In this Episode of the Perfect RIA Podcast:

Hosts Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski differentiate true work from pretend work.


When Matthew compares financial advisors to NFL players, he is not being arrogant. Nor is he saying that advisors are inherently superstars. He simply states that the average NFL player is only in motion an estimated 11 minutes per game.

Just 11 minutes!

Stretched out an entire season, that is one heck of an hourly rate per player.

In a similar manner, a financial advisor is most effective when working at the same sort of clip. Instead of 60 hour workweeks, smaller bursts of office time, client meetings, and prospecting are much more efficient.

Of course advisors work more than 11 minutes per week, as do football players. There are considerable amounts of time spent in preparation, practice, the busy-work of the early years, maintenance, and more. But all of those tasks should have led to the ability to do an inordinate amount of work in a little time.

You go in, do your work effectively, and leave. A football player can’t pretend to work when it’s gametime. Don’t pretend to work, actually work.

And as Matt and Micah demonstrate, many of the most successful advisors have learned to channel their time in as productive a way.  

Enough about football though. Let’s look at a couple of ways you can learn to channel efficiency and really work over just pretending to work.

#1 Take Ownership of How You Spend Your Time

You really need to spend how you analyze your day. Matt and Micah have said it before in previous episodes, but limiting distractions and pop-ups is key for productivity.

They suggest making a list of all of the things that aren’t producing value to your firm or clients. If you are reading the Wall Street Journal while in office, you are not spending your time in a valuable way.

Micah also suggests that you ask yourself, “Am I doing something that is worth a $1,000 an hour right now?” If you have figured out a way to make playing solitaire a lucrative usage of your time then definitely continue doing so. But for others, playing games on the computer means you are probably avoiding a project that will bring you massive value to your clients and firm.

Both hosts will remind you in this episode about buckling down and really working. Don’t pretend to work. Don’t ignore the work you are distracting yourself from. Do it anyways. Put forcing mechanisms into place that limit your social media usage and distractions. And most importantly, take ownership of how you spend your time. That is always a great place to start.

#2 Get Out of the Office

As Matt and Micah state, they are annoyed by shared assumptions of advisors’ work schedules. Incessant work might be required in the early stages, but it is not gospel once the groundwork has been laid.

A ‘first to arrive and last to leave’ mentality isn’t always applicable. Instead, and paradoxically so, not working is absolutely great for your overall productivity.

Again, this episode is about pretending to work. This means that when you show up to the office, you are actually working. You aren’t wasting time, watching the clock, telling yourself you have to work 12 hours to keep up appearances.

That will lead to burnout. And if you are burned out, you won’t be bringing your A-game to your clients. Your work will suffer and your productivity will waver. And because advisors are in the business of helping people transform their lives, you as a burned out advisor are not bringing the necessary empathy, communication, and finesse needed.

Don’t pretend to work. You should take a vacation regularly. Even if it means that you force yourself, or your friends, spouse, or team members remind you the value of getting out of the office to refresh yourself.

You need to be well-rested and ready to truly bring value to your clients. Not working instead of pretending to work is much more effective.

Check out the Episode for Yourself!

For much more on the value of actually working over pretending to work, listen to the episode for yourself. Matt and Micah have action steps, more recommendations, anecdotes, and examples. Really do check it out. Be sure to refer to the show notes for the action steps and an outline of what is discussed.