Wasting time cuts into your bottom line. Beat the seven deadly sins of time management with these simple strategies.
SIN # 1 Looking for distractions
Problem: It’s so easy to find distractions when you want to avoid a difficult task.
Solution: Before leaving the office draw up your plan for the next day. Schedule the hard projects for first thing in the morning so you get them out of the way early.
SIN # 2 Lacking prioritization
Problem: Many projects compete for your attention. Some are not time-sensitive, but you assign them equal importance anyway.
Solution: Divide the day into two segments: market hours and non-market hours. Prioritize projects that can only be done during market hours. You can arrive early or stay late to catch up on paperwork.
SIN # 3 Losing time you can never recover
Problem: Wasting small blocks of time waiting for scheduled activities to start.
Solution: In addition to big projects you have smaller tasks like writing thank-you letters. Take care of these tasks when, for example, a client is late for a meeting.
SIN # 4 Resisting delegation
Problem: You often feel only you can do it right.
Solution: Make a list of all the things you do. Which projects can only be done by you? Two good examples are making investment recommendations and placing those orders. Only registered people can place orders. Explaining to a prospect why they should become a client is your job. Many others involving research, drafting letters and making appointments don’t really require your direct involvement.
SIN # 5 Planning for failure
Problem: You design a business plan and set a couple of ambitious goals. Trying to do too much, too quickly will lead to time-wasting mistakes.
Solution: To hit a big goal, set a lot of little ones. You have ambitious objectives for growth in assets and new accounts. Break them down into daily or weekly numbers. Set goals in areas that ultimately get you closer to them phone calls made, appointments set, seminar attendees confirmed. You will fall short in some, excel in others.
SIN # 6 Addressing interruptions immediately
Problem: Ringing phones and impatient assistants can easily derail sustained progress on long-term projects.
Solution: Distinguish between immediate and important. A client calls with an order — that’s important. Your assistant needs paperwork signed that’s immediate. Give each a test: If you were off sick, would the project have gotten done? It’s likely the paperwork would be waiting for you when you returned.
SIN # 7 Losing sight of the goal
Problem: Many projects and activities compete for your attention.
Solution: What are you paid to do? How is your performance measured? Looking after your client’s interests tops the list. This involves frequent contact and portfolio reviews. Attention also reduces attrition. Opening new accounts and bringing in assets are also high on the list. Activities driving these goals get done first.
This originally ran in Advisor