Time management is crucial, as we’re all limited by the same 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. The challenge, however, is that even knowing time management is important, sometimes you don’t even realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. Like the analogy of the boiled frog, that will just sit in a pot of cool water that heats gradually until it boils itself to death (never realizing the growing threat), the slow and steady accumulation of clients can mean that we overburden ourselves too slowly to realize we need to something about it, until by the end we’re buried and it feels like there isn’t even enough time to fix the problem!
In this week’s #OfficeHours with @MichaelKitces, my Tuesday 1PM EST broadcast via Periscope, I share my number one tip for getting “unstuck” in the New Year if you’ve hit the wall: create a “Stop Doing” list!
As contrasted with a “To-Do” list of things that must be done, a “Stop-Doing” list tells us things we should not be getting done. Or at least, not be personally doing anymore. In other words, it’s about making a commitment to creating free time by literally not doing as much as you have in the past.
So how do you figure out what goes onto a Stop-Doing list? The easiest way it to simply list out all of the tasks you do routinely and repeatedly… and then figure out how to stop doing them and instead delegate them to someone else.
Unfortunately, delegation itself is hard. But an easy way to delegate repetitive tasks in particular is through the use of screencasting software. You simply need to identify a task you complete repeatedly, record yourself doing it while talking through each of the steps, and then give someone else the video to use as a guide! It’s a way to train on how to do a delegated task, in no more time than it takes to just do it anyway (but you’ll never have to do it again!).
For the tasks that are less repetitive and require more expertise, you can look to hire outside professionals to free up more of your time. Because the reality is that you can’t be the best at everything in a business. Focus on the most important revenue-generating (e.g., client-facing) responsibilities, and let go of the rest. Fortunately for advisors, a whole range of services providers are cropping up that specialize in allowing advisors to outsource certain business activities.
The bottom line, though, is that good time management is about saying “No”. Whether that means saying “No” to repetitive tasks you can delegate, or “No” to less value-adding responsibilities you can outsource (or just let go of altogether), creating a “Stop-Doing” list for 2017 may be one of the most effective ways to gain control over your schedule again!