As a financial advisor it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and overly busy. With clients, coworkers, staff, administrative work, and more, there can be a lot on your plate. Sometimes, there can be too much on your plate – and that can give you business heartburn. Maybe it’s time you examine your work diet to find some healthier alternatives.
What causes overwhelm and busyness for financial advisors?
Before you can take away the things that are causing you to feel overwhelmed and overly busy as a financial advisor, you probably want to know how those things came about in the first place. How did you get so overwhelmed and busy?
Although there can be many root causes, feeling overwhelmed can often stem from self-sabotaging behaviors. These are things you do to yourself, that while they might not seem bad, can actually have negative consequences. We’ve gone over these before, but here’s a brief review of some of them:
Mistaking activity for productivity – this is where doing work feels like getting things done, even though those aren’t the same thing. This can quickly lead to an overwhelming feeling.
Doing it all yourself – not having any assistance in your work, while it might give a sense of control over what you do, can lead to you having to do too much.
Not saying no – when someone offers you additional work or responsibilities, do you always say yes? If so, this can lead you to feeling overwhelmed.
Procrastination – doing many things before the things you really need to do can give a feeling that you are overly busy and don’t have time for your important work.
How can financial advisors deal with overwhelm and busyness?
Now that you know what can cause overwhelm and busyness for a financial advisor, how do you deal with it?
Financial advisors: get coaching
A good first step for a financial advisor is to seek out coaching. Coaching can help you identify the root causes individual to you that are causing your feelings of being overwhelmed and busy. It can also help you to find solutions that can help you to become less overwhelmed and more efficient.
This can especially be the case if you are a leader of your organization. Leaders often face additional challenges that can lead them to feeling very overwhelmed. Leadership coaching can be a good first step in working though the issues you, as a leader, might face.
Financial advisors: Make a list
One way to deal with feeling overwhelmed as a financial advisor is to list everything out that you have to do. Seeing it all on one piece of paper can have a number of benefits.
First, it can seem less overwhelming. Just knowing that you can write everything down, can make it seem like less.
Second, it can help you understand everything you need to do. You can see it all in one place and know what all of your obligations are.
Third, in can help to implement what I call the three “izes”: organize, prioritize, and strategize.
When you have your list of all that you need to do, the first step is to organize it. Put things into categories and subcategories. You can then figure out what goes together and what activities might really be the same thing. You can also note next to each activity how long it might take, when it needs to be done, if it is a one time or recurring thing, what type of activity it is, and how important it is.
With your organized list you can prioritize your activities. One method of prioritizing activities is to use a quadrant method.
In the quadrant method, you have four squares. Each square represents a level of importance and time sensitivity. Here is what one looks like:
Things in square one are more important and more time sensitive. You should do these things first.
Things in square four, are less important and less time sensitive. You should do these things last.
Things in square two are more time sensitive, but less important. Similarly, things in square three are more important, but less time sensitive. Depending on circumstances, you can decide which of these squares you focus on before the other.
Prioritizing things in this way can insure that you focus on what you really need to focus on and set aside things that you can.
Now that you’ve listed everything out, organized it, and prioritized it, you can now strategize it.
There are a number of ways you can strategize to feel less overwhelmed and less busy.
First, you can use the strategy of delegation. This goes back to not doing everything yourself. Maybe you can you delegate an important time sensitive task to someone else if you feel they can handle it. If you feel you should take care of those items, then you might delegate something that is in one of the other quadrants. Knowing someone else is going to take a burden off your shoulders can be relieving.
Second, you can use the strategy of getting through quick items first. Although this can turn into procrastination if you’re not careful, if you structure it right, it can help you to feel better. Imagine taking a list of fifty things, and by the afternoon, it is down to forty. That can be a relief. If you are worried about procrastination you can delegate the quick activities to someone else. This gives you two benefits in one.
Third, you can use the strategy of examination. You can look at the things on your list. Do you really need to be doing all of them? Are all of them really necessary? Is there a better way to do something? By taking some time, you can sometimes pare down your list of things to do and find better ways of doing things. Because things are organized and prioritized, you can see where the time wasters are. This can help you deal with the behavior of mistaking activity for productivity.
Fourth, you can use the strategy of staying focused. Once you have your organized, prioritized list, and a plan for going through it, you should stick to that plan. Don’t give into distractions or procrastinate. Stay focused on the plan.
Fifth, you can use the strategy of saying “no”. With an organized list, you can see where all of your obligations are. You know what you have to do and who you have to do it for. Seeing this, you can get a better understanding of your time obligations. With this perspective, you can know when it is appropriate to say no to additional tasks or obligations.
Financial advisors: implement time management
One way to deal with feeling overwhelmed and overly busy as a financial advisor is to learn the principles of time management. Time management helps you to see time in a new way, to block time for activities, and to figure out what’s really important to do.
A book you might want to check out is Time Management From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. The book provides practical advice for how you can organize the time in your life. It can help you to deal with the things that are making you feel overwhelmed and busy.
Financial advisors: focus on the inside
Although a lot of dealing with feeling overwhelmed and busy as a financial advisor involves focusing on tasks and work, you might also want to take time to focus on the inside. At some level, you’re dealing with your response to what is going on in your business life. If you can focus on this response, you can improve how you feel.
One thing you might try is meditation. Meditation can help you improve your mood, feel less stressed, and see things more clearly. This can help you deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Sometimes just talking about something can help you to feel better about it and deal with it in a new way. You might talk to your spouse, a coworker, a therapist, or a coach. While you might get advice from who you talk to, part of the benefit can come simply from saying how you feel out loud.
When you are feeling overwhelmed at work, it can be easy to let your health go. You don’t sleep enough, you don’t eat right, and you don’t find time to exercise. The problem is, these things only make the sense of feeling overwhelmed worse.
More than one person has said, “You only have one body. Take care of it.” It is important to take care of yourself if you want to take care of your work. You might be surprised that by spending time on your health it actually can make you more productive at work.
Sometimes you need to step away from work. This is good. It can help you to feel more relaxed and it can help you to refocus.
Although you might think of breaks as vacations, you can also benefit from small breaks. Sometimes just not working through lunch can be enough to help improve your mood. Find times to take a break so you can be your best when you are working.
There are many things that can lead to a financial advisor feeling overwhelmed and too busy. The profession, at times, can put a lot on your plate. As you know, having too much on your plate, can sometime cause heartburn.
Take some time to examine your work diet and to implement the healthier strategies above. By taking a little time now, you can save yourself time, from stress, and yes, you might even have a little less business heartburn too.