Find More Time in your Day

Time is valuable

Time is a commodity that you cannot get back no matter how hard you try.  There is only so much of it in a day. If you're reading this exercise then you are looking for ways to maximize your time and be more productive. 

For financial and investment professionals, working smarter, not harder means learning to take control of how you spend your time.

Use the tips in this article to quiz yourself and then use the worksheet at the end of the article to find more time in your day.

Read this companion article Tips for Getting Organized at Work because time and organization are very closely linked!

Advantages of Time Management

The worksheet below is designed so that you can find time you didn’t know you had. I hope to motivate you to reduce waste and disorganization and ultimatelyhelp you to reduce stress by delegating activities that are not essential to building your career or your business.

Worksheet Instructions:

1. Print off this article

Enter appointments and categorize your time on the worksheet at the end of this article

For a one week period enter your appointments and how you spend your time on the chart below.  Include everything you do on this worksheet. 

Enter your:

  • Billable time/project work/client meetings
  • Administration - busy work such as filing, accounting, bill paying, and clerical work
  • Research time/reading
  • Commuting
  • Vendor appointments
  • Training/seminars
  • Networking events
  • Working ON Your profession: skill building/strategies/marketing plans/future goals
  • Personal time
  • Self care -workouts, taking care of yourself
  • Meals/snacks/breaks
  • Time spent on "free" or pro bono jobs

2. Analyze where you spend your time

At the end of the week, analyze where you spent your time and brainstorm ways you can be more productive.  Remember, if you are doing busywork rather than billable work, you are not maximizing your time and revenue. 

Did you spend your time in unproductive meetings? Was your presence necessary for each meeting?

If you own your business, determine your hourly rate.  If your hourly rate is $200/hour and you are spending 2 hours a week on bookkeeping, you spend $1600 a month on activities that could be delegated for $30/hour.  You are missing out on potential earnings.

3. Keys to Successful Time Management

Self knowledge and goals: In order to manage your time, it's important to develop a consciousness of your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Where are you going with your career?

Prioritize your activities.  Always ask yourself: What is the most valuable use of my time? If your goal is to earn make more money, you must focus on activities that will help you do this.

Develop and maintain a flexible schedule: Time management gives you the opportunity to create a timetable that works for you, not for others. This personal awareness gives you the flexibility to include the things that are most important to you.

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4. I completed the worksheet.  Now what?

Identify Your Free Time and Determine What You're Going to Do with It

  • Figure out where you wasted time – what could you have delegated?
  • Decide what you are not going to do anymore. What is a waste of time? Stop doing it!
  • Assign time for self improvement
  • Assign time to work ON your business or career
  • Use large blocks of time for major tasks, smaller blocks for smaller jobs
  • Schedule regular breaks and rewards for completing a task
  • Schedule fun activities - leisure, going out with friends, eating out, visiting family, hiking, watching movies

Time Management Tips and Ideas:

manage your time
  • Have you found “secret time” you didn’t know you had?
  • Do you think that there is enough time to do everything?
  • Is your schedule so full that it cannot accommodate all the demands on your time?
  • If you are doing any "free" or pro bono work STOP right now.  Politely eliminate free work one project at a time and learn not to take on any new projects or requests unless there is a check attached.
  • Learn to say "no" to new requests without GUILT
  • Are some of your meetings needless? 
  • Could you make some of your appointments by phone rather than in person to eliminate wasteful commuting?
  • Check email and voicemail only two or three time during the day.
  • Learn not to check or respond to email and voicemail after 6pm during the week and not at all on weekends.  You need time to regenerate and recharge your batteries.  Checking and responding to email and voicemail is an addiction you must learn to break. It is more important to live your life than work your life.
  • Are you calculating the actual number of hours you are spending on client projects (include work time and meeting time)?  Do you know your true hourly rate? Are you getting paid what you are worth?

Ask yourself the following time management questions daily:

  • What is the most valuable use of my time?
  • What are my goals for today?
  • What are the actions I ABSOLUTELY need to take to be effective in my career or business?
  • Am I being "busy" to look busy or am I getting important things done?
  • Am I coming up with needless actions in order to avoid the most effective or scary actions?
  • Am I performing duties that could be delegated?

Time Management Worksheet

 

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Next: Hire Suzanne as your Professional Coach

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