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3 ways to harness the concept of time

Matt Pais

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Simple steps for time management for yourself and your clients.
There are never enough hours in the day. Time is of the essence. Time is money. There are so many clichés about having limited time and the importance of maximizing our time, and yet many still struggle with prioritizing and focusing effectively. If you are one of these people, consider the following process to identify how you spend your time and improve your efficiency:
  • Record your typical work week, broken down into 15-minute increments.
  • Write down each activity, the time it happens and how long it takes. Also note your mood during the activity and the value of the task.
  • Log these activities for two to three weeks.
  • Eliminate or delegate jobs.
  • Minimize task-switching.
  • Analyze your time every three months.
  • Eliminate low-value activities, schedule tasks appropriately and reduce personal activities to boost your productivity.

Obviously, a person can’t entirely detach from the world. But when Cameron Bryant, a seven-year MDRT member from Christchurch, New Zealand, travels, he comes very close to it. On trips, his fiancée brings her phone to use for emergencies; Bryant, meanwhile, deliberately leaves his phone behind. “People think I’m crazy,” he said about traveling without his phone to places like Fiji.

Bryant takes three months off each year, including a minimum of two weeks per quarter. “It’s really important to recharge, refresh and get focused again on what’s next,” he said. “Otherwise you take a holiday at your desk or spend too much time on your phone while you’re on holiday, and no one wants that.”

When he’s working, he’s working hard. But when he’s away, he’s really away, not making any business calls or checking email. “I told my colleagues that even if the place burns down, I don’t want to hear from them,” he said. “Just put an insurance claim in.”

Travis D. Manning, CFP, CLU, has seen increased engagement from many millennial clients. The eight-year MDRT member from Caledonia, Ontario, Canada, also recognizes the importance of respecting the knowledge they have. “I’ll say, ‘I’m sure you’ve read about this; let me know your understanding of it,’ and I think they really respect that I want to hear what they know,” he said. “I’m not just saying, ‘This is what I know because this is what I do every single day.’”

Encouraging the dialogue
This applies even if some of the information is wrong, in which case Manning will tell the clients they have a great understanding while pointing out the elements that are just a little different than how they were described. “I really encourage them to engage in dialogue with me because they feel like they’re part of the process,” he said. “They want to feel validated and not that someone thinks they’re a dumb kid.”

While some millennial clients may think the idea of retirement seems distant and unnecessary to plan for now, Manning communicates how fast life can go by. He recently attended a friend’s wedding and was startled to realize that meeting him in college meant that they’d been friends for 20 years. “I tell clients, ‘That’s going to happen to you,’” he said. “You might already think of the people from high school and that they never change, but five years have already gone by.

That’s how retirement happens. Five, 10, 15 years go by so fast you don’t realize it’s happening. So you’ve got to start thinking about it now.”


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