7 ways to make 2021 your most efficient year so far

Demand for mortgage and financial advice has never been higher, and life has never been busier.  But with a few tweaks – seven, to be precise – you can ensure your most organised and efficient year so far.

1. Embrace social media

Forget the spats and the accusations of “fake news”, 2021 may be the time to re-evaluate how you use social media.

Rob Davies, consulting director of oneonone communications, believes Twitter is an extremely effective communications tool for businesses. He says: “Twitter is massively underused by IFAs. If they just get as many of their clients to follow them it makes the job of keeping in touch very easy with short, concise and to the point messages about what’s going on. It also enables them to show their human side as well.”

Instagram may also be worth considering if you are feeling more confident.  Apps like Command can help you make the most of microblogging, with stats to help you understand the best time to post and advice on captions and hashtags.

2. Keep communicating

Social media works best in parallel with a more familiar, established communications strategy. Rob says: “Back up your social media strategy by making sure you send formal emails as well as reviews.”

A newsletter may be another way of increasing communication with clients. Rob adds: “Good regular and frequent communications mean that your customers will feel loved and they will be top of the list should their customers be ‘in the market’ and want to talk about wanting to arrange more protection or to invest more.”

3. Sync your calendar

We all have good intentions when it comes to putting things in the diary. Putting your plans down on paper is great, but apps such as Google Calendar can ensure you have a reference if things have to be moved around multiple times. Having a note of something on your calendar means it’s then on the ‘to-do’ list. But the real benefit of any calendar is when it can sync with the other things on your list. A shared Google Calendar can be used alongside apps such as Todoist or Any.do (both of which are free, with an optional subscription). The latter is part calendar and part to-do list and will sync up with thousands of other apps. The free version gives you a taste, but a monthly subscription unlocks all of its features.

4. Use the 90/90/1 rule

Tackling key projects can seem overwhelming, so you need to have a routine that puts you in control. In his podcast, leadership expert Robin Sharma shares the routine that he claims has helped top business leaders achieve their success. He writes: “For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your workday to the one best opportunity in your life. Nothing else. Zero distractions. Just get that project done. Period.”

5. Make WFH work for you

Home working is likely to continue well into 2021, so make the most of your phone or tablet device to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Use apps such as Focus to break your day into 25-minute working chunks. You can also use it to track tasks. Focus is available on a three-day free-trial basis, but after that you’ll need a subscription.

Actions by Moleskine can be used for home and work projects, while tried-and-trusted Evernote has been updated to make it more effective at taking and storing notes. Miro is another popular app which is marketed as a “collaborative whiteboard” and designed for people who work in teams remotely.

6. If you can’t write it, record it

Sometimes it’s not possible to write everything down, and if you have a “lightbulb moment” on the go, you don’t want to lose that great idea. You could make voice notes on your smartphone, but they aren’t necessarily that easy to find afterwards.

It may be worth subscribing to apps such Otter. It’s a voice-recording app that also transcribes your words, making it easy to search through your past recordings to find what you need. The premium version includes 6,000 minutes of transcription a month.

7. Clear your inbox, every day

Tackle your inbox dread with this five-step approach. First, allocate time to deal with it. Start by giving yourself an hour and see how much you get done, then look at spending smaller chunks of time to whittle the rest of things down. Second, delete unimportant messages.  Third, use the search function to highlight emails that you may have subscribed to but no longer read, and then unsubscribe. Four, where possible, delegate to other team members. Five, rather than treat your entire inbox as a long to-do list, create a separate inbox and then file those emails into specific folders, based on subject matter or urgency.

Lastly, ensure your client reviews are booked into your diary by using an app like Trailblazer. Its tracking system can help make 2021 your most organised and efficient year yet. From compliance, to CPD to managing client contacts, we’re here to help. Contact us to request a Trailblazer demo and a free trial.