Despite what the Rolling Stones said about time, most of us feel just the opposite, whether it’s in business or our personal lives. I bet if we replayed a tape of our daily conversations, one of the most frequently used phrases would be “I don’t have time.” But is that really true?
Perhaps our sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and personal joy has more to do with how we choose to use our time than it does with the actual number of hours available. Instead of “I don’t have time,” maybe it would be more accurate to say, “I don’t make time for the things in life that I say are important.” Or even more fundamental, “I don’t have time because I never really sit down and clarify what’s most important in the first place.”
Strapped for Time? Pare Down Your List
At the start of a new year, it’s tempting to overestimate what you can get done in the next 12 months. Whether it’s your bucket list, your business plan, or your personal to-do list, being realistic and carefully deciding what deserves your attention is a critical first step to freeing up your time.
Many advisers make yearly to-do lists that are nearly impossible to complete: form a partnership, find a new adviser or two and get them up to speed, grow production and increase profitability, move to a model management system, hire a new support person, enhance the culture of the firm, sign a continuity agreement with another adviser, open a branch office, and so on. Add that hefty list of tasks to your ongoing responsibilities—tending to client needs, nurturing staff, dealing with the daily surprises of business and life, and maintaining your own sense of balance—and it may be a bit much!
Setting a stretch goal or two is a good idea, but stretching everything and everyone around you isn’t likely to be a successful long-term strategy. It’s been shown that achieving goals helps create a habit of achieving more goals in the future. When we overextend in every area, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
Why not position yourself for success in 2015 by putting fewer tasks, projects and goals on your list in the first place? Whether you’re planning what to do with a day, a week, a month or a year, if you carefully focus on what’s most important, you may discover that time really is on your side.
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network