Financial advisors and others who are working at home need a morning routine just as if they were still traveling to an office, according to Sarah Vita, a business and wellness coach for Equitable Advisors.

Advisors can become deluged with emails and with clients who need to be contacted each day to the point where they lose sight of their own needs, but there are ways to combat this problem, said Vita, who focuses on sales and performance building for financial professionals.

“Advisors have a unique challenge because every client should be hearing from his or her advisor during times like these,” Vita said in an interview with Financial Advisor magazine. “Advisors need to reach out to all clients to check on their well-being,” as well as their finances. “But this can lead to working harder for longer hours and forgetting about themselves.”

“A financial planner should not try to be a lone wolf and do everything,” she added. “They have insights that the clients may not have thought of and they should pass them along” but accept help in doing that.

“Design your ideal morning ritual—one that will prepare you for the challenges of the coming day, ground you in your values and beliefs, and help you plan for how you will seize the day, rather than let it happen to you,” Vita said in a written comment. “Include anything you wish—workouts, reading, connection with family or friends, calendar review, and anything else that’s important to you. For best results, complete your ritual before diving into the black hole that is your inbox.”

“Get the morning walk, strength training or yoga in before you start working, just like when you were going to the office. Decide if you are ‘crazy busy’ or ‘happy busy’ If you are crazy busy, make some changes and you will serve clients better,” she added. “Keep a short list of priorities for each day—not a long one” that is overwhelming. “A sense of accomplishment is a key” to working successfully, she added.

An end time also should be set so that the work does not just drag on into the night because there will always be more tasks to do, she said. Being purposeful can give a person energy to get more done in less time rather than trying to work too long and getting bogged down, she said.

Part of that routine should be thinking positively rather than negatively. If negative thoughts keep occurring, actively change them to positive ones, she advised. For instance, she said, change “When will things get back to normal?” to “This pandemic has made me so agile, I will carry these learnings forward.” Or “It’s just crazy busy” to “I’m helping more people now than ever.”

What you think is what you feel, Vita added. 

 Meditation and keeping a journal also are often useful during times of stress and can work for overwhelmed advisors as well the general population, she said.

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