Our first tip? Start time blocking. Set aside time throughout the day to specifically (and only) address email and voicemail.
Time blocking is one of the best and easiest ways advisors can improve productivity (and their quality of life), says Matt Halloran, an author and the president of Top Advisor Coaching.
“If you are constantly interrupted by email, the phone or staff, you will never produce high quality work,” he said. Instead, he says, advisors should allocate 15 minutes at a time, three times a day, to check and respond to email and voicemail.
Advisors can get stuck in a reactionary mode, but time blocking lets them think through responses and get into the flow of work. “This solves the stop-and-start nature of an advisor’s practice,” says Halloran. “A good 30-minute run at a project, plan or proposal can make all the difference.”
Beyond the benefits to advisors, he says, it’s also a “staff saver.”: Believe it or not, your staff may actually enjoy that break from you. “They love when an advisor has the door shut for a specific time block,” Halloran says.
In the end, it will do more than help you better manage your time, he says: “This will help your client relationships and increase your efficiency.”
Advisor and blogger Josh Brown (aka the Reformed Broker) goes one step further, arguing in his recent blog post that advisors should actually start ignoring emails that aren’t absolutely necessary to respond to. “It's okay to ignore them. Even the ones from people you know,” he writes.
How do you decide which emails to respond to? Brown says it’s simple. “When you see an email, ask yourself ‘is ignoring this going to keep me up at night and make me feel as though I've been careless or sloppy or cruel?,’" he wrote.
If not, let it go, he writes: “This frees you up to respond to clients, vendors, business partners and close friends and acquaintances with whom you're actively dialoging or making plans.”