Jul 12 2022
How to maximize the time in your day
By Audrey Heng
Each day is filled with a fixed number of hours, and it is important to consider how one can effectively utilize these hours to make the most out of the time given. Increasing productivity enables you to gain more control over your day, get more done with less stress, and find more time for the things you love. Sean Chhan, a 10-year MDRT member from Singapore, shares three key strategies he employs to make the best use of his time each day.
1. Stay organized
First and foremost, Chhan emphasizes the importance of staying organized. A common, yet highly effective tool that helps him do so is his mobile phone’s calendar. Using it to keep track of his various appointments, team meetings, trainings, and more, this helps him keep an eye on his day-to-day tasks right at his fingertips. With a well-organized calendar, he is able to better manage his time, stay on top of his to-do lists and remain focused throughout the workday.
This is especially important as Chhan finds value in keeping his day occupied with activities outside of home. Therefore, having a clear view of his daily schedule gives him the visibility needed to plan his schedule accordingly. He adds, “My strategy to [maximize the time in my day] is to not stay at home. Even if my appointments get postponed or cancelled, I will still head out. I'll find a place to spend this time slot, even if it’s just scrolling my contacts. Oftentimes, I will aim to secure last-minute appointments with my contacts, such as a quick catchup over coffee. It is important to fill my time by meeting up with people as much as possible.”
2. Keep up the momentum
Finding motivation is an important part of staying productive. The nature of an advisor's job can sometimes appear repetitive, and this might make the client discovery process feel like a never-ending grind. Therefore, knowing ways to stay passionate in your role is critical to continue growing your practice and delivering excellent client service. Chhan recommends attending motivational talks, even from people who might not be of a similar profession. He takes note of certain speakers who resonate well with his beliefs, and revisit playbacks of their talks whenever he feels the need to reignite his motivation. By listening to their success stories, life philosophies, and approach to overcoming obstacles, Chhan actively forms key takeaways that can be translated into meaningful changes for his practice.
However, it is not always possible to stay motivated all the time. A motto Chhan heard years ago has stuck with him till today which is, “It is not possible to stay motivated all the time;, when you're not motivated,... stay disciplined.”. Self-discipline is what drives Chhan to consistently plan three to four appointments per day. “Depending on the nature of these appointments, I spend different amount of time preparing and discussing with clients. One around late morning to lunch, one to two in the afternoon, and one at night. I find it easier for myself when I segregate my time this way,” he adds.
3. Be proactive
Last but not least, Chhan emphasizes on the importance of being proactive. He explains, “Personally, activities breed productivity. Initially, when I was exploring ways to boost my productivity, I took part in many different activities, which I categorized into direct sales activities and in-direct sales activities. Direct sales activities include things like cold calling sessions and road shows. These are different from indirect sales activities that involve spending time on your hobbies while getting to know more people. For example, joining a team of cyclists for cycling can help you to get to know more friends, who might eventually turn into new leads as well. Gaining exposure from these different activities helped me identify which activities are most effective for me and my practice. From there, I could spend more time and effort on them, and put aside those that I felt are not as productive for me.”
Chhan reiterates the importance of trying out and initiating as many activities as possible. He believes that only by doing so will you then be able to effectively identify the specific activities that are most suitable for you, and in turn, determine the best way to maximize the value of your hours each day.
Increasing productivity can seem like a daunting endeavor, especially if you are not in the habit of systemically approaching tasks. However, as Chhan has shared, increasing productivity is a matter of self-discipline and finding what work’s best for you. Making minor adjustments each day can compound over time to help financial advisors optimize and make full use of the time you have each day.