Consider your average work week. how many days of the week are you excessive producer?
What about on a day-to-day basis? How many hours a day are you really efficient at giving meaningful results for practice?
The reality is that being highly productive each day requires tremendous practice, focus, and discipline. We are constantly distracted by our phones, social media, advertisements, which makes it difficult for us to concentrate on work. We are also creatures of habit; “Living in chaos” is often easier than taking the necessary steps to find order.
We are also constantly confronted with the reality of time management theory called “Parkinson’s Law”. Parkinson’s law tells us that work expands to fill the time we have to complete it. That’s why we’ll delve into simple tasks that have no time limit. Or conversely, get an extraordinary amount of work done at an extraordinary pace the day before going on a long vacation.
Below I provide some easy-to-implement tips to help you counteract Parkinson’s law and maximize your daily productivity.
- Be clear about what the practice needs to achieve on an ongoing basis and what you need to focus on to accomplish those results.
You simply cannot be productive without knowing what you are producing. Work with your team to create a list of objectives for the overall exercise. These should be things that must be achieved in any given year for the business to grow and flourish. Your list might look something like this:
- Grow organically by adding most A+ families. (Hint: This should help you identify if you’re focusing your efforts in the right places.)
- Deepen brand awareness in the community and on social media.
- Provide exceptional service to customers.
- Build a culture of mutual respect and accountability.
Once you have completed your list of practice objectives, create objectives for yourself that are consistent with the practice. Everyone on your team should do the same. If you are a consultant, your objectives might read something like this:
- Deepen brand awareness by constantly sharing our story.
- Provide exceptional customer service everyday.
- Leverage COI to meet like-minded ideal customers
- Position yourself as a thought leader.
Keep your objectives on Post-Its on your desk until it becomes natural for your activities to align with your objectives. Every Friday, take a few minutes to reflect on how you spent the past week and whether you were focusing on the “right” activities.
- Have you interacted with at least one COI this week? During this conversation, did you tell them what an “ideal customer” means to you?
- Did you post relevant content on social media for ideal prospects? How do you know the content was relevant to them?
- Did you contact at least one top house to “check in” and say hello?
- Did you respond to each customer’s request within an hour?
The more you “check-in” with yourself at the end of each week, the more your brain will prompt you to remember activities that are worthwhile to practice.
- Understand how to fill your time productively and what prevents you from doing so naturally.
This is an especially important tip for those responsible for generating revenue.
Some people are simply comfortable connecting with others. (These people score high on the DISC assessment as “I” or “influencers”). They are comfortable posting on social media, they don’t fear cold-calling, they enjoy talking to people—even strangers!
However most people are not like that, and thus tend to avoid activities in front of people that make them feel uncomfortable. So, if you have a collaborative consultant on your team and they have free time in their calendar, they will be more inclined to spend that time doing “busy work”, let’s say randomly picking up the phone to check in with the client. or center of influence.
Recognizing this obstacle can be powerful. Practice easing yourself into an activity that makes you feel uncomfortable until it feels more natural. Here are two examples you can take advantage of if you have a lightweight calendar and know you should be spending that time looking for business opportunities:
- Spend an hour sending text messages or emails to customers and/or prospects instead of randomly calling them.
- Spend 30 minutes each day replying to “Twitter” or “Facebook” posts instead of creating your own unique posts.
- Spend an hour once a week listing all the questions that clients asked related to financial planning that week. Spend 15 minutes next week addressing those questions (as usual) in various social media posts.
- Manage your email inbox effectively.
“I get a lot of emails every day” is a top complaint I hear from consultants and their teams. Emails, no matter how many you receive, shouldn’t derail your day. Try the following, enlisting the help of your assistant or chief of staff to apply. (If you don’t have an assistant, hire one right away; without him there is no way to grow and gain potential.)
- Respond to every email promptly or as quickly as possible.
- If it’s something you can handle, handle or respond to immediately.
- If it’s something you know the timeline for, tell that person when you’ll get back to them and CC your assistant. Then “flag” the email.
- If there’s something you don’t know the answer or timeline for, use the process above, except tell them you’ll get back to them with an update at the end of the week.
- Skim through all your flagged emails every morning to see if you can clear an email.
- Let your assistant or chief of staff help you stay accountable for all emails that are cc’ed to them. They should include any follow-up actions you owe on the date they are due, at the top of your calendar.
- Leverage technology, especially your CRM.
Get in the habit of using Workflow within your CRM. Many times I’ve seen advisory teams constantly assign tasks to each other, rather than using workflows to automate a series of tasks involving a repeatable process. To do this effectively, you must first list with your team all the processes that are likely to be repeated in any given week, and the activities related to that process.
Once that’s done, transfer those lists to your CRM and assign one person in charge to start each workflow. You must have the workflow to onboard new clients, deliver review meetings, “drip” on leads and referrals, and process new business.
Here’s an example of a process and its associated tasks that can be automated in CRM:
- adding new customers
- same day customer welcome email
- Reminder to admin to schedule next meeting within 24 hours
- Reminder to admin to send “Welcome Gift” within 3 days
- “What to expect” email sent to client within 3 days
On a final note, don’t be afraid to defend your time. Be comfortable saying no, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Say “no” to meetings and conversations that are not meaningful, complete, and/or tied to your objectives. And say “no” to the things that no longer serve you, your team, or your approach to your practice.
Penny Phillips is the co-founder and president of Journey Strategic Wealth.