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Three tips to gain productivity in your advisory business

February 2, 2023
clock 4 MIN READ
Shauna Mace, CHPC

Head of Practice Management

Without fail, whenever I run a high-performance coaching session with a group of financial advisors – a certain habit of high-performers tends to dominate the conversation.

According to the High Performance Institute1, these are the six habits of high performers:

  1. Clarity
  2. Energy
  3. Necessity (purpose)
  4. Courage
  5. Productivity, and
  6. Influence

The title of this blog gives it away. Productivity is what most advisors want to talk about.

Financial advisors tend to be a productive group, right? Absolutely. So what's going on?

While we don’t see fee-compression impacting most advisors, (only 2% of advisory firms reported lowering fees in the "2022 InvestmentNews Advisor Benchmark Study"2 which SEI sponsors) we do see margin compression and growing pressure to do more. Clients’ (and advisors’) expectations keep growing. At a certain point, more becomes too much. Too many clients, too many services, and not enough revenue, capacity, or time. 

Productivity comes down to how well you manage your time.

Control your time – your calendar, day, and week – and you will become more high-performing, productive, and (likely) happier!

According to the "Kitces 2020 Advisor Well-Being Study"3, autonomy is one of the key drivers of why advisors seek independence. Autonomy, the belief that you have control over yourself and situation, is viewed as a significant driver of happiness and satisfaction.

How can you be more productive and happier? Gain (or regain) autonomy over your time with these three actionable ideas:    

  1. Focus
  2. Have a plan
  3. Own your day (week, month, and year)


Many practice management best practices are simply tactics to help you and your team focus. For example: goal setting, defining roles and responsibilities, segmentation, time blocking, surge meetings - you get the jest.

While there’s much in life we can't control, we can control where we spend our time and energy. 

Who and what matters most? Consider the key entities you serve: your business, team, clients, and self. How can you gain focus in each of those areas?

When it comes to your business, defining goals is a great place to start. Gain clarity around where to focus in your business with our two-minute Business Audit. Complete the audit and focus on the area(s) with the largest deltas.

Ideally, work to identify one priority focus area or item for your business, staff, and beyond. Commit to doing that no matter what.

Clarity and focus can set you free.

Have a plan

You know what matters to you. Now what?

A plan can help you break your goals into the right strategy and tactics so you (and more importantly your team) know where and how to take action. If you need help developing a plan, access SEI’s One-Page Business Plan, which was accessed almost 1,000 times in 2022. Plus, check out the example completed by a SEI advisor.

Own your day

Your calendar is one of the greatest indicators of productivity. Are you proactively or reactively managing your day? Days quickly turn into weeks, months, and years.

Productivity tricks like time blocking, meeting surges, and defining your ideal week can all provide a framework to protect and manage your time.

It’s important that you not only add blocks in your calendar but respect and protect that time. This may require setting expectations with your staff and clients.

For example, SEI advisor and owner of Omega Wealth Management, Lisa Kirchenbauer, included this note in her email signature in November when she was travelling more often than normal. It helped set the right expectations with her clients:

Thanks for your message! This fall, I will be travelling a great deal for conferences to expand our team's knowledge and capabilities for our clients, while we also tackle year-end tax planning.  Please bear with me on any delayed responses.

Just as a reminder, the Omega Team and I are working virtually Mondays and are in office Tuesday-Thursday.  If your message is of an urgent nature, please feel free to connect with one of my other Omega Team Members listed below. We look forward to connecting with you soon! 

It's not only OK, but important, to communicate to those around you how you want to spend your time. Let your team know that Fridays are focus days when you’ll be working from home and don’t want any client meetings scheduled. Or let you clients know that you plan to meet during the months of February, May, and November.

I give you permission to call the shots when it comes to your time.

The theme of SEI’s Women Advisor Community this year is “thriving, not just surviving.” I hope these productivity tips help you thrive, not just survive this year and beyond.


  1. "Measuring High Performance", High Performance Institute,

  2.  "2022 InvestmentNews Adviser Benchmarking Study" (fee required to view report), InvestmentNews,

  3. "What Makes Financial Advisors Happy And The Second Kitces Research Study on Advisor Wellbeing", Kitces,

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