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The Three Steps to Own Your Day and Your Growth

One of the most common growth challenges I hear from financial advisors (and most business owners) is “I’m too busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I know I need to, to grow.” 

There is a lot of truth to this statement, time is one of our greatest limitations. However, limitations are fertilizer for growth if we embrace them and work with them versus against them. 

Time may be a real challenge but it can also be one of your greatest advantages. 

There are 24 hours in a day, about 16 to 17 hours of awake time. Plenty of time to do all the things we want and need to do right? Wrong. 

Let’s explore the three steps to make the most of your time, stop the busyness and start growing.

1. Know where your time is going

2. Identify your time challenges

3. Develop a plan and infrastructure to overcome the busy time trap 

Being busy doesn’t help you get closer to your goals. Busyness is a distraction. If you’re endlessly busy you are probably focusing on the wrong things.

So what do you do?  

Step 1: Know where your time is going

Most advisors aren’t intentional their time. So, where is it going?

According to a 2019 Kitces Research Study, How Financial Planners Actually Do Financial Planning an average financial advisor in a lead position, directly responsible for managing client relationships and developing new ones spends 43 hours per week working as a financial advisor and 53 hours per week total on the business. 

How does their time breakdown? Kitces found that about 50% of their time is spent on client activities, 17% on business development and 10% on investment management. That leaves 23% of their time spent on the business, administration, professional development and management. 

Two important points. 

First, this may not be representative of how your time breaks down, every practice is different. It’s important to understand where your time is going. You should gain insight into where you’re spending your time by looking at your calendar for a week, how much time was spent with clients, prospects, with your team? Then list all of your other responsibilities, over a few days make note of what much time you’re spending on these things. How much of your client engagement is proactive versus reactive? Also note, what are the things you love to do versus those things that fill you with dread? 

I use a time audit exercise with clients to help them understand how they are spending their day and week, how much time is growth focused, how much time is energizing (or not) and what are their highest impact activities, those things that are growth-focused and energizing. You can do the same by simply answering the questions above. 

The second point, really a question is, how is your time management working for you?

The most successful advisors spend more time doing the things that are high impact, activities in their zone of genius. Your zone of genius is what’s most effortless and energizing for you according to Gay Hendrix in his book, The Big Leap. This is important when it comes to sustainable growth so you don’t burn out by doing the right things that are wrong for you.

If how you’re spending your time is supportive of your growth goals and meeting your other needs for balance and satisfaction, great, you have figured out how to leverage your time limitation. 

If not, read on.  

Step 2: Identify your time challenges

There are four reasons why time is your nemesis. One or all of these challenges may apply to you. At least one of these challenges applies to most people, usually it’s more than one. 

Identifying what is not working gives you the information you need to make the necessary adjustments to overcome the busyness growth trap resulting in less stress, more results and greatest ease in your work and life. 

The four time challenges: 

1. Time expectations

2. Time habits

3. Time quantity

4. Time quality

I explore each one of these challenges in depth in a separate, part-two article, “I’m too busy” – what’s really getting in your way? Identifying and solving your time challenges.  

Step 3: Develop a plan and infrastructure to overcome the time trap 

Once you’ve identified your time challenge(s) you can figure out how to overcome them. The best way I’ve found to solve a problem is to name it.

So what are you struggling with, expectations, habits, time quality or quantity? What specifically is the problem(s)? How are you going to solve those specific issues? Come up with a game plan.

If it’s I spend too much time in reactionary conversations with my clients then you may consider creating office hours, specific times that you are available to support your clients. Or you may start to bring certain people from your team into the relationship so you can delegate some of this responsibility. Or it may be as simple as setting expectations with certain clients. 

Then, build your ideal day, your ideal week. Write it down. What do you need to do to make that day happen? What about that week? Set the small goals necessary to create your ideal day and week. How many clients meetings will you have? How will they go? What about prospect meetings? How will you spend your time? How much time will you spend on the business? What do you need to do everyday to maintain your energy?

Recap

Almost everyone struggles with the limitation of time. Remember, limitations are fertilizer for growth if we embrace them and work with them versus against them. 

There are three steps to own the day and turn busyness into impact:

1. Know where your time is going

2. Identify your time challenges (expectations, habits, quality and quantity)

3. Develop a plan and infrastructure to overcome the busy time trap 

Do the right things intentionally and consistently. Spend your time wisely and own your day, and you will grow your business to the next level.

Related: The Top 10 Growth Activities for Financial Professionals