As a productivity coach for financial advisers, I find it ironic that many advisers plan for their clients but not for themselves. When I say they don’t plan, I mean they don’t plan for the day, the week, the month and certainly not for the year. So of course, planning out five to 10 years isn’t even on their radar.
Planning can be the difference between growth and stagnation for your practice. Running through the day with no plan or vision of where you are going can work for a short time, but it causes stress, overwhelm and even grumpiness in the long run.
In order to become a more productive planner for your practice and develop a planning muscle that will support a thriving practice in 2030, here are a few things to begin working on now:
(1) Know What You Need and Value
Before you even look at your calendar, look inside to see what matters to you. When you know what you need and value, you can then let that guide your vision, mission and decision making for your practice. If can be very unfulfilling if you plan your day, week, month, year or ten years BEFORE you know what it is you need and value.
For example, if one of your needs is ‘family time’ but you never plan for it, productive planning can help you meet that need. This approach assures that your 10-year plan and your daily plan are in alignment with who you are and what you want.
(2) Create your Ideal Week
If you woke up on Monday and lived your life through Sunday night, how would it ideally unfold? This VISION is what you want to create. The chances of living your ideal week consistently are slim but without a vision of how you want your week to look, you’ll end up meandering through your days. This is no way to grow your practice or live your life. Many of my clients include an hour in their ideal week to assess their 3, 5 and 10-year plan progress. This also gives them the chance to check in on how they are aligning with their values and needs.
(3) Get Your Tasks Out of Your Head
If you have “the swirls,” which is keeping all your tasks in your head, waking you up at 2 a.m. in a cold sweat because you forgot to do them, please help your brain and get them on a to-do list.
The list never goes away, but you start to notice that the same tasks go undone. You start picking the easy, unimportant ones that move you no closer to your goals. Or, you procrastinate with ones you don’t want to do and then scramble at the last minute to complete them. And, my personal favorite, you do things that are not on your list but you’ll add them just so you can check them off! (Yes, I’ve been watching you.) A to-do list can certainly help your brain and work wonders for some people but if you want to get to the next level, keep reading.
(4) Schedule Your To-do List
This is probably the most important tip to being more productive on a day-to-day basis. The goal here is to completely wean yourself from your to-do list. Decide when you PLAN to get something done, put it in a time slot on your calendar and commit to doing it. It’s not for everyone but I dare you to try it. Once you develop this scheduling muscle, your roadmap to 2030 will become much easier.
(5) Stop Being Reactive
So often, financial advisers operate in a reactive versus proactive mode. They put out fires all day: answering emails and phone calls, tending to clients who “drop in” unexpectedly and accepting constant interruptions. Having a daily plan will make you more proactive and help you manage those interruptions. Having a long-term plan prevents you from continually chasing shiny pennies and gives you permission to stay focused on your path.
The power to stop running and start planning is within you. Master these planning skills and by 2030, you’ll be one fine-tuned productivity machine leading the pack, not being left behind.
As a Productivity Coach for financial advisers, Patty Kreamer coaches her clients to clear the clutter that blocks their success, take control of their time and get more done. Productivity is the result of everything she does. Patty is a sought-after speaker, bestselling author and owner of Productivity Uncorked, LLC.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the FPA Coaches Corner whitepaper “Action 2020: Create Business Success for Today and Tomorrow.” Download the whitepaper here.