After coming back from a vacation to Europe this week, I immediately tried to filter through the 1,500 or so emails that piled up in my inbox. But a recent Harvard Business Review blog post says that’s not how you should spend your time on your first day back. Peter Bregman, head of management consulting firm Bregman Partners, writes that the first day back from vacation provides leaders with an opportunity: “Coming back from vacation isn’t simply about catching up. It’s about getting ahead.”
Time management is, perhaps, one of the biggest challenges for a financial advisor, especially those running their own business. Independent advisors have to wear many hats—compliance officer, investment manager, marketer, information technology, human relations, etc. They’re doing all this while trying to focus on their clients.
Of course, vacations always help a person to recharge and step away from the day-to-day operations. And Bregman suggests that this is the perfect time to have the most impact on a business. It makes sense that stepping back from the day-to-day busy-ness of running a business helps one focus on the big picture—the overall goals and direction of the organization. In addition, people have been trying to reach you while you’ve been out, so they are more influential than ever, Bregman says.
What’s Bregman’s advice? He says to identify three to five things that will have a major impact on the business:
How should you do it?
1. Be very clear about your three to five things. Write them down and choose your words carefully. Read them aloud. Do you feel articulate? Succinct? Clear? Useful? Will they be a helpful guide for people when they’re making decisions and taking actions?
2. Use them as the lens through which you look at – and filter – every decision, conversation, request, to do, and email you work through. When others make a request, or ask you to make a decision, say them out loud, as in “Given that we’re trying to accomplish X, then it would make sense to do Y.”
If an email doesn’t fit into one of your three to five priorities, move on, Bregman says. If an advisor is going to run an efficient business, they have to filter out the noise and focus on what matters most—serving clients and growing the business.