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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time Management – Helping Clients Achieve Retirement Success

One of the most common complaints of retirees is not being aware of where the time goes. Often a retired person has the greatest intentions to accomplish a number of goals and activities, but the days and weeks seem to disappear without much progress. This time trap of seeming to be busy without results can leave a retiree frustrated and annoyed.
Time management is important at all stages of life, especially in retirement. The greatest retirement plan can fail if a client fritters away his or her time. As a caring advisor you can help clients manage their time efficiently and accomplish their goals.

Here are some time management tips to pass on to clients:

Tip 1: Clarify the Retirement Plan. Ensure your client’s entire plan is in writing and priorities are identified. Assign the most important part of the plan as ‘priority number one’. The second most important part as number two. Keep going until each goal has been ranked.

Tip 2: Focus on Priorities, Not Activities. Encourage clients to keep their priorities in plain view – on the refrigerator door, by the computer or by the bed. Priorities should be reviewed daily to help stay focused.

Tip 3: Set One Major Objective Each Day and Accomplish It. If a client has set a priority to gain greater health, the objective is to allocate time each day for exercise. Whether it is going for a walk or playing tennis, doing something will keep the client active and motivated. Suggest the client give him/herself a small reward for achieving their daily objective.

Tip 4: Keep a Time Log. People often say that they just don’t know where the time goes. Keeping a time log helps track and understand how time is spent. When logging time, have your client write down everything they do and the amount of time it takes including the time spent napping, daydreaming, telephone interruptions – don’t leave anything out!

Tip 5: Analyze Everything. At the end of two weeks, your client should analyze their time log. Questions to ask when reviewing a time log:

• How much time did I spend on my number one priority?
• Was it a sufficient amount of time based on what I want to accomplish?
• What could I do differently to ensure I am spending sufficient time on my top priorities?

Tip 6: Make a To-Do List Every Day. Suggest to clients that they make a daily to-do list outlining, in order, the tasks that are essential for the day. These are their ‘musts’ that are to be completed before bedtime. At least one of the ‘musts’ should be an activity that advances one of your client’s priorities.

Tip 7: Making the First Hour Productive. Patterns of accomplishment are set in the first part of the day. If a client has a habit of lounging over breakfast for an hour, this laid-back behavior will, in all likelihood, last for a good portion of the day. On the other hand, if the client gets busy accomplishing things on their to-do list immediately, this productive behavior is likely to continue throughout the day. Encourage your client to ask throughout the day, “Is this a good use of my time right now?” By answering this question, the client assigns value to their time and ensures he/she is spending time in the best way possible.

When clients control time, they control their life. In doing so, they will accomplish more, experience more satisfaction and feel more fulfilled. As these feelings increase, the quality of their retirement life increases. Satisfaction lies in accomplishing the things that are really important. This is another secret of having a successful retirement.
Richard (Rick) Atkinson, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is author of the best-selling book, Don’t Just Retire – Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others. He is available for speaking engagements. Twitter: @dontjustretire.