Response Times & The Power of Focus
I check my email as little as humanly possible.
In practice, that means once a day on most days. (Yes, there are days I don’t check email at all.)
I also check my phone as little as possible. (And have virtually every notification disabled.)
Why I Check Email Infrequently
I sequester myself in this way so I can deeply concentrate and create highly impactful work.
Repeated focus (or task) switching is incredibly energy depleting — not to mention distracting. Multi-tasking isn’t a thing: we humans can’t simultaneously engage in two mentally challenging activities at the same time. Frequently checking email, constantly responding to requests that come my way - these deplete my energy.
Further, creating meaningful work and solving intricate, important problems - these require deep, focused work. There aren’t any shortcuts. My most impactful work comes about when I have extended periods of uninterrupted focus.
Extended, uninterrupted and deep focus benefits my clients, and everyone else I interact with. The world of finance is complex and constantly evolving. Navigating that world requires learning the details, understanding what’s changing and thinking strategically about what actions should be taken as a result.
And truly understanding my clients and what financial strategies will most positively impact their lives requires further focus. It requires deep conversation with them, and then deep reflection on the nuances of their life and financial circumstances.
Of course I want to hear from you!
But I won’t instantly respond to your email, to someone’s else email, and to whatever else lands in my inbox. Instead, I will dedicate an extended, uninterrupted period of time to process my email and then dedicate further time to craft on thoughtful response (rather than a knee-jerk reaction).
If you'd like to learn more about why I take the approach I do, click the image below to watch me explain.
My practice of eliminating digital distractions to enable focus on deep, essential and impactful work has been greatly influenced by three books:
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
When & How to Reach Me
Please — reach out to me anytime there is something on your mind you suspect I can help with.
Err on the side of over-sharing. If I don’t know about something, I can’t help you with it!
If something is urgent: call or text me.
You can send an email with more details, but never assume I’ll see in email shortly after you send it (because I almost certainly won’t).
Here are the different communication channels I use and how quickly you can expect a response:
- Email I typically check email once each day. I will do my best to respond to your email within 72 hours, unless there is an extenuating circumstance (like me being sick).
- Texting & iMessage I check text messages when I take breaks during the day. If you text me, I will usually see it within four hours. I make every attempt to return texts the same business day. (I am NOT able to text about investments. It's a regulatory thing. You can always text and ask me to check an email you've sent.)
- Phone calls I'll be aware of your phone call pretty much immediately (or as soon as I finish a meeting). I'm often not able to answer, so please leave a voicemail. I will return your call as soon as I reasonably can.
If you need to call or text, never hesitate to do so — at any time of day or night. My phone is often in do not disturb mode, so you won’t bother me (much less wake me up).
Financial Planning is not Emergency Medicine
Financial planning will establish a resilient financial foundation so you can better respond to whatever life throws your way.
I’m not an ER doc — and good thing, because I don’t do my best work under that kind of pressure.
At Turning Point, we're in the planning business — not the emergency business.
The financial planning I practice is preventative medicine (rather than emergency care). If you’re in acute financial distress or need financial crisis management, I’m not the right planner for you.
Of course sometimes there are emergencies that require quick attention and action. And in those rare cases, we will figure out what to do and how to proceed.
The fact that most of the work I do proceeds at a thoughtful and deliberate pace enables me to be there for you if a crises occurs.