We all have 24 hours in a day -- so why do some people seem so much more productive?
It's all about your time management skills and knowing how to maximize the time you have available to work both in and on your business. The good news is that financial advisors can learn to better structure their time. You can make room in your days and weeks for all your clients, projects, business tasks, networking, continuing education and more that you want to devote your attention to.
Financial advisors can take action to create effective schedules and do more with their days. Start with these tips from three XYPN advisors (including our co-founder) to better your time management.
Create Schedules that Work for You
XY Planning Network co-founder Alan Moore stresses the importance of putting not just professional appointments and reminders on you calendar, but scheduling out events and activities for your personal life too. "This should include working out, time with kids, family dinners, date night, day off, etc. This forces you to get everything done since you will have those fun activities already scheduled."
Kate also suggests building your work day around your natural energy levels. When are you most creative? Most productive? If you feel creative in the morning but productive at night, work on blog posts and marketing materials in the AM and your tedious to-do list in PM hours.
She also notes that scheduling out your time is critical because of factors like Parkinson's Law. This states that tasks take as much time as you give them -- or that work will expand to take up the time you allot for it. Set time limits for your work, and stick to them.
Prioritize Your Time and Tasks
Kate Holmes of Belmore Financial says that a critical step to better time management is prioritizing your work and the hours you have available. "Prioritize the income generating activities," she says.
"There are endless things we all could be doing, some of which are more fun or interesting than what we should be doing (business wise), but keep your focus on the things that are designed to generate or diversify your income streams."
Kate also reminds us that our time is our most valuable resource, and financial advisors need to guard theirs carefully. "Take as few meetings as possible....[Build your] online presence, blogging, creating videos, talking with the media and engaging on social media instead. "
And if it takes a while to get the hang of figuring out your priority list? That's okay. It does take experience and experimenting to realize what's truly important to you and your practice.
"Don't beat yourself up," Kate advises. "Sometimes you just won't be feeling it, and that's okay. Step away from the computer and go for a walk. Refocus. If you only got one thing done, celebrate that one thing."
Additional Tips for Time Management as a Financial Advisor
Sophia Bera of Gen Y Planning likes to use a few tools to help better manage her time. "I love Boomerang for Gmail so that I can get to inbox zero," she says. "I try to zero out my inbox at least once per week but others do this every day."
But Sophia does caution not to get too obsessed with a neatly organized inbox. "It's totally okay to ignore your email for a few hours while you knock off some items from your to do list," she explains.
And speaking of to-do lists, Sophia suggests adding a different kind of list to it: "Keep a 'Ta-Da' list in addition to a to-do list. This is where you write down all the things you accomplished that day."
It's important to keep yourself motivated and productive. That means celebrating when you've earned it -- and taking a break when you need it. "Leave your house. Many of us are working from home and it's easy to go stir crazy," she says. "I love working from coffee shops for a few hours in the afternoons and I find that this is often where I'm the most productive."
Remember to Work for Yourself, Too
Sophia also mentioned the importance of guarding your time and working on your business (as to opposed to only in it).
"Don't spend time meeting with people you don't want to. Your time is yours so it's time to stop feeling like you 'should' meet with that estate attorney, or you 'should' go to that networking event," she explains. "You decide how you use your time; it is sacred, so guard it."
It's your practice, your career, your time -- and you need to do what's best for it.
A final tip to drive that point home? Sophia advises that we all do one thing every day to drive our business forward.
What will you do to better your business or improve your practice? What are your best time management tips?