By: Daniel C. Finley

The Bottom Line List

Do you control your time during the day or do unforeseen events, interruptions and lack of structure control you? If it’s the latter, don’t worry you are not alone. Mike Ditka said it best, “Success isn’t measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace.”

Typically, advisors and agents have the best of intentions as their day begins but just don’t have the tools and resources to help them with their daily tasks. That’s why I had created this exercise for my advisor/agent clients called The Bottom Line List.

The Bottom-Line List is a time management tool for building structure into the day. It is designed to map out your top 5 Bottom-Line Activities each day and then compartmentalize those activities into 45 minute time blocks with a 15 minute break between each block.

Understanding The Bottom-Line List

This tool is essentially a game which you can play. If you accomplish at least 4 out of 5 activities you win the game. If not, you lose. And, when you assign a reward to a daily win and a consequence to a daily loss you have extra incentive to stick to your mapped out activities.

In order to better understand this tool you may want to create your own Bottom-Line List as you read and digest what follows.

Column #1: Priorities

This column has five rows, numbered 1 to 5. The reason you are titling this column “Priorities” is because there is essentially an order of importance.  Stay tuned.

David V., is a thirty year veteran financial advisor and branch manager client who wanted my help taking his personal production to the next level. I had him create a Bottom-Line List and label his “Priorities” column.

Column #2: Time Blocking

In this column you are determining when you will do each 45 minute activity. The reason we leave a 15 minute buffer is in case you start late or simply need a break.

After explaining this column, David knew that it would work. He had used time blocking when he was a rookie and he had created productive habits that helped to grow his business. He filled in each of the 5 blocks starting at 8:00 a.m.

Column #3: The Bottom-Line Activity

In this column you are briefly describing what it is that you will do during a particular time block. Order in the following priority (hence the 5 priority columns): prospecting, client servicing, prospect follow-up, appointment (or appointment preparation) and miscellaneous.

After explaining this to David he admitted that his least favorite thing to do was to prospect. He had gotten out of the habit and frankly had created a fear of rejection for himself. I reminded David that he hired me to help him get to the next level and that prospecting is the only way to fill up the pipeline.

Column #4:  The Bottom-Line Value

This column is designed to reinforce why you are doing the activity in the first place. Each row in this column will have the same type of sentence, “What is important to me about _________ today is __________.” The advisor/agent fills in the blanks each day to reinforce why they are doing the activity.

I explained this to David and he didn’t fully understand so I gave him an example. “What is important about prospecting today is that if I don’t prospect today my business won’t grow tomorrow.

Column #5:  Done

In this column you simply issue a check mark every time that you complete a Bottom-Line List Activity. Again, if you complete 4 out of 5 you win the game and get a reward. Anything less is a loss and you get a consequence.

It didn’t take David long to realize that by sticking to this exercise he was getting more done in the same amount of time because he was in control of what he was doing and when he was doing it! Over a short time frame he began to work quickly towards reaching the next level with his business.

Why the Bottom-Line List Works

The Bottom-Line List works because it architects a form of structure to daily activities.  If you find yourself busy but not productive, try using this tool to build discipline and time management into your day! 

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