The Pitfalls of Busyness: How to Alter Your Shopkeeper Mentality [Episode 8]

In this Episode of the Perfect RIA Podcast:

Matt and Micah discuss the important distinction between being busy and staying productive.


In this talk, Micah Shilanski and Matthew Jarvis let listeners know that there is a definite difference between being a shopkeeper and a CEO. As they state, so often CEO’s find their day swallowed up by busy-work that doesn’t bring value to their practice. Instead of blocking time and keeping the time-wasters away from the desk or desktop, they fill their workdays with tasks that are not conducive to the overall goals they envision for their company. There are only so many hours in the day, and having an open-to-close mindset for your practice is unneeded and unproductive. Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski know the consequences of having a shopkeeper mentality all too well. They see it in other practices and have to stifle it themselves. It takes considerable practice to stay focused on productivity and to ask one’s self if the task that is being completed is ultimately bringing value to the firm or is just masquerading as valuable work.

 

Matthew and Micah then offer up tips and strategies for keeping advisors on the right track during perhaps the most important part of this episode. The first of these tips for ending any tempting proclivities to become a shopkeeper over a CEO is to eliminate pop-ups and distractions: email, alerts, or just pop-ins with employees where conversations about football can dominate the large half of thirty minutes.

 

The number two tip from Matthew and Micah is to ban what Matthew calls “vices.” These are the “guilty pleasure” time-wasters that you find yourself automatically reverting to. Maybe you have a habit of checking sports scores or fantasy football stats throughout the day; Or without fail, you always have a few tabs open up in your browser with a couple of your social media profiles chugging along in the background. The point being that if you are going to try your best to force yourself to be productive over busy, you need to start putting into place what Matt and Micah have dubbed “forcing mechanisms”, which are systems put in place as a way of forcing yourself to adhere to guidelines that will help your practice and keep productivity in the forefront of your mind. So, instead of submitting to the time-wasters every day and perpetually feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, remind yourself that there are more than enough hours–your shopkeeper mentality is keeping you at work longer because you aren’t optimizing your day like a CEO or visionary would.

 

One strategy of many that they accentuate in this talk is to simply have the person in charge of the I.T. aspects of the office block the websites that you find yourself wasting the most time on. Micah also shares the value in having folders that, once clicked on, redirect you to an empty sub-folder instead of where your unconscious mind was looking to go. He shares that so often he sets up forcing mechanisms that make it hard for him to click on email when he is supposed to be focusing on the task at hand. If he doesn’t have these forcing mechanisms in place, this is what usually happens: Micah clicks on an email, sees its urgent contents, tries to go back to the task at hand, ends up wasting more time because he can’t stop thinking about answering the previous email. This is the usual trajectory for Micah if he doesn’t have safeguards in place.

 

The third tip given by the hosts is to have a backup plan just in case clients cancel their meetings or if you find that you have a large block of time that has suddenly been freed up. The temptation is to resort back to distractions or busy-work to fill the void that has formed as a result of client cancellations. A good strategy to implement to guarantee productivity is to have a number of projects ready, just in case you do find yourself with sudden free time.

 

And the last tip is to make sure you have adequately trained your clients and staff about what it will take to get access to you. This one is just as crucial as the other tips for maintaining productivity. An advisor needs to set up some padding between his clients and himself. To have a successful practice, an efficient system needs to be in place, along with skilled staff who know how to gauge the urgency of the client’s call and to determine the right course of action. If the barrier between your office and your employees and clients is too porous, you can be certain that your productivity will suffer.

 

So, both Micah and Matt urge listeners at the end of this episode to take at least one of these tips and implement them in your practice to help you become one step closer to becoming the perfect RIA. There are a few bonus tips and examples sprinkled in the episode that were not covered in this post. Listen for those extra tidbits and to hear the talk in its entirety. 

 

 

Note: If you want to read along while you listen, below is the transcript modified for your convenience and reading pleasure. We highly recommend you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and humor that you won’t pick up in the transcript. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers and may contain errors. Please compare the provided audio before quoting in print. 

Transcript:

 

Micah Shilanski:            Welcome to the Perfect RIA Podcast, the only show dedicated to helping you build a highly effective financial planning practice that delivers both an amazing client experience and an amazing lifestyle for you and your family. What you will hear today is not theory, but rather real world, tested in the trenches systems, that your hosts, Micah Shilanski [00:00:30] and Matthew Jarvis have developed in their own respective practices, which have been recognized as some of the best in our industry.

Before we get started a quick reminder from our attorneys. This podcast is intended only for a professional audience, and should not be considered as tax, legal, financial, investing, or even cooking advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. You [00:01:00] alone, are responsible for you. And now, lean forward and let Micah and Matthew show you how to build the perfect RIA.

Matthew Jarvis:            Welcome everyone to our podcast. Today, your host, Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski we want to talk about a topic that is either at the top of every advisor’s list, or should be, and they just don’t know that. That is the freedom of time. This is something we stress a lot. Micah and I are [00:01:30] both very passionate about spending time with our family, about taking time out of our office. Specifically, we wanna talk today about the importance of being productive versus being busy. Micah, you’ve got this great example of, kind of, a shopkeeper’s mentality, versus a CEO mentality. Why don’t you start us off with that?

Micah Shilanski:            Yeah Matthew. A lot of times when I know you do the same thing when you’re working with advisors, or I am, they have this shopkeeper’s mentality. It’s good from one [00:02:00] perspective. Old school work ethic, means that, “You know what? I need to be the first one into the office. I need to set up. I set the tone that’s gonna be there. The office is open 8 to 5, so I need to be there from 7:30 to 5:30 or 6, I’m here when it opens. I work all day I’m here when it closes.” That’s really a mindset that so many advisors out there have.

Because of that mindset, they force themselves to have busy work during this time. Really, we need a transition to, instead of a shopkeeper mentality that says we have [00:02:30] to be there because we have to be there, it’s more of an owner mentality, more with visionary mentality. Us as advisors, most of the time, we’re paid for results. We are not paid based by the hour. We’re paid to help a client transition to the next wonderful chapter of their lives, to help bring clarity to their situation. That doesn’t come with so many hours you have to be in the office.

What happens, if we have this shopkeeper mentality that we have to be there from 7:30 to 5:30 for discussion, we create this busy work [00:03:00] all throughout the day, to show that we’re busy, to show that we’re doing stuff. While that’s busy work and we’re actively doing something all the day, we’re actually not being productive. We’re not adding the most value that we can possibly add. That’s the first step that advisors really need to think about, is making this transition from the shopkeeper mentality to this owner’s mentality.

Matthew Jarvis:            Yeah. I think that’s a really great example, Micah. I’m sure a lot of advisors listen in. I know I catch myself in this as well. I think, “Well, yeah I’m busy, [00:03:30] but everything I’m doing is productive work, right? It’s all really important.” I think the second level of that is to look at our return on time example, right? If we say, “Hey. You’re trying to get a return on time, north of 1,000 dollars an hour, how much of that busy work is really worth 1,000 dollars an hour?”

I know one of my personal vices for busy work, if I’m sort of in between projects at the office during the day, what’s the first thing I do? I pull up the Wall Street Journal, right? Isn’t that important for me to read the Wall Street Journal? Well no, it’s really not. Mostly I’m reading the opinion pieces. It’s not making [00:04:00] me a better advisor. It’s not really even making me more well-rounded. Boy, it really makes me feel busy, right? I spent an hour reading the Wall Street Journal. Now I’m so informed. That’s an hour I could have spent on 1,000 dollars an hour, whereas I’m really just wasting my time with it. That is activity that’s worth almost nothing.

Micah Shilanski:            That’s absolutely right. Just to be clear, I have my own things, which I create myself and do my own busy work when I’m in the office in between meetings. I have to still force myself to ask the question, “Is this worth [00:04:30] my time to be doing?” I think Matthew, the best way that our listeners should start with that is they can set an alarm. They can set a reoccurring appointment on the calendar that’s gonna pop up with them and really bring that home. Is what they’re doing right then worth a thousand dollars an hour time? If it’s not, then they need to stop that and go focus on what they need to do. They need to create a little forcing mechanism for themselves to start doing things that are more valuable with your time.

Matthew Jarvis:            I love that you said forcing mechanisms. That’s [00:05:00] something that you and I talk about a lot. A forcing mechanism that I still use is I keep on my desk next to my computer monitor a picture of my family. I know this may sound cliché. I don’t mean it to sound that way. I keep this picture of my family and I think, “All right. Is the activity I’m doing right now worth more to me, than the hour I could be spending taking my kids out rock climbing, or taking my wife on a date,” right?

Do I really wanna go home and say, “Hey. I’m sorry I worked late tonight, but I really had to get the Wall Street Journal read. I mean, that was really more important than you guys.” That’s a forcing mechanism that I like to use. I love what you’re about Micah [00:05:30], “All right. Am I trying to be an advisor that has a million dollar a year practice, and I’m spending my time on 10 dollars an hour work? I’ll never bridge the gap between those.”

Micah Shilanski:            For me, a lot of it is, I have to set forced times in my own calendar. Although to keep me from doing busy work, because I can really get into it, at appointment setting, I kind of have this general rule that when I’m done with appointments, after my appointments are done with the day, it shouldn’t take me any more than 30 minutes to wrap up and be out of the office.

For my last appointment [00:06:00] that’s there, I have a 30-minute clock, that I now have to do everything. I have to clean my desk. I have to make sure all my dictation’s done. I have to match the teams outline with everything they need to do and then I should be out the door. That really helps keep me on point. When I limit my time, it now only allows me to do things that are productive and are the best value of my time. The busy work I just can’t do, cause I don’t even have time for it.

Matthew Jarvis:            Yeah. I know, it really is, like you said, a forcing mechanism. I try to remember who it was that told me, I think it was John Barron, who’s been [00:06:30] on the podcast. He has this great saying that, “Discipline is a really poor system.” Now, there are people for whom discipline works great, right? Navy seals for example. Guys that are just really extreme. The rest of us, discipline is usually not a good motivator. That’s where these forcing mechanisms are so valuable, Micah, that you’ve talk about, that you have in place. Now, let’s turn this just a little bit. Again, advisors were saying, “Well, we have to serve our clients.” Micah, you and I always that, that’s obviously our number one goal, right? Delivering massive value to [00:07:00] clients comes before everything else we ever talk about.

Micah Shilanski:            Amen.

Matthew Jarvis:            Managing your time really gives you more time to serve with clients. Let’s use one quick example. Let’s say you’re an advisor with 200 clients. You’re spending four hours dedicated to each of these clients each year. Maybe that’s two, one-hour meetings and two hours of, behind the scenes work, or some combination. That takes up 800 hours in a year, right? 200 times four.

Micah Shilanski:            Yep.

Matthew Jarvis:            Where are the other 1200 hours of [00:07:30] that year going? That’s something I always like to ask advisors. Now, if thinking for a whole year is a lot to think about … Micah, you and I were discussing the other day the number of appointments advisors have during the day. You had some kind of anecdotal data you have heard from someone on that.

Micah Shilanski:            Yeah. I was listening to a review. One of the things that it said is, the average advisor has about one and a half … I love that half of an appointment, right? Gotta love averages.

Matthew Jarvis:            Two and a half children.

Micah Shilanski:            Yeah. Two and a half children, right. One and a half appointments a day. Let’s just call it two. [00:08:00] Let’s just round up and say optimistically, the average advisor has two appointments a day. When I look at that and you’re going in the office—I’m starting to be a little judgmental on this one. You’re going in the office and you have two appointments. Let’s say at max they’re running you an hour and a half. That’s three hours, out of an eight hour day. What are you doing with the rest of the day?

As an advisor, our main focus should be delivering that massive body of clients, and then, thus engaging and interacting with clients. I’ve seen [00:08:30] some other advisor’s calendar. Sometimes they’ll have a 9 am and a 3:00 pm. That’s brutal. Absolutely get the clients in when they need, but if you got a 9:00 am and you got a 3:00 pm, you’re missing about four or five slots in between that we really need to get other clients in, during that point in time.

Matthew Jarvis:            Yeah, you really do. Micah, you bring up a point that we’ve discussed a lot, which is the importance of time blocking. This idea—I’ve talked to an advisor… The other day actually an advisor in the UK. He said yeah, just like you had mentioned, “We do one [00:09:00] or two meetings a day, just sort of spread out all throughout the week, all throughout the year.” I said, “Oh, my goodness that’s terrible.” Just to your point Micah. You’ve got this big focus on a client and then a big break and a focus on a client and a break.

Why not push those together? Why not as you and I do, and a lot of perfect RIA practices do, why not dedicate a week or two and say, “I’m gonna try to get as many appointments as I can during that week so that me and my team were all focused on delivering to clients in the form of meetings. That gives me the other three weeks of the month, or the other eight or 10 weeks of the [00:09:30] quarter to be a CEO and not just a shopkeeper.

Micah Shilanski:            You really need to look at your practice and say, “All right. How do you start taking this stuff and implementing these ideas, sooner than later, start making that transition, so you can be the CEO, you can be that visionary of your firm and really guide it to where you want it to be.”

Matthew Jarvis:            Now, I’ve got a list here Micah, of kind of four things, I think advisors can do. I’d love for you to share with us how you implement. I know these are all things you use in your practice as well. Tell me if you think I get these out of order. We can kind of change the order as we [00:10:00] go. I think the first step, if an advisor says, “Well, I wanna have more time, whether it be to run my business, to prospect, to be with my family,” here are sort of four key things that I’ve seen that make a big difference.

The first I would say would be to eliminate any kind of pop-ups, alerts, immediate distractions, right? Things that you’re focused in one direction, whatever that direction is, and it immediately pulls you away. Micah, I don’t know. How do you deal with those kinds of things in your office be it emails, or phone calls, or text messages, [00:10:30] or questions from staff?

Micah Shilanski:            All right, well text I’m gonna say I’m gonna be guilty of that one. That one I haven’t shut off yet. Short of the rest, absolutely all of that gets condensed. Don’t have any pop-ups on my computer, except for meeting appointments, right? If I have a scheduled meeting with a client those are allowed pop-ups that come on. Nothing for new emails, or anything else that comes in. In fact, I don’t even open my email most of the day. That’s just a little rabbit hole. My day should be focused on other things. I should be being proactive, not reactive to emails.

[00:11:00] The team, generally we—unless it’s something that’s right away, they need to condense their questions and come to me and let me block the time in the morning and then the afternoon. We have time so that I can kind of go through and answer all their questions. It sounds extreme, but for those of you that don’t know, when I’m in the office seeing clients I’ve seven to eight appointments a day. It’s really important that we [inaudible 00:11:21] that time, and really have time that the staff can come in ask their questions, we can get things moving, and it moves on. Unless it’s directly client related, where a client needs an answer right away, it’s, “Don’t interrupt me. Let’s wait for that scheduled time [00:11:30] that we can talk.”

Matthew Jarvis:            I’m often guilty of that in reverse. I’m often guilty that a thought will come to my head and I’ll call down the hall, or I’ll pick up my phone and talk to one of my team members. And then, I’m really doing the same thing to them, right? I’m killing their productivity. Similar to you Micah, we keep on our calendar, our daily meetings. Everyone just adds to that, things for their agenda. If I have a thought, “Oh, I need to ask Colleen about this,” I open up that time slot. “Hey, when we meet let’s talk about Dave and Sue. Let’s talk about this value-add project,”

Micah Shilanski:            [00:12:00] Right.

Matthew Jarvis:            So that I’m not going in there. If I go into talk to Colleen, right? I’m interrupting her work. Colleen’s my office manager right for those of you listening. I’m interrupting her productivity. You know what? She’s gonna say, “Oh, here’s the answer to that question. I have two other questions for you. Did you see the Seahawks game this weekend?” Suddenly, 20 or 30 minutes of my time is gonna disappear.

Micah Shilanski:            Yeah, that friendly chit-chat that you need to do just absolutely kills your work your productivity.

Matthew Jarvis:            Really does. Really does. Eliminate any kind of pop-ups, alerts. In our office, we kind of have this policy that if your door [00:12:30] is closed that means you’re on focused time. You’re only to be interrupted if it’s something urgent. It’s just sort of a reminder to each other that “Hey, so and so is focusing right now. They don’t wanna be distracted.”

Micah Shilanski:            Matthew, one idea that I got from an old Brian Tracey class many years ago, especially if you’re not in control of your office and someone else is, you know, my supervisor or peer keeps coming and interrupting you into your office. One of the things that he suggested and that works really well is as soon as they come in your office and you’re not on the phone and you can’t just politely disengage from that stand [00:13:00] up and walk out of your office. Like, “Oh, I was just headed out.” That way you can go down the office, go to the restroom, get a cup of coffee, come back, but drop them off somewhere else along the way where you’re forcing that change. If you have someone else that’s forcibly interrupting, you gotta retrain those habit. Get them out of your office as fast as you can so you can get back to being productive.

Matthew Jarvis:            That’s a really great example. That could even be a little note on your desk, something to remind you right, to trigger you to when this happens. Here’s how I respond. [00:13:30] Here’s what I would say the number two is, which is eliminate, from your office environment, from your work environment, your, let’s call them vices, right? Your sort of guilty pleasures of time wasting. This could be, maybe this is a game of Solitaire that you have on your computer.

I don’t think they still put Solitaire on computers. This could be having your IT people block websites that you know are a huge time waster for you. To look in your work environment, say, “All right. When I’m kind of feeling a moment of weakness in my productivity, what’s my go-to vice?” [00:14:00] I know for a lot of people it’s social media. Hours get burned on that. Look in your office and say, “All right. What are my go-to vices and how do I eliminate them?”

Micah Shilanski:            What I would say with that one as well is change the habit up a little bit. Say it’s your iPhone and you want your social media still on your iPhone or your email. Instead of having it on the first home screen move it to the fourth screen and put it in a folder. Make it more challenging that when you have that habitual habit that you open it up, it’s there, or your email.

[00:14:30] If you have a habitual habit, you take email off your computer, but you have a habitual habit. You always click that Outlook or always click that mail icon. It comes up. Have it default come to an empty folder or have all your emails sent to a subfolder so when it opens up your inbox, it’s completely empty. That’s fair. Do something so that when you click in there, it’s like, “Oh, it’s empty. I’m not supposed to be here.”

What happened with me before I did this is I’d click on the email and like, “Oh, I’m not supposed to do that right now,” and then I would see an email. Now I can’t stop thinking [00:15:00] about that email. I have to go in and deal with it. It’s totally shot my productivity. I need to not see it even though I’m gonna click on it. You can redirect your email to a subfolder. When your email opens up, it just opens an empty folder. “Oh, I’m good. I can close it.” Later you can go back at your scheduled time and address those emails.

Matthew Jarvis:            Yeah. Another thing that’s on that—my wife actually has this on her cell phone. She has a folder of apps called time wasters. That’s the name of the folder, right? You see that. You’re like, “All right. If I go into this folder, I’m going [00:15:30] to waste time.” If that’s what my goal is right now, that’s fine. It’s just sort of like you said Micah, a layer of defense, a layer of awareness. These are programs or these are websites that I’m just gonna waste time on. If that’s my goal, then that’s fine, but if it’s not, I should get back to whatever I need to do.

Micah Shilanski:            Exactly. Yep.

Matthew Jarvis:            All right. Here’s number three I would put on our list, which is have what I would call a backup plan for the week. Let’s say you have some client meetings scheduled. A client has to reschedule. That happens. That’s not a big deal. What then fills that [00:16:00] void? Well, a lot of times what fills that void is we’re back to these distractions again. “Well, I was gonna spend this hour with Dave and Sue. Now that’s been changed.

I guess I’ll just sort of subconsciously waste this hour. “I, every week, keep on my desk, on a piece of paper—I use a ton of technology in my office, but I like some things on paper. I have my calendar for the week printed out on paper. On the side, I have a list of projects that I can work on if time allows. That way earlier in the week when I’m fresh and I’m full of ideas I’ve written down a list of all these projects I can work on. That when, when I have a lull, [00:16:30] I go to that project list and I don’t go to my time wasters.

Micah Shilanski:            You know Matthew, that’ a great idea. How do you separate—if I had that list of my appointments? Let’s say Bob and Sue didn’t come in for their appointment. They had to reschedule. I had a list of projects. Do you ever get a little bit trapped, when it’s time to go home, that you have this list of projects that you haven’t completed, that were on this list for this week and you feel like, “Well, now I’m leaving and I didn’t get my things done,” because you have projects on that calendar you need done for that week, but they’re not done. [00:17:00] Does that ever weigh on you, or how do you deal with that?

Matthew Jarvis:            That’s a really good point, Micah. I think [pause] I’ll answer your question in one second. I think that’s a good reminder that we have to remember as advisors, all of our brains are wired a little bit differently from each other. My brain is wired differently than Micah’s. Ours are wired differently than you as a listener. It’s really important to find systems that work for you.

To answer your question Micah, when I get to the end of the week and there’s still projects on that list really doesn’t weigh on me at all. I can very easily leave the office. I don’t ever feel guilty about leaving the office to go home. That’s not something I kind [00:17:30] of suffer with for lack of a better term. On Monday, when I get back to the office, I will look at my list and say, “All right, well here’s the projects I got to. Here’s the ones I didn’t get to. These are the ones I wanna move forward, or limit it. Maybe it’s not important enough for me.”

Micah Shilanski:            No. That’s really good. Those don’t haunt me.

Matthew Jarvis:            Yeah. How about you?

Micah Shilanski:            My head trash [inaudible 00:17:48] therapy session. My head trash is, if I don’t get my things done that I’m supposed to for that day, and for that weeks, I have failed my family and I failed my clients. It was my responsibility to get those things [00:18:00] done. For whatever reason, it was that extreme ownership concept. It didn’t happen. Therefore it is my fault that it didn’t get done.

When I’m in a tactical week. I define tactical week is when I’m just seeing clients. I try not to put other things on there just because it plays with my…  Mentally, then I’ll be thinking about, when I’m an appointment, I know who else is coming in the calendar. If I have other projects that need to get done, my mind starts going over there.

I feel like I have to complete those this week, or [00:18:30] today or whatever that time period is, otherwise I’ve failed. Not a very good pass/fail test. Wouldn’t recommend that to people by the way. In my mind, that’s just kind of how it’s wired. I liked your idea of a backup. What do you do if you got two clients back to back, that need to reschedule their appointment? Now you got a three-hour gap in the calendar. Okay, how are you going to fill that? [inaudible 00:18:51].

Matthew Jarvis:            Micah, as you all know, runs a very successful practice. I mean, really great. We won’t talk about numbers on this call. He runs a really great practice. I hope that you heard [00:19:00] him say that he still has head trash on this stuff, right? He still has periods of time despite serving a lot of clients, despite having a great lifestyle, despite all of these things, running really a perfect RIA. He was just saying, “Hey, if I don’t get these things done, I feel guilty at the end of the week. It weighs on my mind. It messes with my family time.”

The reason why I wanna highlight that is we think that successful advisors have somehow overcome that, that they are on the top of the mountain, in a perfect state of Zen, with no head trash. That’s just not the case. We all have head trash. [00:19:30] I think… Micah tell me if you feel otherwise. I think those of us that are successful have figured out how to design systems that support our head trash, or that prop us up where we are, for lack of a better term, mentally weak.

Micah Shilanski:            Absolutely. Where we found system to dump that trash, right, and still go [crosstalk 00:19:46] back up, but you gotta take out the trash in the house. You gotta take out the trash in your mind. You need something in place, in order to do that. Maybe a whole other fun podcast we could talk about as well is what are things you can do to get your head in a better space, so you can serve your clients better.

Matthew Jarvis:            [00:20:00] Yeah. Let’s definitely do that. A head trash—Maybe we can have Coach Joe on and work with us on that one. That’d be great.

Micah Shilanski:            That’d be great.

Matthew Jarvis:            Here’s the last one I have on my list. It’s one that you and I have talked about before when it comes to time management. That is, training your clients and training your staff about access to you. The example we always give is your top client calls and says… Your team answers the phone and they say, “I need to talk to Micah.” In most offices, they’ll say, “Let me put you on hold and see if Micah is available.” Now, that is a terrible [00:20:30] approach for all sorts of reasons. You’re putting them on hold, which is wasting their time.

Really what you’re saying is I’m gonna ask Micah if you’re important enough for him to talk to you. No good comes of that ever. Just no good comes of that. In fact, we just hired a new employee or started a new employee last week. We’ve been training her on our process, which we’ll have a whole call on that.

The point I wanna get to is we need to train your clients that you are not available anytime they call. You’ve already trained ’em that to a degree because you don’t accept phone calls when you’re in meetings with other clients. [00:21:00] You don’t accept phone calls when you’re in the bathroom. We need to train clients and train yourself that people talk to you on your terms and not vice versa. Micah, how about in your office. If somebody calls in, can they get through to you right away? We’re talking about non-emergencies.

Right. I was just gonna say, I wanna qualify this stuff, right? These are non-emergency things that are coming up. This isn’t about not serving your client. This is about high service to your client. My clients as well, they have that experience, that when they come in they generally come in [00:21:30] and they see you wrapping up a meeting with a client. Then I meet with them.

When they’re leaving, they generally see another client waiting for my next appointment that’s there. They already have a mindset that they know our time is valuable. They know our time is [inaudible 00:21:43] help other clients that’s there. We’re helping them understand what those communication rules are. We don’t specify this in our onboarding processes as well, of how our communication works with clients, and with the team and what they can expect, and what we expect from them in communication.

From ground [00:22:00] zero, we start building those communication rules. To answer your questions, no, non-emergent things, the team needs to be empowered to help the client answer those questions, or we’re gonna schedule a time that we can get back. Even before we did this, you could play phone tag for three days, before you got the client on the phone.

Matthew Jarvis:            Oh, that’s terrible.

Micah Shilanski:            Now everyone’s just a little frustrated, cause you called each other six times and couldn’t get them on the phone, or worst case scenario, let’s say you just come out of a meeting and the receptionist would say, “Bob’s on the phone.” You grab [00:22:30] it and say, “Hey Bob. What’s going on?”

“Hey Micah. Remember we did that RMD distribution last year and I had that transfer and we did the re-characterization? What tax effect is that gonna have? I don’t quite remember that.” They’re hitting you with this stuff that you’re supposed to know, and you do, but you just came out of another meeting and your head is not thinking about Bob and Sue, it’s thinking about Dave and Sue, right?

Now, you have to fumble around for an answer, while you’re trying to look this information up. Bad place to be. In order to provide good service to the clients, you should be prepared for [00:23:00] your phone calls with them. That means your team members are empowered to help them. When they can’t, they schedule a time for you to call ’em back. That was a long answer to say, no, they can’t get directly to me. How’s that?

Matthew Jarvis:            No, no. That’s really great. Speaking on time management Micah. I know both you and I have other projects to move onto today. Let me just recap, really quickly advisors for listening…

Micah Shilanski:            I wanna add one thing before you recap if that’s okay. So sorry.

Matthew Jarvis:            Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:            The other thing, really important on these priorities, is your desk. What work environment [00:23:30] do you walk into every single morning? This is one of the things we got our office to do is entirely—I’m the worst one at it. The office has to help me with this. I want a clean desk policy. Not just from the security aspect of it and all those other great things that come with it. When you come in, in the morning, the desk and office looks professional. It doesn’t look like a mess that you have to come into. It gets you in such a better mindset because you got everything done yesterday. Now you’re ready to start a clean day to be productive. You don’t get caught up doing busy work [00:24:00] or paper stuff on your desk. It’s all gone.

Matthew Jarvis:            That’s a really great idea. Is that a daily policy? In your office, everyone [crosstalk 00:24:08] needs to leave the day with their desk clean?

Micah Shilanski:            Yep. You cannot leave until your desk is clean. That doesn’t mean sticking stuff in a drawer. Yeah. Clean desk policy. Get all the stuff tended to. Get it done. If you can do everything, go home, rock on. If you don’t get it done early, cause you had poor management time, great. The lights don’t shut off at five. Feel free to stay until you get your work done.

Matthew Jarvis:            I love… [00:24:30] Such great lines. Lights don’t shut off at five. Go ahead and stay until you finish.

Micah Shilanski:            We don’t shut the heat off either. We’re very nice. We’re in Alaska. It’s [crosstalk 00:24:37].

Matthew Jarvis:            So generous. Scrooge has got nothing on ya. We’ll stoke the fire. Take some action. Remember, knowing doesn’t count. Doesn’t count. Action counts. Look at your day today, at this coming week, and say, “Boy, how can I be more effective, such that I have more time to actually serve my clients, and more time to be with my family, to do the things that I’m most passionate about?” Micah, [00:25:00] any parting words for us today?

Micah Shilanski:            Take one thing and implement it. It’s not about what you know, it’s about what you implement. Grab one of these great ideas you heard in this podcast, and start implementing it today, to make yourself have the perfect practice.

Matthew Jarvis:            Very good Micah. Always a pleasure talking to you. I’ll see you again soon.

Micah Shilanski:            Likewise bud. Take care.

Speaker 3:                    You have been listening to, the Perfect RIA podcast. For more information on how you [00:25:30] can build a highly effective, financial planning practice please visit theperfectria.com.

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