Time poor? Here are 5 simple time-saving hacks advisers can use to boost their productivity

As the new financial year gets underway, we look at 5 ways advisers can free up time for investment research, client outreach, and other revenue-generating activities.


1. Plan your day the night before

When we plan what we need to do, we are far more likely to get it done. Google’s executive productivity advisor, Laura Mae Martin, told Harvard Business Review that she always plans her day the night before. To start with, she writes down her top three priorities on The Daily Plan template she created. “Underneath the first priority, it says, ‘Until this first task is finished, everything else is a distraction.’ So that’s my one thing I need to get done.” She then uses the same template to plan her day at a micro-level, hour-by-hour.


2. The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique uses a timer to break down work into small, hyper-productive mini “sprints.” These are typically 25-minute intervals separated by short breaks. An article by LifeHacker outlines 5 play-by-play steps on how to use the Pomodoro Technique effectively:

  • Choose a task to be accomplished
  • Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  • Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  • Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  • Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break


3. Limit Distractions

We all know how distracting social media can be. A useful tool you can leverage to avoid distractions is your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature. This way, you can choose which notifications you see, and which notifications you don’t. Once you have created a distraction free environment, focus with intention. As Harvard Business Review suggests, “Try to shut off your own mental distractions so that you can zero in on checking items off your to-do list. It’s not enough to simply know that you need to focus; you have to apply yourself to the action you’re performing in the moment.”


4. “Eat the Frog”

This means to start your day with the biggest or hardest project first. The thought of tackling a big project can be daunting, and this feeling can cause us to procrastinate. However, by getting the toughest challenge resolved at the day’s onset, the rest of your day’s to-do list will seem like a breeze. As this article by 3C Social points suggests, “When you write out your to-do list, prioritize that most important thing by putting it at the top of your list. And then actually get it done first thing in the morning.”


5. Don’t multitask – singletask

According to a study from University of California, it can take us up to 23 minutes to get back to the task at hand after a notification has forced us to switch between tasks, so if you check your social media four times, that’s an entire hour gone. New York Times’ bestselling author Daniel José Older recommends the timer method in his Skillshare class when it comes to overcoming writer’s block. “Set your timer for 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes, and commit to writing words on the page for those 5 or 10 minutes nonstop, without thinking about it, and without trying to do it ‘right.’”


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