Wish you had more time to spend with clients?

If you’re like many other IAs, you do. Without question, it’s the most common problem IAs around the country tell me they have.

I used to have this problem, too. And I realized that I had to solve it if my practice were to grow. After all, having more time with clients would let me improve my relationship with them. Review meetings would be far more effective. Relationships would be stronger. And we’d gain more referrals. For sure, finding more time for clients would result in more clients and sharp increases in AUM.

So I realized it was important that I figure out how to find the time. And you’ll be glad to know that I found the solution. Even better, it’s one that you can implement as easily as I did.

I call it the 4D practice.

Let me explain how it works so you can use it too.

The First D: ‘Dump’
Begin by taking a critical look at every aspect of your practice. I did, and soon realized that an awful lot of what I was doing doesn’t really have to be done. At all. Ever.

You only think that it does.
Before you start to engage in any activity or task, simply ask yourself: If this doesn’t get done, will anyone notice? Will anyone care?

You’d be surprised how often the answer—if you’re truly being honest with yourself—is no. So take that task and dump it. You’ll be amazed at how much of your workload can be eliminated with no negative side effects.

How do you figure out what you’re doing that you can stop doing? Let me explain how I started. I tracked my day by logging my activities by five-minute increments. Sounds cumbersome and tedious (and it is), but it’s also shockingly revealing. I also had my team do this.

One colleague was complaining that he was struggling to get everything done. I had him write down exactly what he was doing every five minutes
of every day for one week.

We discovered, among other things, that he drank six cups of coffee daily. When I told him this seemed excessive, he explained that he didn’t really drink six cups. He only poured six cups. He’d drink half of one and the rest would grow cold, so he’d make another trip down the hall to get another hot cup. We mapped it out and found that he was spending 15 minutes per cup. It’s only a one-minute trip to the kitchen, but along the way he’d run into people and engage in a hallway conversation.

He wasn’t just shooting the breeze with them. They talked about business. But still, they were just talking, and this averaged 15 minutes, six times a day. That was 90 minutes out of his eight-hour workday.

Think about that: He was spending 20% of his time drinking coffee and chatting and then told me he didn’t have enough time to get all his work done!
Dumping is a wonderful time management tool. Try it.

The Second D: ‘Delay’
Obviously, there are some things you can’t dump. These things actually have to get done. But when?

Just because something needs to get done doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be done right away. Often, I’ve learned, you can delay it.

Do you ever find yourself engrossed in something that needs your full attention, only to get an e-mail or phone call? The inclination is to stop what you’re doing and deal with the intrusion. But that leaves you discombobulated. Your train of thought is gone; you’re no longer “in the zone,” and your productivity is shot.

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