Staying on task can be a challenge for even the most dedicated of workers. As a financial professional, you have so much to keep track of – client appointments and records, staff meetings, marketing your practice – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Luckily, there are some great apps and programs out there to help you manage your time. Here are five of the best productivity tools for financial advisors and agents.
1) Microsoft To Do
Microsoft has done it again with their To Do app. Like the rest of the products in the Office suite, To Do is available for Android and Apple devices, Windows 10, and online. Sign in with your Microsoft account to access great features like to do lists, project breakdowns, and a daily schedule.
Microsoft To Do is a great app for both home and the office. You can create lists for different purposes: groceries, work tasks, books you’ve been meaning to read…the possibilities are endless. This program is perfect for advisors who prefer a simple interface to keep track of daily tasks and schedules.
Slack is one of the most popular team communication tools. It’s used by all sorts of big brands, including AirBnB, Target, and TD Ameritrade, and offers integrations for other popular apps and programs.
Slack allows you to create “channels” for different sects of your team. Channels are sort of like chatrooms where team members can send messages, documents, and more. You can create channels based on specific projects, teams, topics, or any other distinction. Slack is an excellent program for coordinating large teams.
If you prefer to stay in the Microsoft suite, Teams is a great alternative with similar features.
3) Project management
For larger scale operations, particularly those that are project based, platforms like Trello and Teamwork are amazing for staying organized.
Trello is a very visual, dashboard-based program that allows you to easily track and manage ongoing projects. You can break projects up into individual tasks and check them off as you go – kind of like a more sophisticated to do list.
Teamwork is also project-based. It has similar features but is less visual in some ways. Teamwork has a simple, easy-to-navigate interface that allows you to assign tasks to different users. You can track time, move and adjust tasks, and monitor team productivity.
This can be a great productivity tool for financial professionals without a support staff. Evernote allows you to compile notes and documents in one place – it even allows you to scan documents with your phone or tablet. You can also share projects and files with team members (if you have them). Evernote is great for staying organized, especially in a paperless environment.
This is a free browser extension from Google Chrome. StayFocusd blocks websites and different kinds of content to help you…well, stay focused. Let’s say you have a bad habit of check sports news or celebrity gossip during the day. As fun as checking your newsfeed is, these activities can keep you from getting work done. StayFocusd (and apps like it) allows you to set time limits for specific sites. Once your time is up, that’s it – you can no longer access the distracting content, meaning you have no choice but to focus on your work.
If you have a problem with constantly checking your phone, you can set similar restrictions for specific apps. For example, if you spend a lot of time on Reddit during the day, you can ask your phone to limit you to only 15 minutes a day. Once that time is up, the app is inaccessible.
Both of these options allow you to add time if you need it, but StayFocusd offers a “nuclear mode,” which will block you from specified sites after your time is up. No cancelling, no exceptions. It’s a great way to limit your non-work-related social media intake during the workday.
Other Productivity Tips
If you’re more old-school, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to keep yourself productive without turning to technology. There are a few rules of thumb that can help you get more done during the day:
- Make a checklist. You’ll feel more accomplished when you cross items off.
- Do the biggest or most difficult task first. If you’re dreading something, just get it over with. Don’t spend the whole day procrastinating it.
- Turn off your phone (and any non-essential electronics). Put it on do not disturb mode at the very least.
- Take breaks. You’re not a robot. Sometimes you need a few minutes to zone out.
- Cut down on clutter. It’ll keep you focused and decrease stress.
- Say no when you can. Need we say more?
Remember, it’s normal to struggle with productivity sometimes, especially around the holidays (although some experts suggest that the “holiday slump” is a productivity booster). Think about why you got into this business in the first place. Remind yourself that growth only happens when you put the work in, and get to it.