Time management is not about doing more; it's about doing more of the right things.
Production revenues are tied to time. There is no secret agenda followed by million-dollar producers. The most successful financial advisors allocate their time focusing on profitable activities, and they reduce the amount of time they spend on unprofitable activities.
Production revenues are not tied to the number of projects you accomplish in a 24-hour period of time; rather, increasing your production is directly correlated to a focus on accomplishing the "right tasks."
In the financial services industry some of the "right tasks" include:
> face-to-face meetings with clients
> face-to-face meetings with prospective clients
> calling prospective clients
> sharing valuable information
> asking people for their business
Time is a limited commodity, so it's critical to know the activities that are most important to grow your practice and focus your time on those tasks. Do not overestimate the number of tasks you can accomplish in one day.
Every professional sports team practices from a playbook that holds deliberate and intentional strategies. Day after day, athletes practice every play with total concentration and focus. Each athlete understands the power of deliberate attention. Moment by moment, their coach decides what time they will get up, what they will eat, when they will practice, when they will lift weights, when they will work on cardio, and when they will watch tapes. Professional athletes are committed to completing specific activities at specific times each day. The success of individual athletes is developed over time by focusing their full attention on mastering a small number of activities.
The same is true of million-dollar financial advisors. Production revenues rise as you commit to focusing your full attention on completing only a small number of highly profitable activities every single day.
At the 7 Minute Life, my time management training and coaching company, we believe:
1. Time management is a skill you can learn.
2. Time management is attention management.
3. Time is a law like gravity. You can't change time, but you can change yourself.
4. Time management is not about doing more; it's about doing more of the right things.
5. Time management is a mindset of intentional thinking, which enables you to efficiently use the minutes of your day to focus on accomplishing high-value activities, leading you closer and closer to achieving your goals.
6. Improving time management begins with clarity. Filter through the noise and concentrate on reaching your goals and objectives.
7. Time is life. Life is a series of choices. Only you can choose how you will spend your time.
Our 15-Minute Increment Worksheet
The 7 Minute Life 15-Minute Increment Worksheet is a simple time-management tool. Weekly and daily calendars like this have been available for decades, yet only a few people understand the power of using this blank worksheet.
Your time is limited to 168 hours per week. Without a plan, you will blink your eyes and another day will have passed, then another week, then another month, and finally a year will pass. At some point you will find yourself asking, "What did I do with my time?"
My challenge to you is to reflect on how you have spent your time today, and over the last week, month, and year. Have you made deliberate choices? Have you given your full effort? Are you focusing on high-value tasks? Or are you working on and completing the loudest and most annoying tasks of each day?
You can use this printable worksheet template to improve your productivity and increase your revenues. First you will see the hours and minutes of the day. As you hold the worksheet in your hands, take time to consider how you will spend your time tomorrow. What activities are most important for you to complete?
The box on the left side of the worksheet is titled "planned time." Use this column to write down the specific activities you will commit to completing and draw lines estimating how long you think each task will require to finish. Use this 15-minute increment worksheet to decide what you will do to increase your revenues and add value to clients.
The box on the right side of the worksheet is titled "actual time." Use this section to write down the actual amount of time it took to finish each activity.
This worksheet will turn your time into reality. You will discover all of the tiny time issues you have not previously included in your daily schedule, including: traffic delays, drive time to and from appointments, walking time to staff meetings, meetings that start late and run past their deadline, restroom breaks, chatting with co-workers, replying to text messages, and checking your personal email and social media sites.
There is no way to escape many of these issues; just remember to budget them into your daily timetable.
Also ask yourself personal questions as you complete this worksheet:
> What time will you go to bed? What time will you wake up?
> How much time will you spend with your family and friends?
> When will you exercise?
> How much television will you watch?
> How much time will you spend enjoying your hobbies?
In today's world of smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers, there are no boundaries. Work no longer ends when you leave your office. There is no ending point where you can walk away from your office and say, "I have done enough. I have worked hard today, and now I will stop and go enjoy my life."
Using a pen and this piece of paper is far more powerful than labeling tasks and appointments on your electronic calendar. The tasks shown on your smartphone are nothing more than labels for projects you would like to work on, showing a random start time. Using the calendar on your computer or your smartphone involves no commitment.
As you finish this article, take a moment to review this hypothetical worksheet. Now you have a decision to make. You can choose to wake up a year from now and wonder how your time could have passed so quickly. Or you can use this simple time management worksheet, take deliberate control of your days, and take time management to the next level.