In a recent XY+ web event, we spent time with Charles Blake (aka ‘The Smart Tech Guy’) and Timothy Reid (aka ‘The Automations Guy’) who ran us through their smart tech frameworks, automation strategies and tools they’ve used to dramatically increase their own personal productivity and business efficiency.
Think you and your business could benefit from a 20% increase in productivity this year? Read on to find out how!
Getting organised for super-productivity
As a financial adviser, you’ve got a lot of ‘stuff’ coming in at you! The trick to super productivity is managing your time effectively. Check out this handy decision tree from David Allen, author of the book Getting Things Done:
Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
- If it’s actionable and can be done in less than two minutes, just do it!
- If not, delete, defer, or delegate it.
Tech-wise, paid solutions like Monday.com or Asana can be helpful for delegating or deferring tasks for later, but Charles pointed out free tools like Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote can work just as well.
Power tips for boosting personal productivity
On a personal level, here are some of the great tips our guests shared for getting the most out of your time:
- Analyse your time investments for one week. Do you how you are actually spending your time? For one week, make an effort to measure where your time is going, so you can find out what you need to stop, start, or improve.
- Minimise latency with your smartphone. Early to a meeting? Don’t sit around waiting. Use your phone to follow up and push projects along, or get some of those 2-minute tasks out of the way.
- Embrace new micro-habits. Using technologies like predictive text and voice-enabled text takes some getting to, but it’s well worth forming these habits to free up time in the future.
Boosting organisational efficiency
Next, we looked at some tips for increasing productivity across your business.
Embracing voice technology allows you to “type” at around 120 WPM using commands. (Remember the average person can only type around 40 WPM.) These technologies are great both for dictation, and for client conversations – especially if you're not a fan of writing manual file notes.
Tools like Loom are great for sending short video messages and screenshares -for example showing a paraplanner some retirement projections- or when you just have a simple question that doesn’t require a full-on conversation. They can in turn answer back when they have free time, and neither person’s workflow is interrupted.
These tools are also perfect for giving demos to a client – such as how to log into a new platform.
Transcription tools and NLP (Natural Language Processing)
Charles gave us a demonstration of Otter.ai transcription in action! This service now includes live streaming AI, so no need to upload files and wait for the transcript to process. It even performs well with low-quality, ‘real world’ audio and conversations, with only minimal edits required.
Another interesting feature is it adds punctuation automatically – unlike tools such as Google voice typing or Microsoft Dictate, where you have to add in commands such as ‘full stop’ or ‘new paragraph’. You also get 600 minutes for free to give it a test drive.
There are a lot of ways you can make your processes, CRM, and overall business flow in a much more structured fashion. Tim shared this map as an example of the potential flow and order of processes for a review thread:
Once built into a system, you can dramatically improve efficiency because the system does the thinking, planning, emailing, and contacting for you.
Biz ops and automation
Mapping and automating key processes can be done in almost every CRM that’s available. Something like client review is the best place to start for most practices, as that’s the one thing every practice must do well - especially with changing requirements and compliance steps to add in.
Integrations and smart links
While tech like Xplan and Midwinter can do a lot, adding in integrations like MS Bookings, Calendly, and DocuSign can really improve the process for your clients and your business.
You can also look at adding some smart links (like hyperlinks to your PDS’s) which means you don't have to add them into the document or send them to the client as well, because they can view them at their own will.
Templating your common email correspondence is also crucial. If you are doing something more than once, template it so you get it perfect every time - in just seconds.
Aim to reduce key-person dependency so you don't have to rely on the adviser to do tasks like proofread an email. Rather, delegate these tasks to support staff so the business can run smoother and smarter.
Finally, let the system do the thinking! Don’t try and remember review dates or birthdays when there’s software that can do that for you.
Some final tips to streamline your smart tech
- Embrace new technology and let it work for you
- Remember you are in control of your technology solutions
- Start with the problem/objective, then look at potential solutions
- Focus on adoption with clear evaluation goals and timeframes
- Be patient & persistent with new solutions – it takes time
- Be honest with yourself on progress and manage the barriers such as inertia/distractions (new habits aren’t easy)
- Your client interaction will improve as you’ve removed manual process with technology doing the work
Finally, remember why you're doing all of this – so you can enjoy more time doing what you do best!