Ric Edelman, the CEO of Edelman Financial Services, was recently chosen as one of the most influential figures in wealth management by the readers of WealthManagement.com. Here he shares his time management techniques, the importance of delegating and why he sits (or, sometimes, stands) at a hydraulic desk.

 

The one part of your daily routine that is essential to having a productive workday? Good calendar management. I’m not referring to time management. By calendar management I mean having the next day fully mapped out, so the night before I can review the coming day and make sure I’m fully prepared for it: have I pre-read received materials, researched issues so I’m conversational, prepped for meetings I’ll be in, familiar with everyone I’ll be interacting with and resolved on the outcomes I’ll want obtained.

Tomorrow, of course, only works if the days that follow are similarly well positioned. So tomorrow might be the most acute issue involving the calendar, but the days, weeks and months that follow are equally important. Effective calendar management allows me to be highly effective with time management – and that’s what allows me to be effective for my clients, staff and firm.

The key to effective calendar management is having a great executive assistant. She is largely in control of my calendar, determining what I do and when I do it. I might drive the topics and issues, but she’s the one who determines when and how it all happens. A great executive assistant makes me twice as productive as I’d otherwise be.

One big thing I’ve learned is the importance of delegating, of having others do things I used to do.

Most to-do items never have to be done by anyone, ever. We do them out of habit, fun or lack of thought. We ditch those things that are irrelevant and have no genuine value to our clients, staff or firm.

Other items don’t need to be done now; they can wait, so we let them sit. Many go away on their own, never to be missed. I’m a big fan of procrastination in this context. But some items do need to be done, and done now. Most of those can be done by others; the key is to recognize that and delegate those items away. This makes everyone more productive. The few items can’t be delegated? That’s what I spend my timing doing.

Little thing: My desk has a hydraulic lift, allowing me to raise my entire workplace to standing height. This allows me to stand all day. It’s better for my health and keeps me more alert than from slouching all day. And if I do get tired, I can always lower the desktop.  The flexibility is advantageous. And the technology is pretty cool, too.

 

 - As told to Megan Leonhardt