Why not make efficient use of those small segments of time - like a client running 10 minutes late -that drop in our laps throughout the day? Then you've "created time" for later use.
Agents, advisors and all other financial professionals share a common complaint. There is never enough time to get everything done. We are all missing a great opportunity - making efficient use of the small segments of time that drop in our laps throughout the day. If you have heard the saying, ''The longest journey starts with a single step" you will understand how these little bits of time can be utilized to maximum impact.
What are these little bits of time? You are called in from the field into the office because your manager wants to meet for your periodic performance review. You suddenly learn they are running 30 minutes behind. You have a client meeting you at the office for lunch.
You are ready at noon, they are running 10 minutes late. Everyone is attending a sales meeting in the conference room, but the projector and the computer aren't talking to each other. It winds up taking 10 minutes to get it fixed.
You join into a video conference call on time, but they end up waiting five minutes for late arrivals. All this time adds up.
Let us assume you are sitting at your desk. How can you make efficient use of your time?
1. Tally your expenses and receipts.
This needs to get done. Some people wait until the last minute, then run around trying to find receipts. This little block of spare time is ideal for, say, pulling receipts out of your wallet and organizing them.
The benefit: You can start on the report and determine what you need to track down and what you have on hand.
2. Keep up with Linked In.
It takes lots of time to stay current on Linked In. You need to answer messages. Respond to comments to your group posts. The Notification section provides a daily list of birthdays, work anniversaries and job changes. Collectively it takes lots of time. Fortunately, each action is discrete, meaning it is unrelated to the last or next action. Each one only takes seconds.
The benefit: You can knock out plenty of messages or leave comments on other's posts.
3. Wade into your e-mails.
E-mail arrives faster than we can address it. You might dedicate time each weekend trying to keep current and clean up your In box. If you keep folders in Outlook, these extra few minutes are an ideal time to scan your In box for messages you have read yet want to save. You can reply to other e-mails. You can scan your Junk folder to determine if anything important was misdirected.
The benefit: Time spent cleaning up e-mails now means fewer to clean up on the weekend.
4. Work on your marketing project.
You are a member of the Chamber. You have targeted a group of members with business potential. You are sending individual e-mails because a blast e-mail might end up in their Junk folder. Develop a routine using cut and paste text. Go to the Chamber website. Click on the member's profile to reach their e-mail address. Populate the e-mail, then personalize and send it. This takes seconds.
The benefit: You can make progress on a long list a few at a time.
5. Start preparing a client review.
You have a format used for client meetings. This starts with gathering data, then plugging in numbers. These reviews require customization.
The benefit: Because this is a step-by-step process, you can move the prep work along a step or two, depending on how much time until your meeting starts or your lunch companion arrives.
6. Answer letters.
People still write letters. This includes you! You use them for marketing. You send thank you notes for many reasons. These might get a low priority.
The benefit: A window of time has appeared. Start a small project like this one.
7. Find articles to share.
It impresses clients to get a newspaper clipping with a cover note, sent through the US Mail. Look through today's paper. Are there any relevant articles? Clip out the entire article. Write a short note like ''You might find this interesting." Put it into an envelope and set it aside for today's mail collection. (This assumes your Compliance person is OK with this.)
The benefit: You are finding ways of showing clients you are thinking about them.
These are all tasks you would have time blocked for anyway. Now you have "created time" for later use!
Disclosure: Information contained in the materials included are believed to be from reliable sources, but no representations or guarantees are made as to the accuracy or completeness of information. This document is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual investment advice.
Bryce Sanders is the president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.. Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. and Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. are not affiliated companies.
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