Optimize Your Email Habits

Email has become a ubiquitous tool for communication. It allows advisors to stay in touch with clients, update staff with important business items, and keep current on industry and market activities. But the benefits of email come with a significant drawback; poor habits surrounding the use of email can seriously inhibit advisor productivity. You can capture much of that lost productivity by making two simple changes to the way you use email today.


Habit #1: Opening email first thing in the morning.


Opening email in the morning is tempting. Perhaps there are a few information requests from clients. Maybe there's a new prospect inquiry. But for the most part, an advisor's email inbox is filled with newsletter subscriptions, employee communication and updates, and spam.


It may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to filter, read, and reply to the new items in your inbox. But checking your email first thing in the morning derails your day. The new messages and requests distract you from your original goals for the day.


Instead, think about what one important thing you want to do when you arrive in the office each morning. Then do it. Don't check your email until you are done with that one important thing.


Habit #2: Leaving email open all day.


Like Habit #1, Habit #2 is a distraction. The last thing you need while analyzing an incentive stock option exercise strategy for a client is the pop-up window alerting you of a new email message. Even worse is if the pop-up window shows a portion of the subject line that says "URGENT!"


To whom is the message urgent? You, or the sender? Regardless, by now, you've lost your concentration. You now need to re-focus your attention on the Alternative Minimum Tax calculations you were running for your ISO strategy and double-check your numbers because your train of thought was interrupted.


Rather than leave your email program open all day, "time block" your email. Identify three times during the day when you will check email. Perhaps it's 9:30AM, immediately after lunch, and 4:00PM, or whatever you find best.


What time blocking does is protect your concentration and focus when working on high-level projects. The last thing you need is an interruption that derails your progress, forcing you to start over and collect your thoughts.


Generally, answering emails all day rarely adds to your bottom line. Marketing and client prospecting will help grow your firm.


Guess which activity I believe you should focus on throughout your day?

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