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Pete Matthew: Why not having the time is the worst excuse going

have been told several times I seem to get a lot done. In my own mind I am no busier than anyone else but I do manage a 14-person practice while advising my own bank of clients, at the same time creating content three times a week for my award-winning personal finance site MeaningfulMoney.

Oh, and I have two teenage daughters, so I am constantly ferrying them around the place.

This is just everyday life for me. I have chosen to fill my time with these things and I get them done.

Over the past year I have spoken to lots of advisers about the benefits I have seen from running MeaningfulMoney. Some of them seem to like the idea of online marketing success, but when I tell them what is involved, all too often the response is they could never find the time.

I have little patience for this excuse, particularly when I later overhear the same person talking about their planned game of golf later that week.

I do not have a problem with golf or any other use of time, but I cannot reconcile someone saying they want to do something and then complaining they do not have enough time.

Surely if something is important you should be able to find the time to do it.

Last autumn, I found myself swamped. I took on too many new clients (true, a nice problem to have) and suddenly realised I had no chance of honouring my commitments to them within reasonable timescales. I had to do some calendar triage and get back in control, but it took me three months.

This year I am determined not to find myself in the same position. I have decided that instead of being reactive I will schedule in all the activities I am committed to. I call this my Ideal Week, and in it I have time set aside to achieve everything I need to.

Between 6am and 8:30am is ‘me time’. Here, I will go to the gym or for a run, then shower, walk the dog and get to work for 8:30.

Then I am in work mode but I subdivide this between client meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, then marketing, report writing and management duties the rest of the time. I leave the office at 5:30pm without fail.

In the evenings I create content for MeaningfulMoney three times a week, have one night off mid-week to relax and then Friday night is movie night with the family. I go to bed by 10:30pm without fail.

Weekends are for jobs around the house and to be with the family, and at 4pm on a Friday I head to the health suite of my local gym for an hour in the sauna, steam and jacuzzi.

By forcing my life into a fairly fixed pattern I can ensure I get done what I need to do. I am managing my own time and bending it to my desire to be productive.

Life will get in the way from time to time but by sticking to this pattern and making sure those around me know this is my ideal week, I can keep the exceptions to a minimum.

And I can never use lack of time as an excuse again.

Pete Matthew is managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management 



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