Covey Time Management Grid

Time Management

We had a great live “Zoom” meeting of my newest members today focusing on Time-Management.

There are many great books on the subject. However my favorites would be 7-Habits of Highly Effective People (or, First Things First) by Stephen Covey,  No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity by Dan Kennedy, and The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.

There are take-aways from each.

For daily activity I use Covey’s Time-Management grid constantly (see above.)   Looking at each and every activity as “Important or Non-Important” and, “Urgent or Not Urgent.” I have seen many advisors who end up with way too much time taken up with “urgent and not-important” activities. One way to think about this is to remember that both terms “urgent” and “Important or not” are relative to accomplishing your goals and objectives. Not from the perspective of whomever is interrupting or urging you to give them your attention at any given moment.

I reviewed an advisor’s schedule a few days ago and compared it with mine. His day had something like 32 items to do on it at the start of the day and was riddled with interruptions. He had phones ringing, texts pinging, email notifications going all day while talking on a meeting with me on Zoom.

In my case:  ALL Notifications on my IPhone 12 Pro Max are turned off.  Occasionally I wear an Apple watch.  Again, ALL Notifications turned on. Texts and Calls from anyone not in my “Favorites List” ignored. Texts and calls from unrecognized numbers in a separate folder never to be seen. No email notifications. Basically, I don’t personally use email – it has an autoresponder with my pulling my hair and directing people a different direction it they email me (an idea borrowed from Ferris.)

No one walks into my office. All appointments pre-scheduled with start time and end time (from Dan Kennedy’s book.) I could go on and on – but, time booked for client meetings, prospective client meetings, or blocked for productive activities. Another great book by the way is Deep Work (Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World) by Cal Newport.

It’s difficult at first to stop yourself from being “Busy being Busy.” Pretty much all technology any more is designed to be like a slot machine. To be addictive. To constantly demand your attention.

I did an interview with Lee Milteer for her clients a few weeks ago.  Something that she pointed out on the subject was from my book The Way of the Mile High Maverick.  She pointed out that in programs created by her and in all of the various programs she’d created she had never seen the following point before: “You are wasting your time in any time not spent with clients (or, prospective clients) or team members.”  Now clearly that point was over-stated but the amount of time that advisors spend confusing activity with accomplishment is astounding. Much of it is in the form of pretending to market. 

Well, this is a BIG topic but I might leave you with a couple of thoughts:
First, Eliminate the “Open Door.”
Second, Educate clients and staff on “Terms of Engagement.”  Make sure none expect immediate, or even quick response to email, text or other instant messaging.
Third, Do EVERYTHING by appointment.  Set a start and end time.
Fourth, adopt simple technologies that simplify client engagement while eliminating personal time commitment.
Finally, stop trying to automate everything.  You’ll save more time through elimination than you ever will through automation.

Well, more for another day….

BTW:  Happy to share my book “The Way of the Mile High Maverick,”  absolutely free at