Your Life Balance

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The Ideal Retirement Week

Most of the advisers in my industry work in a fairly haphazard manner, where every work day is the same. They check their emails, see clients and do paperwork. I believe that affects the way they work. For example, paperwork saps the very life force from my soul, and if I was to do that prior to seeing an important client, I know that I would be less effective in that meeting. As a result of attending my quarterly Strategic Coach® workshops, I learned to split my time up into three types of days—Free, Focus and Buffer Days®.

On my ‘Focus’ days, I only do the three things that make us profitable. I only do these activities, nothing else because it is better for me, my team and my clients that I work with this structure.

For me these activities are:

1.Seeing and speaking to clients.
2.Working on improving our business.
3.Working with and organising my team.

On a Buffer day, I do anything else that is required, and if any ‘Focus’ activity happens too, then all the better. But it is these ‘Buffer’ days that allow me to be organised and effective on my ‘Focus’ days.

Finally I have my ‘Free’ days, where from midnight through to midnight I do not look at, engage in or think about work. It does the mind good to have a break from a particular subject, and I am much better on my ‘Focus’ days as a result of these rules.

You can apply this principle to your life in retirement simply by determining what activities fall into ‘Focus’ and ‘Buffer’ categories for you. ‘Free’ days for you might be special days out, where you have an outing to do something out of the ordinary.

The next, more important step is to build an ‘Ideal Retirement Week’. For me Mondays are about being in the office with my team, ensuring they are set for the week. It is also dedicated to organising myself, so that I can delegate things to my team and implement important priorities for the week. These have become my ‘Team Focus’ days.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are about seeing and speaking to clients in and around our Rutland office. Usually these two days become my ‘Rutland Client Focus’ days.

Nearly half of my clients are based in and around London and I need to keep a consistent presence in the capital, so I hold meetings there most weeks. As a result, Wednesdays are my ‘London Client Focus’ days.

My ‘Buffer’ day is a Friday, when I do anything else that needs doing. Generally I aim to have this sufficiently well organised by the team so that it is all done by lunchtime, as Friday afternoon is my time for golf.

Saturday and Sunday are my ‘Free’ days, where the family get my undivided attention. I am lucky enough to be able to say that I could count on one hand the number of weekends I have worked in recent years, other than when I attend a course or conference that happens to fall on those days.

By building an ‘Ideal Week’, I have built certainty into my week as a matter of course. I know and my team knows where I am likely to be on any one day. They know when to book certain meetings, and I know that I have the certainty of a routine. Clients also know where I am likely to be when, which gives them certainty too. It also means that I still get variety, as my ‘Free’ days are exactly that. They aren’t invaded by work.

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