Manage Your Time or It Will Manage You
In this article, we are addressing Time Management The definition of Time Management is the ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work.
If you are like me, I am a great procrastinator! I love procrastinating, it is one of the skillsets I am “very good” at. It takes me some time to get into action mode to get stuff done. There are a few great quotes around Time Management. One that I love is “Time is money.” Remember, your time as a financial advisor is extremely important. If you do not spend your time seeing clients, not doing the administration around seeing those clients or not calling them to book appointments – Then you are wasting your time. Wasting your time means you are wasting your money.
We must be aware that our time is exceptionally valuable. Effective time management requires structure. If you do not have any structure in place, then you are aiming to fail. One of the lessons I learned at the start of my career in the insurance industry was to manage my diary. If I did not manage my diary, my diary would manage me. To help you with this, I would like to share my Diary Management System with you.
My diary Management System:
I use a weekly colour coding system to manage my time effectively. I create blocks for Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. I then use colour to separate the blocks, I use green blocks to schedule my admin work in the mornings, from 9am to 12pm. I use blue blocks for my client meetings in the afternoons, from 12pm onwards. I prefer not to work during the evenings and weekends, so I have left that out of my diary. I use that as my personal time to spend with my family, etc.
The blue blocks each have specific appointment times which start off having no names. I structure my diary like this two to three months in advance, this helps me aim for specific meeting times when calling my clients to set up appointments. Many financial advisors make the mistake of simply calling clients and try to fill up their diary. They have no structure in place as to what time to see clients or a structure related to where their clients live. Having blocked out appointments helps you plan the rest of your day in advance. The next thing you need to consider is Drive Time, factor in your drive time. I normally factor in 30 to 45 minutes from a drive time perspective to ensure that I can get to the client in time and spend enough time consulting with the client. Another important factor is Appointment Areas.
Schedule your appointments in relevant areas, for example avoid scheduling your first appointment in Krugersdorp, your second appointment in Bedfordview and another appointment Randfontein. Try your best to cluster your appointments in the same area. Something else I do with clients during my appointments is plan for the next week. For example, at the end of my meeting with John, I plan for my next appointment with him. I would say to John, “Can I see you at the same time next week?” John then confirms and I now know that I can start filling up my diary for next week. This is more effective than waiting until I get back to the office and calling John to set up a possible time when he is available, etc.
Follow up on your follow up:
The next step is to follow through on your follow ups. This means just follow up! For example, I would give my client John a call and say “Hi John, just wanted to make sure that I am coming to see you on Monday. I know it’s Friday today, is Monday still good for you?”
Remember people’s diaries also move around and we must be flexible around this. Usually if I see a client on a Monday for our first appointment, I try to close the client on the next Monday. Sometimes the client tends to move the diary around because of their commitments as well, this is when my flexibility comes in. I would recommend a time in my diary that I have not filled up which I know needs to be filled. This is one of the ways that having structure in place helps you.
To round up here, these are some of the things to factor in and remember when planning your diary:
~ Your drive times
~ Appointments in relevant areas
~ Planning for next appointment
~ Follow through on your follow ups
Remember to always PRE-POPULATE your diary. Make sure that your diary is relatively full, months or weeks in advance – You can use a colour coding and block system like me, or any other system that works for you. Looking at blank pages in your diary may be overwhelming and you will often have no idea where to begin! Starting with a prepopulated diary that includes designated times and activities makes it much easier to manage your time. This is one of the ways you can “trick your mind” and get yourself into action mode faster! The golden rule is to Manage YOUR time or it will manage YOU!