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21 Ways to Reclaim the Minutes in Your Day

Tips for using your time as productively as possible.

Allyson Lewis, 05/21/2009

As a financial advisor, you want to be productive, efficient, organized, planned, and prepared. Time is a mysterious force. Imagine how long eight hours would seem if you were sitting in a doctor's waiting room, yet somehow the eight hours you have at work can quickly slip through your fingers leaving you frustrated and behind.

Time management is not about managing time, it is about managing how you use the time you have. Successful men and women take their time very seriously.

This article will explore 21 ideas to help you reclaim the minutes in your day.

1. Know what you want to accomplish
The starting point for time management is knowing what you want to accomplish before you begin each task or project. The more clearly you can see the outcome of a project, the more efficiently you can establish the steps to reach that goal.

2. Prioritize each task
Once you know the outcome of a project; create a list of action steps that will allow you to complete the task and then prioritize each of these action steps in an order that works in the most efficient way with the least waste of time and effort.

3. Start your day with a written daily plan of action
Having a written daily plan of action ranks as one of the most powerful time management tools any financial advisor could implement. It is as simple as taking out a piece of paper and writing down the tasks you have just stated were your highest priority tasks. Every person has the same number of hours in the day; successful financial advisors choose to work on the tasks that are most important.

4. Complete five tasks before 11 a.m.
Imagine how much more productive you would be if you walked into your office every morning and there was only one piece of paper on your desk that had your five highest-priority tasks written on it. Further imagine what would happen if you would choose to complete those five tasks before 11 a.m. We call this completing your "five before 11". This single time-management idea could revolutionize your workday.

5. Use only one place to capture all of your notes and to-do lists
As you begin to improve your organizational skills you will want to choose to have a single place to capture all of your goals, notes, action steps and to-do lists. You may choose to use some sort of daily planner or even a spiral notebook. But, the days of writing important ideas on post-it notes and random sheets of paper are over.

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