Maximizing Your Time and Priorities

Gary Weinlein, CLU, ChFC, BFA™, Practice Consulting Regional Director
May 15, 2018

Oprah Winfrey once said, “You can have it all, just not all at once.” When I reflect on the meaning of that statement, I can’t help but think about time management. What she’s saying is that it’s important to prioritize what’s most important because there just isn’t enough time to accomplish everything at once. When you look at your practice, does it seem like there are way too many things to do and not nearly enough time to do it? Being clear on your priorities is the first, and arguably most important, step in maximizing your time. Let’s take a look at why being efficient is critical to business success.

The FPA Research and Practice Institute™ published a study of 750 advisors that found that only 13 percent of advisors felt in control of their time and only 10 percent felt in control of their business. The study also revealed that 88 percent of advisors are working at least one evening with almost half working three evenings or more. However, the study found that advisors who were in control of their time averaged 50 more client meetings per year, 10 more prospecting meetings per year, and 5 more center of influence meetings per year than their counterparts.

The prospect of holding over 60 more meetings a year without putting in any additional time into the practice makes a compelling case why maximizing your time and priorities is important.

1. Learn about the drivers of and barriers to productivity.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the study’s key findings.

Drivers of Productivity:

  • Having more clearly defined processes and systems
  • Better planning and scheduling of activities
  • Delegating more activities to team members

Barriers to Productivity:

  • Too much work or trying to do too much
  • Dealing with administrative requirements
  • Procrastination

Solution: Organize your priorities to maximize your time and productivity. Let’s dive into some strategies and tactics that can help you use these drivers of and barriers to productivity to help you do just that.
 

2. Understand that being busy is not the same as being productive.

Activity does not equal productivity. It’s important to be focused on the right tasks. When you think about a particular goal, what are the activities that will define overall performance and success? Of those activities, which are the ones that only you can do? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Solution: Create a “Stop Doing List.” For approximately one week, either individually or as a team exercise, write down your activities and the time spent on each activity: the more detail the better. This process should uncover inefficiencies and tasks that could be delegated or eliminated through the creation of new workflows. By reducing redundant or obsolete tasks, you free up your time and increase your firm’s productivity.

 

3. Plan for the unexpected.

It’s true that avoiding all interruptions and spontaneous distractions is impossible, but being prepared with an ideal calendar will help you prioritize and adjust when they do occur. 

Solution: Create a model workweek. Does your ideal calendar allow for the expected number of weekly client meetings? Does it take into account prep time and follow-up time? Is there enough time to meet with team and staff to go over important business matters? Is there quiet or planning time built into your calendar for high level thinking? Is proper work/life balance built into it? Even taking the time to think through these particular questions should be beneficial. While sticking to an ideal calendar all the time is next to impossible, striving to achieve that balance will go a long way towards maximizing your time.

As President Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Many advisers struggle with the challenge of being in control of their time. Being clear on your priorities is the first and most important step. From there, focusing on the most important activities and delegating or eliminating redundant ones is critical. Utilizing an ideal calendar can help you stay focused on the most important tasks throughout the day. Having some form of accountability in place ensures you maximize your time and priorities, which in turn frees up more time to help clients without having to sacrifice spending time with your family.

 

 

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