Written by: Stan Mann | Results Producer Did you know there’s a simple way to double your productivity? You can double your productivity by eliminating the biggest time waster that plagues most financial advisors.
Think of it. How many times have you been seized by an idea to improve your business and spent hours researching, gathering data, making notes, starting to write and then a client calls. It’s a referral! You drop everything and go through the steps to make it happen. You’re on to other things and that great idea you spent a couple hours working on is lost and forgotten.If it only happened once, it wouldn’t be that big a problem. But if you’re like most, it happens all too often. Two hours here, one hour there, four hours on another thing; it all adds up.I know I’ve lost tons of time this way. I start writing a new thank you page for my website. Then I remember I need to make an important phone call. That phone call leads to a host of important and urgent matters to deal with. I’ve got the new thank you page somewhere, but darned if I can find it. That’s three hours down the tube.One of my worst time-eating habits was seeing something online that I might need some day; like how to make compelling infographics for YouTube. I would read all about it, make copies and file it on my hard drive for future use, just in case I might need it. It turns out I never need it or when I need it, there’s a newer better model now available. My hard drive is bloated with old obsolete info like this.Hard drive space is cheap; my time isn’t, neither is yours. That precious time is lost when you could have been using it to do something that actually advanced your business.I’ve finally wised up and quit doing that. I remind myself, with the wonderful world of the World Wide Web, you can always find the up-to-date information you want.Rule: If you run across or are offered information you do not need right now, ignore it. That way, you’re not wasting time starting something you will never finish.What about ideas and projects that seem sound and valuable? For instance, you want to form an advisory board to help advance your business. Creating such a board has many steps and takes weeks to complete. Starting a speaking marketing plan also has many steps and takes time. You want to complete these.To keep track of these important projects and be sure you complete them, you need to keep a log. I use an Excel file. Excel is just my personal preference. You can record it anyway that works for you, like a project binder for example. Just put it in writing where it’s easy to find. Refer to it regularly.When you get a brainstorm, give your project a title and note a few things you need to do on it. Put it away and return to what you need to do now. Consult your project list routinely and use it to make your weekly guide. From your weekly guide extract your daily to do list. Prioritize everything. Do only what’s urgent and important. Be on guard for items that are urgent but not truly important. Ignore them.Don’t expect to complete everything on your to-do list. Everybody’s to do list is too long. That’s why you must prioritize everything and do what’s most important first. When you get those things done, you’re in good shape.Review your project list weekly. Cull all items that have lost their appeal. Sometimes I look at an item and wonder I why ever thought it was a good idea.Work only on items of high priority and gather all supporting documents in one place—a folder on your desk or on your hard drive. I prefer keeping documents and folders on my computer because of its search engine capabilities.This system guides you to finish the important project you start. No more wasting time starting and never finishing. It’s no exaggeration that it will double your productivity, save precious time and leave you feeling energized because you’re finally accomplishing something.Putting this into practice takes determination and perseverance. You are breaking old habits and habits die hard. Keep at it. You’ll be happy you did.