Creating repeatable, measurable systems of work is key.
Productive days are amazing. You wake up before your alarm goes off. You put on your best business clothes. You get to the office early. You work from an agenda. You mark things off your list. And by the end of the day, you feel great!
That sense of well-being comes from the very attributes that describe productivity. You work at peak efficiency when you are involved in meaningful work--work that is creative, challenging, rewarding, innovative, and profitable.
Productivity is a skill that can be improved, but unfortunately most days are not that productive. You have too much to do, and not enough time to get it done. It brings to mind that unforgettable chocolate-factory conveyor belt scene from I Love Lucy. Unable to keep up with their work, Ethel and Lucy see unwrapped chocolate begin to speed past them. Attempting to catch up, they start stuffing chocolates in their mouths, scooping them into their blouses, and hiding the candy in their outrageous hats!
Are You Productive or Unproductive?
What is the difference between productive people and unproductive people? Unproductive people start their day without a plan and react to whatever is happening in the office. Like the chocolates spilling off the conveyor belt, unproductive financial advisors find themselves surrounded with unreturned phone calls, incomplete portfolio reviews, and missed deadlines. Surrounded by these urgent tasks, they still may find themselves checking email, reading text messages, and doing whatever they can to look busy. Every task that is not finished pushes them deeper into chaos and disorganization until they have so much to do they become frozen.
Work does not have to be drudgery. To be productive you must connect with a more classic definition of the word: "Work is an action that carries out or completes an inner desire or intention or purpose." Productive people start the day with a commitment to focus on high-value actions that produce high-value results. And they have created repeatable systems and processes combining productivity with efficiency.
How to Increase Your Productivity
Productivity is defined as producing something. Efficiency is defined as producing something with the least amount of wasted effort. For example, consider how you could create three efficient systems to focus and improve your prospecting productivity:
1. Create a system for increasing your pipeline of prospects.
What actions do you consistently take on a daily or weekly basis to increase the number of prospects you have? Do you have a habit of calling a set number of prospects? Do you offer educational seminars to connect with new prospects? Or do you regularly tell people what you do? The key here is having a plan for consistently doing these activities. If you only do these activities when your business is lean or you feel you have time, you will get inconsistent and poor results.
2. Create a system for converting prospects into customers.
How do you follow up with prospects? Do you have a system for evaluating their need for financial services? Do you have a system for communicating the services you offer? Again, the key here is consistency. Begin by asking yourself the question, what are the first three things I do every time I meet a new prospect?