"How’s business?" is one of the most common questions I'm asked. My usual response would be the standard "yeah, pretty busy" until recently a colleague of mine questioned the word busy. Why is busy a good thing? What does busy even mean?
Upon thinking about it, it doesn't seem to be very effective to always be busy.
Whether you are building an empire or winding down to retirement, it’s imperative to question every task in your day because each hour in the office is another away from your family (or the golf course), so be selective.
Here are the top 3 time wasters in your financial planning business:
1. Communication - get smart about it. According to a University of California study every time you are alerted by an email or phone call while 'in the zone', it takes 20 minutes to regain that focus. So, it doesn’t make sense to send 62 emails explaining how something works when you can just pick up the phone and achieve the same outcome in 3 minutes. In the same sense, phone calls aren’t always effective. If you make yourself constantly available by phone, you are setting yourself up for failure. Set the phone to 'do not disturb' if you have an important project that needs your attention. Whoever is calling will leave a message and you can call them back later and give them your full attention.
2. Paper - it’s so 2000's. Seriously, no one likes paper anymore and if you don’t have a paperless office, this needs to be a priority. In addition to the obvious risks (fire, flooding, loss of data, security etc), a paper file is extremely inefficient. Think about every time you need the file, you first have to go and find it. It’s probably not sorted properly so you spend the best part of 10 mins punching holes and wrestling plastic sleeves and then when its finally in a state to read, you realise the document you need isn’t even there. In that 15 mins you could have the job done and not even have to leave your desk.
-3. Delegation as the Adviser, your most important role is client relationship building. More clients = more business so your time needs to be client focused. Every time you touch a task I want you to ask yourself, "is this the most effective use of my time?" If not, delegate. If you have a admin support already, get the task off your desk. Honestly, they will probably complete it faster than you anyway. If are a one-man band, outsource. You will be amazed at the outsourcing services for Advisers at relatively low cost.
Now take your hourly rate and work out how much the above 3 points cost you and think about how that time (and money) could have better been spent. Still think outsourcing is too expensive? Hopefully by now, you have a clear understanding of what your time is worth and what those pesky admin tasks actually cost. If not, go back to last week - it’s totally worth doing.
 No Task Life Behind? University of California, Irvine April 2,2015