Ask any successful advisor the key to his or her professional success and your likely to hear: “I learned early on how to get organized.” What is most challenging for many advisors in accomplishing business goals, though, is follow-through, according to industry coach Bob Arzt.
Most advisors make use of the common organizational apps and high-tech tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems to get organized.
Those tools can help with the initial organization, but not the follow-through.
According to Arzt, founder and president of Polaris One and InsuranceCoachU.com, one of the most frequent questions he receives as a coach from financial professionals is: “I don’t have enough time each day to accomplish everything that needs to get done. Can you help me?”
The people asking this question are not saying that they don’t know how to get organized, Arzt explained. Most people already know what to do to solve a problem or initiate a new goal or strategy.
But the way our mind works can get in the way following through on our goals or the promises we make to ourselves, Arzt explained.
“Basic human nature causes us to move in the direction of what gives us pleasure or to move away from what might cause us pain or become uncomfortable,” he said.
“Therein lies the problem,” Arzt added. “Overcoming this natural tendency of doing what feels good and not doing what doesn’t feel good is a real challenge.”
10 strategies to accomplish goals
Arzt offered 10 simple steps advisors can take to enhance their organizational skills and get psychologically ready to achieve their organization objectives.
Create bold and compelling reasons. Make it more painful not to move forward with your organization plan and accomplishing your goals by identifying compelling reasons to do so.
Start small. Get into the habit of getting started. Then build upon this habit by adding the required actions to achieve your result.
Reward yourself. Reward yourself for getting started and staying on track. “It takes energy to create new habits,” he explained. “You might experience some mental soreness. Be prepared for it.”
Strike while the iron is hot. Don’t delay. Get started.
Tough it out. Do whatever it takes to stay on track and accomplish goals for the first few weeks.
Focus. Consider cutting back on the number of projects you want to undertake.
Don’t go it alone. Ask associates to partner with you. Keep each other on track and accountable to your goal.
Make a promise. Find someone you would not want to disappoint and make a promise to them about your intention.
Exaggerate the consequences. Consider how bad you will feel if you do not get organized and accomplish your goals. “The more you exaggerate this consequence, the more likely you’ll follow through on your plan,” he said.
Believe to achieve. Arzt said this is perhaps the most important aspect of changing one’s behavior to accomplish your goals: “You become what you believe you can become and/or accomplish. Belief in the attainment of any goal, whatever it might be, is a critical requirement in the achievement of that goal, he added. Every strategy and tactic you have at your disposal to build belief should be deployed. Do whatever works the best for you, from writing out affirmations to visualization to giving yourself rewards for incremental progress. If you’re not sure what works best for you, try them all, he said.
5 strategies to improve organization
Now that the psychological issues surrounding how to accomplish your goals have been addressed, Arzt said that the next step is to look at some actions one take to improve organization and time-control issues.
These actions include:
What are your time-wasters? Identify all of your time-wasting activities and what is getting in the way of your being organized. For each time waster, create an action plan to either eliminate it or reduce its impact.
Define your workflow. Determine all of your necessary activities each week and allocate the ideal amount of time it takes to accomplish each one.
Create an ideal workweek. Physically block off time in your calendar each week to accomplish goals you identified earlier, along with the amount of time that is necessary to accomplish each activity.
Build some fail-safe time into your schedule. For example, block off every Friday afternoon as reserve time. “You can use this time to catch up on excess work or uncompleted tasks. If you’re totally caught up, you can head home early or reward yourself with something that gives you pleasure,” he said.
Time to review. Set aside time every day to review what you have accomplished today and plan for tomorrow.
As William James once said, “Nothing is as fatiguing as the continued hanging on of an uncompleted task,” Arzt pointed out. Now is the time to get organized and you can begin, he said, “by scheduling an appointment with yourself to write out the steps you will take to conquer your organization and time-control issues.”
Ayo Mseka has more than 30 years of experience reporting on the financial services industry. She formerly served as editor-in-chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at amseka@INNfeedback.com.
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