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Financial managers know more than anyone that time is money. In the world of finance, time seems to be passing at a faster pace than other industries. So quickly, in fact, that sometimes wealth managers can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
With endless distractions fighting for your attention every day, how do you stay on track to work smarter, not harder? In this guide, we’ll uncover the best time management life hacks for wealth managers so you can do more with the time you have.
Endless to-do lists can quickly clog up your schedule, but how many of those tasks are really vital to your wealth management business? In the world of finance, your most important deliverables are your reports and your research. These are the things your clients want to see, not that you posted to LinkedIn X number of times a week or responded to Y number of emails.
While these admin and marketing tasks are still important, you should prioritize your client tasks and those key deliverables. Focusing on improving the quality of these areas will always be more important than answering low-priority emails.
The phrase itself might be silly, but “eating the frog” is one of the best time management life hacks for wealth managers. The phrase itself actually comes from Mark Twain. He famously wrote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
You don’t need to search for an actual frog to heed Twain’s advice. The “frog” he’s referring to is the largest task on your to-do list. This is the task you know you’ll feel better once you accomplish. It’s easy to put this task off until the end of your day, and maybe even the next day, and so on. However, “eating the frog” first will make sure you’ build momentum and stay productive throughout the day.
The average professional is spending 28% of their workweek on email. To do the math, that’s more than 11 hours a week. Email is easily the biggest time-waster for wealth managers, but it doesn’t have to be.
How can you master your inbox and reclaim your time? The first big step is to set predetermined times for checking your inbox. This doesn’t need to be once an hour. It can be as simple as 2-3 times a day. While you shouldn’t avoid sending emails outside of these times, only send your most critical emails during your workday.
Finally, if possible, empty your inbox before you leave work. A good way to do this is to organize your email into project-related folders. This way you can easily clear out your inbox in record time, leaving you a beautiful empty screen.
While this might seem like the opposite of what you should be doing, scheduling breaks can truly make a difference in your workday productivity. According to science, our brains can only be “on” for 90-120 minutes at a time. After this, you’ll start to lose focus even if you push past your natural attention span.
Ignoring these telltale signs that you need a break are bad for business. It’s best to get up from your desk for a few minutes, get your blood flowing, and let your mind wander. When you return to your next task, you’ll feel focused and refreshed.
Finally, make the most of the first 3 hours of your workday. Too often it’s easy to fill this time with emails, phone calls, or admin tasks. While this might seem harmless, the Harvard Business Review argues that these first 3 hours are the strongest in terms of your thinking and planning ability.
Over the day, you’ll slowly experience a drain in cognitive function. You’ve probably experienced that notorious 3-pm sluggishness yourself. Leveraging these important hours to be proactive in your tasks is always better than being reactive to emails and client calls.
When you value your time, you value your work. Making the most of the time you have and turning off the clock at the end of the day is a sign of a mature, experienced wealth manager. If you feel like there’s not enough time in the day, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re spending your time.
Remember, it’s what you deliver to your clients that matters most, not how many tasks you check off your to-do list. Are you accomplishing more with the time you have? If not, take these time management life hacks for wealth managers seriously.