Eight Tips to Manage Your Time Effectively in 2014

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Beverly Flaxington

In honor of the New Year, this week’s column is devoted to addressing a question I get asked often: How do I manage my time most effectively?

Most financial advisors are busier than ever but feeling as though they get less and less done. Before you set those New Year’s resolutions for your practice, review this list of what to do – and not do – for success in 2014.

  1. Specify both quantitatively and qualitatively what you and your team need to accomplish this year. Be clear on number of new referrals you desire, the number of centers of influence you want to work with (including names, if you know them), the percentage of clients you plan to move into model portfolios, etc. Be as specific as you can be in terms of what you want to have completed in each quarter of 2014.
  2. Communicate these goals and objectives to your staff. Make a commitment to communicate. Hold weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings to communicate with staff about the firm’s successes and obstacles and to hear back from your employees. Seek input and give information – often.
  3. Review your staffing to make sure right people are in right roles. Is everyone operating at their highest levels of effectiveness? If not, why not? Look at each member of your financial advisory team and rate each one on a scale of 1-7. Most scales rate 1-10 but sometimes an odd rating scale allows for more accurate reflections. If they aren’t at the top of the scale (at a 6 or 7) in terms of performance, identify what needs to happen to get them there. What coaching or training do they need? Are they suited for the role you have them in? Is there a more effective place within the firm where they could succeed? If not, should that employee be managed out?
  4. Identify – each day – the top three priorities for that day. What’s most important and why? Ask your staff to do this too. If you have a tendency toward the “fire drill mentality” where everything is urgent and immediate, it’s time to get rid of it in your practice – focus on what matters every single day.