like something you already do. But believe me, once you wrote all of your to-do’s down and categorized them, you will see how much time you save by stacking tasks together.
Another example of tasks you can stack in this time is “errands + phone meetings (that you can do when you are out of the office).”
The key here is that you will be empowered because you will be in charge of your time.
7- Time block free, buffer & focus days
Some say that Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach invented Free, Buffer & Focus Days.
Others that Wayne Cotton from Cotton Systems invented Free, Buffer & Focus Days.
And some say that Free, Buffer & Focus Days are from the Bible.
Despite its original creator, I’ve been using free, buffer & focus days for years:
- Free Days: time off/not working
- Buffer Days: working on the business, no client appointments
- Focus Days: working in the business, client appointments
Categorizing your days into free, buffer, and focus allows you to have an organized schedule and make the most of your precious time.
Time management for financial advisor steps: final thoughts
To sum up this time management for financial advisors basics, I’ll tell you about a fascinating reading called The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan.
Here is what I learned from The One Thing:
- You should schedule ten consecutive free days in a row two-three times a year.
- Identify that one thing that, once you’ve done it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary. And commit to that one thing (my one thing is to create sustainable systems to fill our speaking calendar)
- When do you get your strongest energy (in the morning, afternoon, or evening)? Then save that time for the one thing you identified in the item above.
- Identify buffer days and stack your business tasks there (not client appointments)
Now that you’ve mastered the basics, I want to share some time management for financial advisors tips with you.
3 time management for financial advisors tips that will help you create more balance, time, and income
1- Eliminate busywork
People are often too busy with busy work, which creates a massive distraction from paying attention and focusing on goal-achieving actions.
Instead of taking action on their specific goal at a specified time, they fill their time with what they justify as routine things versus what is important.
What they are saying is, “I haven’t created the discipline of stopping myself periodically throughout the day and asking if this is the most effective way to spend my time.”
This is the time to get one of those alarms on your watch or computer to keep you on track when you have decided to work on a specific goal at a particular time.
If you get distracted:
Stop doing it
Find someone else to do it
Record it on a list to schedule for future action
2- Make a list of potential distractions
It is that time of the week again, and it is coming time to write my newsletter. The time is scheduled. Well, in advance, I ask myself, “Is there anything that is potentially going to distract me from writing the e-newsletter?
A variation of the above is:
Record it on a list to schedule for future action
Find someone else to do it
Stop doing it
You will find that as you get more and more into the habit of focusing on action steps towards your goals, the minor things will not be that important anymore. I think that it was Tony Robbins that said, “People major in minor things.”
3- Form time boundaries
As a business owner, I am fortunate enough to be in charge of my own time, and it is not that often that I must accommodate the schedule of others.
Many of us are not totally in charge of our own time, and we are accountable to; partners, associates, employers, family members, and friends.
We are often interrupted by other people’s priorities.
The next time that you are interrupted by someone requesting for you to do something;
Ask yourself (not them), is this life or death?
If the answer is yes, then take action. If the answer is no, then I suggest the following:
- Person requesting you to do something: I want your help to do _____________.
- Your reply: I am happy to help you. But right now, I’m in the middle of a project and need 100% concentration to complete it. I cannot stop what I am doing as I have an unavoidable time commitment. What is the deadline that you need your task done by?
You may find that by forming a boundary on your time, the person making a request may realize that you are busy with something more important than what they are asking you to do.
If the person replies with the deadline, then let’s assume they still want your help.
Then, the conversation after you set the boundaries should go like this:
- The person requesting you to do something: I need it by 10 am tomorrow.
- Your reply: Great, I’ll schedule it for tomorrow morning and have it ready for you.
Let them know that while you have been more available in the past, you are committed to your vision and your business plan, so you are looking for their help and understanding if they ask you for help and you say no.
This simple system leaves you with time boundaries and gives you the feeling that you are in charge of your own time versus being a victim.
Want more tips? You can check our video on time management for financial advisors’ tips!
In the following video, you will find detail and further explanation of tips 1,2 and 3.
How to start managing your time as a financial advisor?
The first step is to stop doing things that are unproductive, inefficient, and not in the best interest of your company. It may not be something you want to hear, but it will give you more time for activities that are more productive.
One simple way to determine if something is worth doing or not is whether it can get done in 10 minutes or less. If it can be done in 10 minutes or less, then do it right now.
Another way to determine if something needs your attention is when someone sends an email asking a question. If they sent an email and they have not followed up with a phone call, then you can assume they are waiting for your response.
Don’t let those unanswered emails build up because they will consume your time later on. The number one reason why people struggle with time management is that they have too many unanswered emails piling up in their inboxes.
Take care of any urgent messages that come your way as soon as possible, so you don’t let them pile up and distract you.
Figure out what is really important to you and make sure you take care of those tasks first before everything else so that you don’t feel like you’re always saying no or always feeling like there’s never enough time to complete all of the tasks on your list
You can also check our article on the 4 d’s of time management recently published in this blog