Orlando: “It seems that we always have good intentions, and then the realities of the day kick us in the butt," groaned Mark, a frustrated team leader. He then asked, “Do you have any suggestions?”

Although it was of no consolation to Mark, I informed him that he wasn’t alone on an island—many financial advisors suffered from a similar affliction.  As you know all too well, the day-to-day world of a financial advisor is full of distractions.  That said, the following five simple tips for enhancing financial advisor productivity will help improve the efficiency of any advisor.

 

  1. One Key Priority-To-Do (PTD) Daily – Have you ever watched a dog attempting to catch his tail?  Well, that’s what a financial advisor looks like when classifying everything as a priority.  To-do lists can easily become overwhelming. After all, isn’t everything important?  Priority management is what improves productivity.   It’s been our experience that there is a domino effect to priorities; complete a key PTD and you’re most likely on to the next one.
  2. Master the “Baby Step” Process – The idea is to learn how to be persistent, or what I like to call "urgently patient."  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your key PTD is unlikely to be accomplished in less than five minutes.  The secret is to break a priority project into a series of small steps and focus on accomplishing one baby step, one action linked to your key PTD, at a time.   
  3. Adhere to the 20 Minute Rule – This might appear counterintuitive, but many experts tell us that our attention loses its laser focus after about 20 minutes of concentration.  This is why a number of student prep courses suggest studying in 20 minute intervals—no sense staring at a textbook while daydreaming.  Many of your key PTD baby steps are apt to require a high level of concentration, so give yourself permission to take a five minute break after 20 minutes of focused activity.
  4. Set Time Limits for Important Activities (PTDs) – In addition to giving yourself a break every 20 minutes, you need to establish a timeline for completing each key priority project.  Creating a “drop-dead” deadline closes the loop, preventing you from falling into that omnipresent black hole where priority projects go to die.  Your projects will not only get completed, but completed in a timely manner.
  5. Offload the Rinky-Dink – No more getting sucked into the mundane day-to-day tasks.  Whether it’s cleaning up the conference room before a big meeting or restocking the refrigerator with Mr. Big’s favorite beverage (not that any of this isn’t important), but these need to be considered as piddling activities that need to be delegated.  When it comes to productivity, delegation is key. However, what might be rinky-dink for you to delegate might become a key PTD for someone else. 

 

None of the above is heavy lifting.  As I told Mark, give these 5 productivity tips a go for two weeks and assess your productivity.  If daily productivity is an issue, do the same—commit to these five tips for two weeks—and your productivity will improve.

 

Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Centure Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com