Taking Control of Time: A Guide for Financial Advisors

"Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed"Peter Drucker 

As a financial advisor, your most valuable resource is your time. If you are not in control of how you spend your time, then you are not in control of your results. Controlling your time and injecting your schedule with the right mix of high-payoff activities is vital to achieving your goals.

However, time is a diminishing resource, which is why it’s so valuable yet so challenging to manage. Advisors must find a way to maximize their critical high-payoff activities, such as client interactions, prospect meetings, and prospecting, while allocating sufficient time for other essential activities that need to get done, such as administrative tasks, marketing, and planning. Advisors must also be able to allocate adequate time for professional and personal development and ensure there’s enough left over for a healthy work-life balance.

That’s a lot of plates to keep spinning; if one crashes, it can be a mission-critical time setback for all activities. Here are some strategies financial advisors can use to take control of their time and improve productivity.

#1. Set clear goals

By clearly defining your short-term and long-term goals, you’ll have the clarity to align your daily activities with your overarching objectives. Break down your larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks to make it easier to track your progress and maintain focus. Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound as in SMART Goals.

#2. Prioritize and plan

Identify and prioritize your most important tasks, focusing on activities that contribute significantly to your business goals. Next, plot all tasks, activities, meetings, and client interactions daily and weekly to allocate specific time slots. It would be helpful to use scheduling or project management software like the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance.

#3. Delegate effectively

Identify tasks you can delegate to other team members, support staff, or outsource to third-party professionals. Delegating routine or administrative tasks can free up valuable time for more strategic activities. To ensure tasks are completed efficiently and to your satisfaction, clearly communicate your expectations and provide necessary training.

#4. Embrace technology

Utilize technology tools and software to streamline processes and automate repetitive tasks. This can include customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing automation programs, and communication tools. Leverage digital platforms for virtual meetings and communications to save time on travel and enhance client interactions.

#5. Batch similar tasks

When blocking time on your calendar, group similar tasks together. This reduces the cognitive load associated with switching between different types of activities. For example, schedule dedicated time blocks for client meetings, prospecting calls, casework, and administrative work. It helps to maintain the same blocked schedule from day to day and week to week to create a structured schedule with minimal multitasking.

#6. Limit distractions

Identify and minimize sources of distraction, such as non-essential notifications or unscheduled interactions. It would also help if you created a focused work environment with boundaries. You could use time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method designed to improve productivity and focus by breaking tasks into intervals—about 25 minutes in length—separated by short breaks.

Breaking tasks down into intervals with breaks creates a sense of urgency. Plus, the short breaks between intervals help prevent fatigue while maintaining focus.

#7. Just say no

Once you’ve set your priorities and scheduled your tasks, you must learn to say “no.” Understand your limits and avoid overcommitting to non-essential tasks so you can focus on what truly matters.

#8. Regularly review and adjust

Conduct regular reviews of your time management strategies to assess their effectiveness, adjusting your approach based on what works best for you and your changing priorities and circumstances. At the same time, be willing to reassess your priorities and make changes as needed to stay on track with your goals.

Taking control of your time requires a combination of planning, organization, and discipline. It’s essential to be consistent and make adjustments as needed to optimize your time-management skills. By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your productivity and focus on activities that contribute most to your success and your clients’ success.

Related: Why Financial Advisors Quit