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Achieving Balance Between Work and Life

Achieving Balance Between Work and Life with Travis Parry

You hear and read a lot about work/life balance. In fact, you may worry about your own work/life balance. There are many areas of your life that need attention, is it possible to bring equilibrium to all of them? Is the idea of balance really a myth?

On this episode of the Elementality podcast, Reese Harper interviews Dr. Travis Parry, author of the international bestseller “Achieving Balance”. Travis is a coach, influencer, noted speaker, and has just released his second book.

Work/life could actually be a misnomer. Spiritual life, work, physical health, relationships with family, relationships with friends, and more are all vying for your time and attention. During the podcast, Reese and Travis discuss how gaining better focus on priorities is how to really begin enjoying the life you want.

 

 


Podcast Transcript

Dr. Travis Parry:
So, if you get a pro… You are pretty productive, you could do 30, 40 hours of work and be making more than what you did when you were working 65 hours, that’s excellent productivity, but it only works if you are wanting to spend time to do leisure events, hobbies, time with your family, that you love those other aspects of your life.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So, that’s what you need to do. You need to set goals in those other areas and love it, and then make it happen. And what it’ll do is, it’ll cushion the other areas and really pad so that work doesn’t overflow, and you respect your work time so that your personal stuff doesn’t overflow into your work. It’s when those boundaries are so loose that you really are diluting the quality of time that you spend in either.

Abby Morton:
Welcome to Elementality. I am Abby Morton, CFP, and producer of our podcast here at Elements. I love being a financial planner, but I know it’s a challenging profession as well. That’s why the number one goal of our show is to help you prosper as an advisor as you better connect with your clients. We know your time is very valuable, plan on a good return when you spend it here with us.

Reese Harper:
Welcome to another episode of Elementality, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us. I’m actually excited to reconvene with a friend who I spent some early days in my career with, Dr. Travis Parry. Travis, welcome to the show.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I appreciate that Reese. No, I remember the early days, especially we both started internship which quite honestly, when I came on board, I didn’t realize it was an internship. And I thought I already got hired. It was one of those things-

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Dr. Travis Parry:
… At Northwestern. This is so fun to talk to you because of anybody I’ve been interviewed by, you were there, you can attest to know Travis. That’s not what it was.

Reese Harper:
I know how much you love selling…. I know how much, how passionate you are about life insurance.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Oh, yeah.

Reese Harper:
Especially whole life or variable life or indexed universal life, or adjustable comp life, Select 100, 65 Life. How many names do you want to call it? It’s life insurance folks, right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I know. My very first thing was, I want to be a comprehensive financial planner and I wanted a place that would have incredible support, a good product, but then would give me the training that I needed. And Northwestern checked all those boxes, and I loved it. But by year four, I realized that I wanted to market myself and have this marketing and they promised that I could, but by year four, I called up. Literally I remember, I remember this Reese. I remember calling saying I hit all my numbers, I did everything you guys asked me to do, what’s my next step on having my own marketing name?

Dr. Travis Parry:
And they basically said, there’s a moratorium on it. I had to check my vocabulary, moratorium, what? Wait, what? [inaudible 00:03:15] I’m not that smart, tell me what that means. They were like, we’re not doing that right now. For how long, I guess it’s a temporary thing, like six months, what are… They’re like, no, it’s indefinite. I’m like, another big word, forever?

Dr. Travis Parry:
So I felt like I had the bait and switch thing going on. And I think that got me started looking outside. But I think one of the big reasons was, I wanted out of the feeling of legal partner. I felt like the firm was going in a way that I didn’t ever agree to. I came on board so that I could run my own business, have my own show and have some support in the backend.

Dr. Travis Parry:
But it ended up being more like, no, we want you to work nights, weekends, you’re going to work as hard as we want you to the first five, oh no, actually 10 years until you hit all these metrics, all these numbers, and then you can have some freedom. And I was married, we had two kids when we started, three kids by the time I got to year four going, this isn’t the lifestyle.

Dr. Travis Parry:
In fact, I’m becoming a workaholic. I’m here on weekends, I’m here at night, and then usually those are the ones that stiff me. And so I was really starting to feel like it’s the BD, it’s the broker dealer, it’s demand and I didn’t sign up for this and I really wanted to have better work-life balance.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I already coached [inaudible 00:04:52] to figure out, how could I survive in this structure, right? Because by year three or four, you start to get some serious renewals from insurance. And then you’re starting to build up your AUM and it wasn’t huge for me, but it was something that was reliable and that’s how they keep you, right? It’s a golden handcuff.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And as I was looking at, how do I give that up and find something better? I looked at all sorts of different ways, but I hired a coach who could help me figure out better time management. And as I did that, about the same time my father passed away. And I’ve told you about this story and my audience knows about this, my father, he was 49 and he died very suddenly, similar build as me, different hair color and jawline, and like we’re the same guy.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And so when I found out that my dad passed away of a heart attack, I thought there’s no way, this is wrong. So we did all sorts of research and waited for the autopsy and found out that out of his four arteries, one was 90% clogged, the other three were normal buildup for his age, age 49. And he was on his mountain bike ride, he wasn’t on the couch eating potato chips. This is not stereotypical heart attack from obesity or other things.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And I was so perplexed, confused, wondering what happened. And I realized that after doing some research and everything else, it was probably stress, overworking, anxiety, all these things that he just kept inside, but on the outside, my dad’s a phenomenal guy. On the other side, he was in the community, in this church, everybody in his family just adored him and he was the center of so many things. But to have him go in this way was so perplexing that I was like, all right, I got to figure this out because I don’t want to have it happen to me. My wife was worried about it on that end as well.

Reese Harper:
Yeah. It’s obviously a worry when your spouse has some genetic markers or some kind of precursor event from their parents that could happen in your life. Was that part of the… Did you feel the pressure of that? You’re only what? At that point you were, were you 30? 26.

Dr. Travis Parry:
26.

Reese Harper:
Okay.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. So, well-

Reese Harper:
That’s a lot to pack on, I guess. That’s a lot to hit you at that age.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I was the financial advisor in the family. So I literally processed my father’s death claim.

Reese Harper:
Through Northwestern?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Actually was a different company-

Reese Harper:
Oh, I got it.

Dr. Travis Parry:
He got insurance that was great. His philosophy was, Travis, it doesn’t matter what kind, it’s what’s there when you die. He had plenty, he had some things built in.

Reese Harper:
That’s great.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I processed his claim, I helped my mom, I was really in charge of the estate, what was there left of what was going on, tried to help my mom rebuild and spend a lot of time doing that because I felt so bad, right? That was what I needed to do for my mom, for the family. I just gave it my all on that. But as soon as I got back to home, two weeks later, I was in the doctor’s office and he did every heart stress test, everything he could do, he was like, yeah, you’re fine, nothing’s going on?

Dr. Travis Parry:
I’m like, yeah, but so was my dad. There’s got to be something else. And so he was like, well, there’s these other things that insurance doesn’t pick up, like, yeah, I know, I want that. And so I did some testing, and your carotid artery right here in your neck, you can do an ultrasound and find out how much build up you have of plaque inside your arteries. And it’s 90% correlated with the rest of your body. And so I went and did that, they call an IMT exam.

Reese Harper:
Interesting.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I was actually doing pretty well. However, I was 30 pounds overweight, I could feel the stress and I knew if I just kept going on this path, what I call it the workaholic trap, basically because I overworked, I wasn’t eating right. I was eating fast food one or two times a day, maybe two lunches, right? And hitting the golf course which doesn’t really exercise.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And I wasn’t really spending the time I wanted to with my kids, my wife, and that was… It’s really all related to your overall health. So I had the coach help me try to figure out how I can make more time back, only to realize that when we bring that productivity back in Reese, this is what I call the productivity myth, that it’s not the end all be all. Because as soon as you become more productive, you go from 80 hours down to 50 hours of work.

Dr. Travis Parry:
If we’re a workaholic, we want to just fill that back up with more productive activities. And it’s very difficult to break away but it has the effect on your health. So I did a lot more research to figure out, well, what can I do to fix that? How can I help it? And that’s where the academic track begins, my walk back into academia.

Reese Harper:
Well, so if I’m hearing you right, it sounds like this experience with your dad created a moment for you to back up, look at your life in a more holistic view, and it sounds like it didn’t happen in an instant. It was a process over probably a period of time where you were able to identify this was about physical wellness, it was about mental wellness, it was about work hours themselves.

Reese Harper:
I feel like people always complicate work-life balance by… The word work-life balance is, I don’t know. It’s like saying… It’s a generic term, I guess, is what I’m saying. It’s a generic term and it can connote a lot of things to different people. I think for me, the way that I processed it is, work hours, it’s almost as simple as being like, dude, is 65 hours of work, that gives only 168 hours in a week total.

Reese Harper:
And if you’re going to sleep, I don’t know, eight of them, then you got to minus 56 off the top. I got what, a hundred and, the math on that, 102? I got a hundred waking hours. I can do anything with. In theory, if we think about architecting our life and how we want to spend our hours, when works at such a high percentage of our total available time, it’s almost impossible for other things to have value or meaning in our life.

Reese Harper:
We don’t have the time to develop the preferences for other things. Spending time with your family isn’t a thing you do once you finally get your work hours cut back, it’s a habit you build, it’s a process, it feels like, to me. You’re an expert in this, so I don’t want to say what the right answer is, I want to hear your opinion.

Reese Harper:
But for me, it’s like I have to practice the other things, exercise is practice that eventually becomes a habit that eventually I stick with. But there isn’t a moment where I go, okay, I cut off my work schedule and now I’m going to fill it like you said, because what happens? The other stuff floats right back in.

Reese Harper:
So I just feel the one thing that I’m noticing from your story is how I’ve found that coaching is a pretty critical issue in getting behavioral change to occur, that’s the point of a financial advisor, right? In most people’s financial life. But coaching seemed to play a big role for you as well in getting out of that rut, I guess.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. And every coach I’ve ever hired Reese is, I’ve hired for a very specific purpose, right? To teach me something. And I have never had the same coach, but academia is the same way. When you do a graduate work, you’re attached to someone in academia who knows what they’re doing, who has data, who can help you and through your dissertation or thesis and they become your advisor, just a financial advisor.

Dr. Travis Parry:
However, I’ll tell you, when I was thinking about this productivity thing, I realized that, okay, the only way to really fix that is to create boundaries. And those boundaries need to be your family. They need to be the time that you spend outside of work. So if you get a pro… You’re pretty productive, you can do 30, 40 hours of work and be making more than what you did when you were working 65 hours, that’s excellent productivity, but it only works if you are wanting to spend time to do leisure events, hobbies, time with your family, that you love those other aspects of your life.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So, that’s what you need to do. You need to set goals in those other areas and love it, and then make it happen. And what it’ll do is, it’ll cushion the other areas and really pad, so that work doesn’t overflow. And you’ll respect your work time so that your personal stuff doesn’t overflow into your work. It’s when those boundaries are so loose, that you really are diluting the quality of time that you spend in either.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And that’s where I think a lot of people get mixed up, especially building a business, getting started, all these things, logos, offices, et cetera. You can really work 80, 90 hours a week easy, and feel you’re not accomplishing much. So the boundaries are key. Now, the balance that you talked about, I actually, this book that I’m holding my hand right now, you guys can’t see it. If you’re just watch and listen to the podcast, Achieving Balance comes out tomorrow. Go to achievingbalancebook.com and pick it up.

Dr. Travis Parry:
But I almost named it, the myth of balance because you’re right Reese. Work-life balance is a misnomer. It is a totally generic term, but it’s a misnomer because it’s not just work-life balance, it’s balance in all areas of your life. I’ve interviewed over 125, 150 advisors at this point about this topic, and found that what they think is balanced is essentially how they feel, and how they feel about living their highest priorities.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So if you want to be balanced, don’t worry about X amount of time in this area and X amount of time in that area to be perfectly all the time. In fact, the cover has a pendulum swinging back and forth. You’re always out of balance, but if you’re living your highest priorities in life, then you feel balanced and you feel like, yeah, I’m doing those things I really want to. That goes for the activities inside of work and the goals that you achieve outside of work.

Reese Harper:
So if I’m hearing you right on this concept, you’re saying, I resonate with this message because I feel like it’s part of… I’m married, my wife, she’s half Japanese and she grew up in Southern California, but she’s brought a lot of Buddhist spirituality into my life. And one of the things that I think is in this Eastern philosophy is, the concept of balance is the tug and pull between extremes.

Reese Harper:
It’s the ying and the yang, it’s the two extremes that pull you in opposite directions that you’re constantly… I think people feel they’re failures a lot of times in this work-life balance conversation because they feel they’re not feeling centered, they don’t have inner peace, their stomach is tight, they’re hot, sometimes they’re tense, right?

Reese Harper:
But I feel like it takes those moments of tension in order for you to recognize that that’s not balanced, right? You need the extremes to pull you back into the center, right? So is that what you mean by a misnomer? I think you also said it’s a misnomer though, I think because it’s work and life as if those are the only two things that are opposing forces, but really it’s more like… Yeah. It’s like 10 things that we’re trying to balance not to, right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Exactly. Yeah. That’s actually right. There are 10, at least 10 areas that I’ve discovered in life that are all working together.

Reese Harper:
Oh, you actually have 10? I was [crosstalk 00:18:16]

Dr. Travis Parry:
I have 10. You should be.

Reese Harper:
Good student day for me. I’m a winner.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Well, the thing is what I like about what you just talked about is that you are feeling tugged and pulled in every area of life, because of the desire to become something. And this is why I talk about priorities and goals and advisors… This is common, like goals and values, this is common language we use everyday with our clients. But we tend to only use it sometimes in a very unholistic, very siloed manner with finances, right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
But if we look at here’s all the areas, spiritual health, physical health relationship with spouse, relationship with family, relationship with community and friends, fun and recreation, self-improvement or mental health, career, and then your own personal finances in no specific order. Those are all 10 that I’ve been able to uncover and really make sense. Everything really falls into those in some aspect or way.

Reese Harper:
So, did you arrive at those because you identified that they were sources of tension or pain in your consulting with people? How did you arrive at these groupings?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, when I first was coming up with the idea of what balance was, and coming up with the solution to that, I did a lot of coaching with other coaches and found that there really some main areas and just piece these together as, this is pretty logical, you’re missing out on this one, you’re missing out on this one and really came up with this on my own and tested it. And over the last really, nine years or so, I’ve found that it’s the test of time. There’s really nothing else out there that it could fit into this.

Abby Morton:
Hi, it’s Abby. I know one of your biggest challenges is delivering a consistent financial planning experience to your clients on an ongoing basis. You get off to a good start onboarding a client, and then what? There just doesn’t seem to be a good process for nurturing the new relationship.

Abby Morton:
The Elements financial planning system can help you easily organize and evaluate client financial data. Then based on key indicators of their financial health, deliver timely insights to your clients. Using our system gives you the structure you need for ongoing planning. To learn more, schedule a time to talk us today by going to get elements.com/

Reese Harper:
The concept of these areas, Travis for me is an interesting one, just because when I look at the American Psychological Association, I was writing an article the other day so this is fresh on my mind, but the American Psychological Association’s list, they do like you would know this better than me, but I think it was called the Stress in America survey or something that, was that right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Oh, yeah.

Reese Harper:
Yeah. So they just… It was like people grading the stress that they feel. And I knew money was a high one, I knew money and finance was a main stressor, I’d heard that my whole life. But what was surprising to me, and you can confirm this, what I was reading was, almost every year that they have done this study, finances or money occupy the highest stressor area of people mentioned stress or felt stress. And it’s not… I think it’s second to politics and but it’s a pretty distant second to get to politics.

Reese Harper:
Money is, depending on the age segmentation, it was almost 15 or 18 points higher than the distant second. But a lot of these second and third and fourth and fifth and six things on there were things you just mentioned, a lot of them. And I felt like a financial advisor actually in a really unique position to actually meaningfully affect people and how they feel stress.

Reese Harper:
And I couldn’t help but feel like, man, money’s probably tied to so many of these things though. It’s not these are in siloed bins. If we can just fix the money stress, well, money stress is tied to the relationship with the spouse stress and sometimes with the family stress, and sometimes the work stress. And then it all there’s… These are all interrelated. It’s hard to fix one without touching others.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I picked up on this, this is a really good place to transition. I picked up as I was doing my master’s degree, I was studying stress. I was trying to figure out, where does it come from? Because I wanted to avoid it personally. And then I wanted… I felt once I had my master’s degree that I’d be able to teach at a university and write and speak, that was my goal, okay? Just to do those three things and-

Reese Harper:
Why, because that’s not stressful?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Right? It’s not funny.

Reese Harper:
No. Was that a part of the driver, was that’ll be lower stress or not?

Dr. Travis Parry:
No. So stress is interesting. There’s different kinds of stress.

Reese Harper:
It’s like some people feel like that’s super stressful, right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Right. And for me, speaking on the stage is fun. But I’ll tell you, with stress, what we know is that there’s different types of stress. There is, you stress or distress. You stress is good stress, like getting married, a birth of a child, graduating college, like yay, paying off debt, having an investment that does well. Distress is debt, death of a family member, which actually Reese, when it comes to stress, death of a family member is one of the highest stressors out there on that list.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And also financial arguments, relationship arguments, divorce, one of the highest stressors out there. So as I started to look into this and really dive deep into where the stress is coming from, and then the frequency of stress, is this a long period or short period? Is this something that happens one time or does this happen over several years? I found that I really needed to do more academic knowledge and research into where stress is coming from at a family level.

Dr. Travis Parry:
In fact, in my book, in the last section, I have this, I divided in three sections. The last section is actually all about how personal development, this ongoing coaching that we talked about earlier, coaching is great but personal development is not the end all be all. In fact, a lot of the research from psychology is actually finding that it’s not self-actualization at the top of Maslow’s 1940s theory of motivation that drives us. It’s actually parenting and marriage.

Dr. Travis Parry:
When we are able to say to ourselves that we did a good job raising our children, and we’ve perpetuated values and goals to the next generation, that is actually our number one highest motivator in life. And interestingly enough, most stress comes from being a parent and having a spouse, especially if we disagree on money and everything else. We could dive into that.

Dr. Travis Parry:
But that’s where I dove into my PhD experience, said, I want to study money and marriage. And I’m going to figure out where this stressor is coming from. And my dissertation really put it all together with when couples who are on the same page, going the same direction, have the same values and goals, they are more likely to be healthier, psychologically happier in their relationship and achieve their financial goals together.

Reese Harper:
How does this apply… Do you ever get in a situation though, where you are coaching someone who is like, dude, I don’t really have that set of values. How does that tie in to people that may not have that view of how they’re trying to live their own self-actualization.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. So what’s interesting about this is the psychology, professionals, the psychologist who did this study wanted to look at Maslow’s theory and say, is this relevant for the two thousands? And it was 2010, they did this. And they were evolutionary psychologists, abnormal psychology, these were not family people. So it wasn’t like they were taking their biases and saying, this is what it is, they just found it, that the data was not matching up with the self-actualization theory that Maslow had.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And so in what I’ve seen in research is most people, even if they’re not married or they don’t have children, they want those things. They want a spouse, they want a partner that will be devoted to them for life. And they want to have an influence, whether that’s with their own children, biological, adopted, or even if they choose not to have children, they want an influence on others.

Reese Harper:
Okay.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And this legacy that we talk about, a lot of times as financial advisors, that legacy really plays into what legacy they’re leaving the next generation. So why are we thinking about it in a biological sense? It still fits most of the time, which is, it’s averages, right? We’re talking academic research. But not everybody’s going to fit this. However, I think most people still would agree that, yeah, they want to leave a mark, they want to leave a legacy. Maybe that’s through their business, maybe it’s through something else.

Dr. Travis Parry:
But that really got me thinking about where does this personal development end? And so getting on that personal development track is not a bad thing. I’m not saying that at all, it’s a $56 billion industry of personal development. I get it, it’s there. However, it’s not the end all be all, you need to actually involve our spouse, family members and others to help us, especially if we’re on that workaholic trap to be able to make sure we keep our boundaries.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And they’re the key. And so with my coaching, what I do with my clients is I actually over time involved their spouse to help them stay accountable. And not like a whip, any sort of weird way of trying to say ball and chain type of marriage, not that at all, but as an equal partner and as someone that can help keep them accountable to, hey, you said you’re going to work these 35 hours, let’s make sure that this happens. And we they plan their schedules together, they work toward goals outside of work together, and they’re much more likely to succeed.

Reese Harper:
So let’s pivot a little bit to some of the myths that you find in interacting with some financial advisors through your coaching. I want to hit a few things that you feel like are the main areas where financial advisors might fall short in achieving balance. What’s the first one that comes to mind?

Dr. Travis Parry:
So to recap, the big myths are the ones that I’ve mentioned here. The myth of productivity has the magic pill, right? It’s this something we can just take in and deal with.

Reese Harper:
Well, Let’s talk about that a little bit more. What is the… I don’t think we’ve teased that one out quite as much as we could have. What’s the myth of productivity?

Dr. Travis Parry:
So I think without boundaries, boundaries are the key here. Without the boundaries in the productivity time management system, we all have different time management systems or I’ll tell you what Reese, what I find the most is advisors are like, yeah, I have a pretty good time management protocol. They have a lot of hacks. They have a lot of tips. They’re really good at reading up on blogs, on watching YouTube videos, like I’m going to do time-blocking.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Okay, great. That’s awesome. That is a tool right in the bucket. But most advisors do not have a system. They don’t have a system where they say, here’s my ideal calendar, here’s what I’m proactively going to move toward, and here are the boundaries I’m going to set to make sure that I keep it. One of the main things I teach people to do, which is, I didn’t create this, this is, Getting Things Done, David Allen, The Myth of Multitasking Exercise, Dave Crenshaw, even Stephen Covey with his Matrix Season and other things.

Dr. Travis Parry:
We need to have some type of protocol that says, this is when we’re going to take care of tasks, put them on our calendar, deal with email and not multitasking throughout our day. It helps us to focus. It keeps our boundaries. We need to have office hours, even at home. I’m wearing this button down shirt and dress up for work because as soon as I go out that door, I’m home.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And if my kids see me in office-hour times, my three-year old, four-year old wants to come play with me, I’ve got to say, she looks at me like, oh, daddy’s wearing his work shirt. I’m not going to bug him. It helps keep those boundaries, right? But as soon as I’m done with work, I change and I hang out with them and it helps me because when I closed my office door, that’s another boundary, it’s a physical boundary. It helps keep me focused and present.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And one of the myths that advisers I think I struggle with every day is that they can multitask. But really we’re not multitasking, psychologists have found that we’re just switch tasking and we’re wasting time going from one activity to another, having 30 plus tabs open on our browser, trying to message everybody back on social. We just have to be focused and present. And that actually helps the quality of our work go up really, really high.

Reese Harper:
I’ll tell you, I know that there’s a point where I get overworked in a week and I start to get cranky. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I know it’s correlated with hours worked. I rarely feel cranky at a six to seven hour-workday. I’m rare… Let’s say I don’t feel like that’s getting me angry. When I know at a 14 or 15-hour workday, recently I know what that feels.

Reese Harper:
I know that the higher the number of hours that I work, the more strung out, burnout, angry I get. What I don’t know is, and I’m learning, is when I exercise or when I’m well rested or when I’m these other factors, when my relationship health might be good, maybe I can push a little further than I could have had I been weak and all those other areas, but I still don’t know what my boundaries are.

Reese Harper:
Should I stop at seven? Should I stop at eight hours? Should I stop at five and a half? Should I take a half day off? Because I’m wired to want to maximize what, my productivity, I want to go to the point where I feel I’m still healthy and giving it my best. And I don’t want that next hour to be diminishing return, right? It’s like I don’t know when I’m getting diminishing returns every week and it’s tough.

Reese Harper:
And so I’ve had a hard time setting rigid boundaries. But I feel like I’ve been able to get to some general guidelines and that’s been very helpful. But I still feel like I crossed those boundaries and I pay for it, right? I’ll be like, I push real hard and then I pay for it the next day or that night.

Reese Harper:
I’ll be having a conversation with my kid and I just don’t have time to listen to them read me the book because I’m just so burned out, I’m like, I got to go to sleep. Well, if I would have ended work earlier, maybe I can actually read the book or listen to them read, right? It’s like there’s these tension moments that… So I’m your client, you’re my therapist, help me through this, right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah. Well, I’m a coach, but this will be therapeutic. [crosstalk 00:34:28] There you go. So you nailed it, Reese, most advisers, you want to be productive, so I’m not saying productivity is bad, it’s just not the end all be all. You need to have a clear proactive ideal calendar built out. So how do you build out the idea of calendars essentially is what you’re saying. How you do it is quite simple, but most people will never do it.

Dr. Travis Parry:
And that’s why they pay me to help them. And that is essentially finding what are the most important activities that you do as an advisor or for you as an advisor to advisor, what are they? Write them down, figure them out, prioritize them. I have a system that helps people do that, it’s actually all in the book, the step-by-step way to do it.

Dr. Travis Parry:
But again, most people, they read a book and they never apply it or they think that’s great, but they just… They need help to tweak it. Where is your self-improvement? Do you value that time? You should. Is it all of your time? Probably not. But inside of work, I call it your sweet spot, Reese, hey, let’s get back to the bad golf analogy. When you hit the golf ball just feels, Oh man, that was nothing.

Dr. Travis Parry:
You hit that drive and it sails and it doesn’t slice, it doesn’t hook because right down the fairway, he goes right where you need it to go, that was beautiful.

Reese Harper:
And that sounds like Armello. Yep.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah.

Reese Harper:
Said no on ever.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Said no one ever. So that sweet spot is where, if you’re showing up to work each day and you’re like, I feel energized from work, right? And not feeling drained at the end of the day, that’s because you were in your sweet spot. It has less to do with the amount of work typically and more about the quality. So if you’re working those top three to five activities that are not only most productive, but that you also enjoy doing, then you’re going to be in that sweet spot location.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I had a client who, she is a financial advisor and a CPA. She actually owned both firms. And we went through this exercise and I knew what was going to be the outcome. I knew she was going to have to let go of her CPA firm because as I started working with her, I could sense the emotion around it, the stress that came from it, and even though it paid well, it’s not where she wanted to be. It’s not what she enjoyed doing.

Dr. Travis Parry:
We got off the phone about a week later, we got back in touch and she said, I’m actually selling the firm now, I’ve made that decision. As hard as it was, because I promised these people and dah, dah, dah, I have to let it go because it’s not really in my sweet spot. Once people prioritize those activities out and they stay, advisors stay in those three to five activities the majority of the time. Does that mean you can’t ever bump down? Of course not, but it’s the Pareto principle, 80/20, right?

Dr. Travis Parry:
If you’re there 80 to 90% of the time, you’re not going to feel drained Reese, you will feel energized. And when you leave work, you’re going to be a better version of yourself. Now I get it, it doesn’t happen every single day, but I do believe that if you’re there most of the time, that it will actually help that balance and that transition into, now I’m at home.

Reese Harper:
For me, I feel these values arrangement is really critical and you can’t just have someone tell you what your values are. You have to really arrange your schedule to meet what you want to accomplish in your career. And those are… It’s not binary, right? It’s just not.

Dr. Travis Parry:
It’s not. And that’s the key Reese. I’m so sick of the guru saying, here’s the eight baby steps to getting you out of debt or here’s the 12 things you need to do. Yeah. I have 12 steps in my book, but the reality is, it’s not what Travis Parry says you have to do, it is based on what your values and your priorities are. One of the best reviews I had of the book on Amazon was, this is the best book on priority management I’ve ever read.I was just floored. I was like, that’s it, it’s all about managing.

Reese Harper:
It’s a compliment.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, that was wonderful. It is about priority management. It’s less about time management. It’s more about priorities. Here’s what I suggest, once you’re in that work, the sweet spot, that business sweet spot, they delegate, delete, automate, those other things that either you don’t to do as much that you shouldn’t be doing because you can pay someone $7 an hour.

Dr. Travis Parry:
I literally was coaching a millionaire who was doing a $7 an hour task because he enjoyed it so much, but the cost of the time involved was killing him by thousands of dollars a day. So that that’s the trade off. You may enjoy podcasting, but you probably don’t do it all day long every day, you wouldn’t have a business, right?

Reese Harper:
Yes.

Dr. Travis Parry:
But this has some enjoyment. So what I tell people do is, line up all their activities and then ask this one question. I got it from Doug Carter, who is [inaudible 00:39:42] original. Doug Carters has been great in this industry training lots of advisors. But his one question is if I could only have one, if I could only have one, and this allows you to prioritize, not chicken before the egg, like what do I need to have before I have that? No, if you only had one in that time slot, what would you choose to do?

Dr. Travis Parry:
And that’ll allow you to prioritize your entire list so that you can get that top three to five. And then the secret is, then do most of your time in your ideal business calendar, those three to five activities first, and then prioritize, delete, automate the rest of them, or at least delegate most of the tasks so that you only have to fine tooth comb or oversee what another team member has done for you.

Dr. Travis Parry:
So for example, at this podcast, if this is one of your top five, well, I know personally, because Tab is on here, you’re not recording this yourself, you’re not editing it, you’re not producing it, you have a team that does that. You enjoy the interaction part, but you delegate and oversee the rest of it because it’s not worth your time to do all those other things.

Reese Harper:
A lot of great tips, Travis. We could go on for much longer, but there’s too much good stuff. So I really appreciate you taking all the time you did today. You are definitely part of my 70% of my job that I love, not my 30% that I’m about to go into here, my next appointment. I’m about to hit one of these, I will not be smiling. I got to end five minutes early, I meditate, you’ll be proud of me.

Reese Harper:
I’m meditating before every appointment, not really meditating, but I’m breathing, do a little box breathing for a minute or two before I go in just to make sure I get my energy level up for that next appointment. I feel like good coaches are essential in a financial advisor’s life. And if you haven’t ever taken the risk to hire one, at least experiment with what it’s to have some accountability around the way you’re running your practice.

Reese Harper:
I would highly recommend it. I don’t think I would have ever arrived even close to where I’m at now without good people along the way like Travis, to help mentor and guide some of the incorrect decisions that I was making along the way. Travis, thank you and tell the audience the last takeaways you’d them to have and we’ll wrap up, you’re getting the last word.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Yeah, for sure. Go to achievingbalancebook.com, pick up the book for shipping only. We’ve got that for a limited time and just releasing the book on March 24th so you’re hearing this probably afterwards. Make sure you pick up a copy. There’s a bunch of bonuses on there. I’m giving away a time management mastery class, a lot of what I just taught you about the collection points and the productivity, it’s all going to be spelled out in there, frame-by-frame.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Through three hours of training, I actually have an email inbox clean out tip that takes about 10 minutes to learn and actually go through site simultaneously that you will be able to kill the biggest destructor that most advisors have, which is email. And then I also… If you want to hit me up and have a consultation, you can schedule a discovery call. We can help figure out what is it that’s stopping you from having balance, what is it in your psychological lineup there that may be holding you back from making this a reality. So thanks for having me on here Reese, and everybody, check out the achievingbalancebook.com.

Reese Harper:
Thanks Travis. Look forward to having you back on again soon. Thanks again.

Dr. Travis Parry:
Thanks Reese.

Abby Morton:
Next time on Elementality…

Reese Harper:
There should it be consistent client deliverables, consistent experience, and it should be defined more than just this loose relationship where it’s mostly emotional jobs that we’re doing over the phone with very little dialed in process because the client experience is more holistic than just talking to you.

Abby Morton:
You can learn more about the Elements Financial Planning System @getelements.com/meet and schedule a time to speak with one of our friendly financial planning experts. Elementality’s executive creators are Reese Harper and Chad Jardine. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Hanes. Have a good one.

 

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