Keep your work life and personal life separate.
We live in a world driven by technology. For better or worse, we can get in touch with anyone instantly. However, having a line constantly open to clients — whether you communicate through phone calls or emails — can make it hard for you to keep your work life and home life separate.
With the recent boom in remote working, many people — including your clients — may have forgotten that behind the screen, they are communicating to real people with real lives outside of work. So, as a financial advisor, it’s your job to enforce boundaries for the sake of your well-being. Today, we’re going to discuss how to do so.
Why Should I Separate My Work & Home Life?
Maintaining a good work-life balance helps you burn through your tasks more quickly.
If you work at an office, focusing on work tasks without doing any personal tasks or home tasks can help you finish all your work for the day before clocking it. And that means that when you get home, you can enjoy the rest of your day without worrying about unfinished tasks.
If you’re a financial advisor working from home, setting boundaries between your work and home life becomes even more critical. You don’t have a commute to mark the clear end to your workday. So, you might easily find yourself finishing projects into the late hours of the night. Only a conscious effort to set boundaries between work and life can fix this.
Have you ever had clients call you late at night when you’re already in bed? Then you know that a lack of boundaries between your personal life and professional life as a financial advisor can lead to stress and its symptoms; you may experience aches, fatigue, nausea, and high blood pressure due to the stress.
Creating boundaries between your responsibilities and the rest of the day allows you to relax at home after office hours in peace — without the fear of getting an unwanted phone call.
Improved Well-being & Health
A good work-life balance gives you better control over your daily schedule. For example, you’ll spend less time working late at night, so you’ll have more time to exercise, cook good meals, meditate, or just enjoy a night back enjoying Netflix.
Improved Home Life
If you have a partner/spouse and kids, making sure your work doesn’t eat into your personal time becomes doubly important. If you create clear boundaries, you can give both your work tasks and your home life the attention they deserve.
How Do I Set Financial Advisor Boundaries?
Now that you know why you should set boundaries, let’s talk about some clear steps you can take to do so.
Conduct an Audit
The first step you’ll need to take is to conduct a boundary audit. For about a week or so, be more aware of your interactions with your clients. What situations cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety? Write these down.
Now that you have a general idea of where you need to put boundaries, it’s time to set clear limits. For example, if you notice that late-night phone calls from clients ruin your evening, you can set a limit by not answering phone calls beyond six in the evening.
Of course, your clients aren’t mind readers; you’ll need to communicate your new boundaries to them confidently and clearly.
Continuing from the earlier example of late-night phone calls, you should tell your clients upfront when exactly they can expect you to be available for work conversations. It’s essential to set clear boundaries so that there can be no questions about what’s acceptable and unacceptable.
Don’t Check Emails the Moment You Wake Up
If you want clients to respect your boundaries, you’ll need to practice what you preach — respect your own boundaries.
Heading over to your computer and checking your emails the moment you wake up is a mistake. Even if you just want to get an idea of what kind of conversations you’ll need to reply to later in the day, it’s a bad idea; you can easily get sucked in and inadvertently start your workday too early.
Instead of running to your laptop the moment you get up, consider going through a morning routine. Grabbing a cup of coffee or fitting in a quick workout can serve as a good buffer between getting out of bed and starting your workday. If you work at an office away from home, don’t even bother checking your emails until you get to the office.
Communicate Via Email
If you’re an independent financial advisor, you’re already one step ahead of the game. You have the luxury of deciding what your primary means of communication with your clients will be.
To support the boundaries you’ve set between work life and personal life, it would be best to use email as your primary means of communication. This way, unlike with phone calls, you won’t be forced to drop everything you’re doing to converse with clients immediately.
Even if your clients prefer to text or call you, try emailing them back. Many clients would be more than willing to reply through email and, in many cases, end up realizing that email is more convenient for everyone.
Reply Only a Few Times Each Day
Now that you’ve (hopefully) migrated all of your client communications to email, the next step is to avoid getting caught in the trap of always being buried in your inbox.
Email is a wonderful tool because it allows you to reply at any time; it isn’t an instant messaging service. So, it’s all right — and even encouraged — to let emails pile up for a few hours and check them in batches at specific times each day. This way, you can finish your important tasks more quickly and have more free time in the evening.
Use Out-of-Office Replies
Out-of-office replies are helpful even if you aren’t on vacation. You can set up an automatic out-of-office email reply for the hours when you won’t be checking email during the day.
When you’re setting up your automatic response, start with a short greeting and explain why the sender is getting this automated response. For instance, you could say you’re engaged with client work at the moment but will respond today after 3 pm or whatever time you’ve set for reading emails.
Get a Separate Client Phone
Getting a separate client phone may sound like a hassle initially, but it’ll save you hours of stress down the line.
If you have a client who makes phone calls at odd hours and tends to intrude on your personal time — but is a good client otherwise — you may consider getting a separate phone dedicated to the clients who always tend to call at odd hours.
Having a separate client phone for your clients who often call late at night allows you to give the client the attention they need while having the option to switch off the client phone when you need time for yourself.
Proactively Suggest Meeting Times
Your client’s schedule should always come first. But, if possible, proactively suggest certain times to meet with your client. By taking the initiative to suggest possible times, you’re effectively dropping inconvenient hours from the options.
For your proactive suggestions to work, you’ll need to be specific. For example, if your client suggests a meeting, reply with a particular date and time and ask them if that works for them. To be safe, you can also suggest alternative times that, of course, work well with your schedule. This establishes that certain days and hours are better for you than others.
Prepare for Pushback
Once you start setting up and strictly enforcing healthy boundaries, you can expect demanding clients to react negatively — this is good; it’s a sign that the boundary you set is necessary and that it’s effective.
Now that your boundaries and systems are well-established, it would be helpful to visualize clients crossing your boundaries. Doing so will allow you to think of how you’ll address these situations. This way, if a client does cross a boundary — and they will — you’ll be able to handle the situation rationally and calmly.
There’s more to running your business as a financial advisor than marketing your services, getting prospects to hire you, and delivering quality work — although these are all important.
Besides the aforementioned aspects of a successful financial advisory firm, however, is effective client relationship management. Under client relationship management is setting boundaries to help you feel in control of both your personal and professional life.
If you’re planning on running a successful business long-term, you’ll need to know how to avoid burning yourself out. Showing your clients that you have boundaries has many benefits. First, you’re showing professionalism and that your time is valuable. Second, you allow yourself to enjoy the time off that you deserve.
Apply the tips we’ve listed above, and you’ll be well on your way to setting boundaries that both you and your clients will respect. Gone will be the days of staying up late just to squeeze in some leisure time because your professional life took up too much of your day.
And to learn more about growing and nurturing your financial advisory business, check out the other blog posts on my website. If you’d like to take your growth even further, consider scheduling a consultation and working alongside me as your coach to guide you on your path to success.
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