The ClientWise Blog

Financial Advisors: Staying Focused in an Unruly, Distracting World

Posted by Chris Holman on Oct 2, 2013, 10:52:00 AM

Have you found the recent headlines distracting?
Do you feel that you are spending too much time following the maddening back-and-forth that is emanating from our nation’s capitol?


It’s a tricky balance for financial advisors because many of your clients expect you to be current and up-to-date on world events, yet is it possible that you are staying too “current”?


If you have found that your attention of late has run amok, what follows are simple reminders of steps that you can take to corral your focus:


  • Prioritize your daily tasks. You can improve your focus by tackling the big jobs first and leaving the small stuff till later. Make a list of what tasks are the most important. Your "A List" might include anything with a deadline of today or tomorrow. The "B List" would consist of projects needing to be completed next week, while the "C List" catches loose ends like checking your email.
  • Manage your email. Even the most focused individuals can quickly be led astray by the incessant ping-ping-ping of incoming emails. But if a person is already prone to distraction, these incoming signals can derail the whole day. Rather than read email as it comes in all day and night, set aside specific periods of time to do this. One other tip: don’t automatically sign on to your email first thing in the day, especially if you have a must-do project at hand.
  • Limit other distractions. Duh, right? However, persistent voice mails, the 24/7 availability of the Internet, and even casual conversations outside your office can drive you to distraction and away from the work at hand. As with emails, set aside specific times to check and answer voice mail messages.
  • Turn off the TV in your office. Talking heads in the background can be especially distracting. Is it really necessary for you to have the TV on constantly? Is it helping move your business forward? If not, why is it on?
  • Take notes. Taking notes in a meeting or while you're on the phone can help you remember items later. You can also use the notes to highlight new items for your A, B and C lists.
  • Surround yourself with organized people. Many successful and organized people have one thing in common: They've set up the right supports. That means getting really "together" people around you who are really well organized themselves and who like to organize their day.


Here’s the other thing. Focus seems to be rapidly becoming the scarcest commodity of the 21st Century. Indeed, providing focus and organization for clients’ complicated financial lives is one of the real (and less widely recognized) benefits that financial advisors provide.

But it’s hard to be of much help to your clients if you aren’t terribly focused yourself. 


By the way, if you are curious as to your own time management and productivity skills, download the ClientWise Learning tool below:



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Topics: Organizing Priorities