Time management skills for financial professionals

The financial world has developed into a highly competitive workplace. Although there are only 24 hours a day, as the saying goes, time is money. Therefore, effective time management is a competitive advantage for any financial professional who wants to improve work efficiency and increase working hours.

However, there are many interfering factors that can make you work too long. Read on to understand some of these common time wastes and learn some time management techniques that will enable you to complete more work in a shorter time.

Key points

  • Financial professionals often have no structure when they meet with clients, conduct intermittent transactions throughout the day, or engage in data analysis.
  • This provides opportunities for procrastination, distraction and mismanagement of time.
  • Here, we look at some time-tested real time management techniques, especially for financial professionals.

Black hole

There are various ways to waste time that will reduce productivity. For example, financial professionals always tend to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Suppose you are a consultant, and between 8:30 and 10 am on Wednesday morning, you managed to complete the following tasks:

  • You work on a spreadsheet,
  • But it stopped after being interrupted by two new emails,
  • Then send six emails in a row,
  • Then I checked the wedding photos of my college friends on Instagram,
  • Then accept the company’s social outing invitation through Slack messages,
  • Before receiving two unexpected calls from potential customers, and
  • Finally, he was forced to hang up suddenly because your manager came to remind you that your staff meeting was five minutes late.

Does this sound like a typical morning to you? If so, especially if you work in a cruel corporate environment such as a private equity firm or investment bank, you may be at the lowest performing level compared to your peers.

After five or ten years, no one will remember, care or promote all the hard work you have done. If Thomas Jefferson did a lot of paper shuffling but never helped write the Declaration of Independence, would the world care? The same is true in your work—your organization values ​​necessary work and masterpieces, not busy work.

plan in advance

Every Sunday afternoon, complete the “to-do” list for the next week. It is best to use an application or network service that is synchronized on all devices. Highlight items that are absolutely critical to your success in work and personal life. What is not highlighted may be things you can delegate, delay, or avoid altogether.

In the financial sector, key deliverables include reports or research that need to be accurate and submitted before the deadline. If you focus on improving the quality of these reports, rather than just doing a good job on these reports, your organization will be better served so that you can free up time for non-critical items (such as responding to low priority E-mails or participation in long hours of work)-lengthy meetings).

Similarly, ten minutes before the end of get off work every day, list the action items for the next day and number them in order of importance and priority.Again, keep asking yourself all the things you do no Things that really need to be done-things that have not reached a certain productivity threshold.

Multitasking

Financial success comes down to a person’s ability to deliver critical and immediate deliverables at all times. What key information and data points does your financial manager rely on? What can you provide to help your organization and/or your customers win? Does it involve timely submission of audit reports, accurate calculation of the net present value of the proposed project, or ensuring that the formula on Excel yields the correct aggregated total?

After all, no one cares about all the emails you exchange, the social club meetings you attend, or the chronological folders in your cupboard. Multitasking continues to prevent individuals from doing their best on the few key deliverables that employers really expect them to provide.

Do the important, difficult, urgent, and most valuable action items first. Financial success may involve the simplicity of the way you handle tasks. For fresh graduates who are knowledgeable and inexperienced, this seems very simple, but only do one thing at a time, and don’t stop until you are done. If your task is related to a long-term project, please break it down into short-term milestones and complete them ahead of schedule. Doing things from start to finish eliminates costly inefficiencies, because you will avoid constantly restarting and recalibrating different, unrelated projects.

If you spend three hours a week on useless tasks, the total is approximately 150 hours per year. Your colleague is more efficient than you, devotes 150 more hours a year, and may enjoy some promotions and salary increases that others have not received.

Inbox management

Your inbox is a major time waste. If most of your emails are not related to the direct task at hand, your day will be sporadically filled with spam.

To avoid this situation:

  • Set the scheduled time for checking emails, and check the inbox no more than three or four times a day.
  • Create an after-hours folder for emails you should receive but not urgent. This folder is especially useful for returning important requests, which may take several business days to receive your response.
  • Only the most important emails will be sent on weekdays. While it’s important to stay up-to-date on your team, inexperienced or poorly disciplined colleagues may waste most of your time, and they flood your inbox with irrelevant messages. You can reduce these types of emails by not responding to emails that are not work related.
  • Empty your inbox before get off work. You can do this by creating project-related folders, where you can store emails related to specific issues. Keeping your inbox empty can eliminate non-core messages from your attention and save you time. If there are items that absolutely require attention in the next few hours or the next day, put them in the emergency folder.

Some other time-saving tips

Keep track of how much time you really waste

Create a simple spreadsheet that allows you to enter an estimate of the time wasted on trivial matters. Do this every day. As you develop and maintain this habit, you will train yourself to recognize unimportant things when you encounter them.

Only process paper documents once

After processing, you can archive, submit or delete them.

Leave a message directly to your colleague

Moving between your offices or departments may take you several hours a week-we know how much time this will take you on an annual basis. Unless it’s important or complicated, direct messaging through a company messaging system or approved web service is usually a more effective way to get answers to various questions quickly.

Know where everything is at any given time

This includes electronic and paper information. If you cherish your time, please don’t waste time looking for things.

Divide your tasks into four categories:

  1. Urgent and important: For example, the deadlines for financial and accounting reports are strict and approaching.
  2. Not urgent and not important: for example, establishing a network within your finance team, training courses, etc.
  3. Urgent and unimportant: For example, sporadic messages from the inbox and “registration deadlines” for club meetings.
  4. It is neither urgent nor important: for example, ten-minute conversations at a vending machine, checking fantasy football, etc.

(Obviously, you should spend as much time as possible on the first category.)

Commission, commission, commission

This will set you apart when you are promoted in the organization.Processing task if only you Can be executed. When you hone your time management skills, you will soon have direct subordinates assigned to you. As much as possible, assign tasks that you don’t need to handle yourself. You should only do things that absolutely require your attention or expertise.

Don’t manage your personality

Finance professionals should have time management skills, but they should also maintain rapport and goodwill with internal colleagues and external communities. Focusing only on time can make you appear rude, which can annoy many people when they are around you, including in social and business development environments. If you are not careful, you will think you are a master of time management, but you will be completely unaware of the “social idiot” mark on your forehead.

Communication, leadership, and business development skills are just as important as time management skills. As financial professionals advance in their careers, time management skills alone are no longer sufficient to help them reach a higher level (ie, executive level).

Bottom line

If you cherish your life, then you will cherish your time. Work life is a sub-component of the overall picture of your life-the level of contribution and service you can provide to others depends on your ability to make the most of the limited time allotted to you. Remember: this is an important thing your employer wants you to deliver in this regard. Your employer will not care too much about everything else, and neither should you.

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