By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli
Years ago I had a conversation with a financial advisor that framed my approach to coaching. After being informed that he’d been in the business for 20 plus years, been to every workshop under the sun and knew what he needed to do, I asked a simple question: If you did everything you needed to do on a daily basis, what impact would it have on your income?
His response was immediate and consisted of only one word – double.
I then asked him to outline his perfect day, and he outlined 6 activities which I took the liberty of labeling as fixed daily activities. Here’s where it got interesting… I asked him how long it would take him to complete his 6 activities and his answer still resonates with me: I’d have them all done by noon.
Wow! Double his income by doing what he already knew how to do, and working only a half-day?! Ah, but a productive half day. I followed his progress for a few months and he was true to his word; doing his 6 activities and working only a half day. Whether or not he doubled his business, I never audited the results, but my guess is that he was successful.
This got me thinking about time, and the amount of time many financial advisors waste on a daily basis. This brings me to productive time ($1000/hour activities) versus wasted time. Many of today’s offices are unwittingly designed to sabotage productivity. Sure, you can attempt to close your door and time block, but with interruptions coming from all directions (assistant, advisors, management, wholesalers, clients, emails, family, friends, etc.) the odds are against you.
Are you interested in shortening your workday to a highly productive 5 hours? If so, be prepared to make some changes. You’re going to have to become extremely organized, develop a laser like focus that enables you to prioritize, and then execute and evaluate the new routine you’re developing.
The following steps will get you started:
Step 1: Assess Your Current Day
- Create a detailed outline of your current day.
- Identify wasted time. What was it that pulled you off track? Don’t judge or defend your actions – the idea is to become aware of your time wasters.
- Identify activities you’re involved with that could be delegated. The objective is to focus on $1000/hr activities, those high-priority activities.
- Identify the high-priority activities you were engaged with. How much time of your day did they require and could they have been handled more efficiently?
- Determine the $1000/hr activities relevant to your goals.
- Project the time required to complete your $1000/hr activities.
Your initial step in developing a productive 5-hour day is to conduct a thorough analysis of your current work day. This requires two critical issues: 1) time wasters & 2) responsibilities to delegate. You must commit to eliminating time wasters and determining who you will delegate and/or outsource those areas of responsibility that have been gobbling up blocks of your precious time.
Step 2: Prioritize
- Create a priority “to-do” list ($1000/hr activities) for each upcoming day.
- Identify who, how, and when you will delegate non $1000/hr activities.
Think in terms of your Quantum Growth Commitment, those BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals) that you’ve established and now are committed to achieving. This involves addressing two areas: 1) those things that are gobbling up blocks of your precious time & 2) those high-priority, $1000/hr activities.
Step 3: Execute / Evaluate / Execute / Evaluate
- Execute Step 2 for two weeks.
- Evaluate each day using a SWOT analysis re: 5-hour work day.
- Make necessary adjustments.
- Conduct a second evaluation for two weeks.
- Evaluate and make any necessary adjustments.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t develop your highly productive 5-hour day overnight. It will take you at least a full month. This is why it’s important to execute your routine for two weeks and then evaluate your efforts. Most likely there will be a handful of adjustments to make and then it’s another two weeks of execution and evaluation. At this stage you will be very close, if not spot-on, to your highly productive 5-hour work day.
Step 4: Your “New” Highly Productive 5-hour Day
- Keep your focus on the big picture, your Quantum Growth Commitment.
- Continue to create your prioritized “to-do” list for every upcoming day.
- Execute, evaluate, and continue to make adjustments.
- Tune out naysayers.
You’ve heard it a thousand times, “misery loves company.” Well, you’re going to have a lot of less focused & time-wasting financial advisors who are going to be very envious of your productive 5-hour day. Take a guess at what they’re going to attempt – get you to backslide into your old unproductive habits. And they can be both devious and persistent – so consider yourself forewarned.
Whether or not you double your income isn’t the point – it’s all about being focused on your goal, improving your daily productivity, and working less.
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