Like any other asset you possess, you must be diligent about protecting it, managing it and sharing it
Time management is a critical skill set required to achieve success whether you’re retired, in your peak earning years or aught in the Sandwich Generation.
Identify where you are spending your time each day that create the most success and happiness.
Identify and remove the time bandits that steal precious hours and minutes from the activities that create the most success and happiness.
Always heed the 4 D’s.
As many of you have just completed the annual rite of spring known as last-minute tax planning, procrastination and portfolio rebalancing, now might be a great time to hit the “pause” button for just a second.
Equity markets are at or near their all-time highs, interest rates are near their historical lows, inflation is in check and millions of Americans are expecting tax refunds. So why isn’t everyone racing out to purchase new yachts, cars and horses? Because they’re not all that secure, thanks to newfound uncertainty about trade wars, North Korea nukes the revolving door in the White House and interest rates poised to keep rising.
You probably don’t have time to go luxury good shopping anyway.
One of the most significant challenges we face in today’s fast-paced society is controlling our limited time. If you can develop better time management skills, you will have a leg up on your career, family relationships and/or retirement lifestyle. In addition to life coaches and time management experts, many wealth advisors can help you with time management as well—but it all starts with you.
Getting started on the right time management path
Good time management is a two-step process. First, you must clearly identify activities that only you can do and that add significant value to your day. Second, you must identify the time bandits that steal your limited time from the activities that really matter.
Top 8 time bandits
Here are some of the most common time bandits and remedies we see in our work among successful individuals and retirees.
1. Losing time due to lack of organization (specifically, prospect lists, meetings and personal calendars)
Plan and prepare for meetings, medical appointments media, even consultations with your tax and financial advisors with agendas, on-topic communication and hard stops for every meeting to respect everyone’s time.
2. Discussing market forecasts when all crystal balls are cloudy
As the old saying goes: “Everyone’s crystal ball is cloudy.” Why spend your limited time reading, viewing and participating in conversations related to forecasting?
3. Sending multiple emails instead of engaging in verbal communication
Ever notice a long chain of emails attached to one email? This is a great example of where a scheduled call could save time over a group of people typing email responses. Schedule the call and keep the time short. Avoid sending emails for every communication.
4. Losing time (and important information) to desk clutter
It is difficult to guess how much time is wasted by moving piles of paper around a cluttered office. Searching through piles of desk clutter for the critical information needed for a call or meeting requires time. The time-saver is to move toward an efficient paperless office with a system that still allows you to take files with wherever you go.
5. Browsing the Internet, including social media
Digital media usually starts out with a search for specific information, but it can quickly lead to a deep dark hole of distraction and procrastination. Instead, limit Internet browsing to a certain amount of time per day, much like a scheduled call or meeting. The way things are going, Facebook may be taking up less and less of your time.
6. Implementing technology tools before they are efficient
Attempting to use technology before it is fully installed or before your training is complete is a big time-waster. If it does not work properly, it is a time-waster. Using technology in this way could cause loss of data or excess data retrieval searching. This applies to everyone from busy professionals, to busy homemakers to retirees.
7. Completing administrative tasks
It is easy to drift away from your goals of the day by getting bogged down in administrative tasks that could be accomplished by someone else. I recommend avoiding these tasks by using the following four Ds:
Don’t do it if it is not worth anyone’s time.
Delegate it to someone else if it is worth doing, but not by you.
Defer if it can be done only by you, the wealth manager, but is also a task that can wait.
Do it now if it can be done only by you, but it must be done now.
The problem with administrative tasks occurs when we default to “do it now” without considering the other three options above.
8. Reading and replying to email on demand
Email has become one of our greatest tools—when it is properly used. If it is not properly managed, email becomes one of our greatest time-wasters. Successful people are not at their desks waiting to send the next email. I recommend setting aside scheduled time in the morning and afternoon to manage email. The same applies to text messaging. It doesn’t have to be instant! Also, I recommend the following approaches to managing incoming emails:
Delete the email without reading it if it is from an unwanted sender.
Scan the email if you are unsure of its content, then take the appropriate action.
Read the email and determine whether a reply is necessary.
Reply to the email only if required.
File the email only if it needs to be saved.
Save the email if it contains sensitive information.
There is a great deal of competition for your time and attention no matter what stage of life you are in. We have found that the happiest and most successful people determine the most valuable use of their time and avoid the time bandits that prevent their success.
Robert J. Pyle, CFP®, CFA is president of Diversified Asset Management, Inc. (DAMI). DAMI is licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Colorado Division of Securities, and its investment advisory representatives are licensed by the State of Colorado. DAMI will only transact business in other states to the extent DAMI has made the requisite notice filings or obtained the necessary licensing in such state. No follow up or individualized responses to persons in other jurisdictions that involve either rendering or attempting to render personalized investment advice for compensation will be made absent compliance with applicable legal requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. It does not constitute investment or tax advice. To contact Robert, call 303-440-2906 or e-mail email@example.com.
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