Taking Control of Your Time

Today’s advisors are faced with an overwhelming volume of information. I’m often faced with 50 to 60 e-mails and another 15 voicemails on a daily basis. I soon realized an effective organizational system was needed to maintain my profitability and my sanity.

Developing an organization action plan will allow you to:

  • minimize your stress level
  • optimize your level of creativity
  • increase the profitability of your practice

Most high level advisors have a good understanding of the correlation between being organized and having a more profitable and fulfilling life. The following steps will help increase your level of organization and create a sense of balance in your life.

Get Started

The first item needed is a large recycling bin or waste basket. I usually devote a day of my time and my assistant’s time every 6 months to clearing the junk from my office. This semi annual purge will create space in your office and your mind.

Next step is creating time friendly and efficient input sources i.e. phone, e-mail, fax and mail. It’s crucial from a business standpoint that clients be able to reach us by all of these methods. What creates the separation from our competitors is how we deal with these inputs?

Action Plan in Place

You walk into the office and you’re hit with 50 e-mails. Try responding to your e-mail, by applying one of the following four actions:

Delete it – if it is an item that is of no value trash it.

Defer it – This does not mean simply skip it and move on to the next item (which is what most advisors do). If it is an item that can not be dealt with in a timely manner and can’t be delegated, file it and write it down in your electronic or manual organizer, assigning an appropriate time to deal with the activity.

Take Action It’s something that can be dealt with on the spot take action and move on.

Delegate – Discuss this in more detail in a few moments, but the ability to distribute less profitable tasks to your supporting team is a key driving force in creating time and maximizing profitability.

Overcoming Obstacles

Where most advisors fall of the wagon is when life throws a curveball. You are half way through your e-mail and your cell phone rings your client wants to discuss their policy. While it’s great to be accessible to your clients this will prevent you from dealing with the task at hand and if you’re half way through you’ll have to start over once you’re able to come back to the e-mail. Solution forward your cell phone and business phone to your assistant or respond to your client’s voice mail after you completed your outstanding tasks.

Dealing with Delegation

The ability to effectively delegate outstanding work will create time and is vital to becoming and staying an elite level advisor. When a client inquiry comes into my office my assistant attacks it in the same way I would: delete it, defer it or take action. I’m the last option and I’ll only be asked to step in after the 1st three options are explored. As my business has grown, a secondary assistant was brought in to deal with the overflow of work and the system simply repeats itself.

Fine Tuning Your System

The basics of how you and your team handle incoming work remains constant. However, changes in technology can create opportunities to enhance your organizational system. The preferred choice of exporting information has shifted from fax to e-mail in recent years. E-mail offers tremendous flexibility and time efficiencies but the means in which I handle e-mails or faxes have remained constant.

Bottom Line

The ideas discussed will allow you to create separation from your competitors. The increased time will allow you to be more productive and profitable. Additionally, the reduction in both mental and physical clutter will allow you to be more creative in your thinking – a muddled mi-o room to explore new concepts. I’m reminded of an unconventional executive who lives in a 6000 square foot home furnished with only a bed and a television. He says the space maximizes his mental productivity.

While this level of eccentrism is not required, there is a definite correlation between your level of organization and your creativity. The reduction in mental and physical confusion will enhance both your professional and personal bottom line.

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