Tuesday, 11 September 2018 09:33

Nicola Watts: Time to find my own work-life balance

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Chartered Financial Planner Nicola Watts APFS Chartered Financial Planner Nicola Watts APFS

In January 2017 I set myself a target that I would only be working a four day week and that I would be having the school holidays off. We work so hard to help our clients achieve their goals – this was one for me, time for myself every week and time with my girls during the holidays.

The four day week generally works. At our weekly meetings, running through what’s coming up in the diary, we have a saying in the office “Fridays are just Fridays” and no client appointments. For me that means I don’t work. For the rest of the team, that means that their working week is flexible to allow them to leave at lunchtime on a Friday. Clients love the idea that we are living our values.

Now nearing completion of Michelle Hoskins’ Standards International two year WOWW! Programme, we aim to achieve the BS and ISO standards by the end of this year. We have built strong systems and processes that has ensured smooth running of all aspects of the business and the advice process. It’s not been an easy task, it’s been hard work and there’s been a huge amount of work, but we now start to see the impact of all that we’ve been working towards.  

The school holidays are generally pretty easy to manage. We’ve worked really hard on building a strong team, clear job roles and responsibilities, and a team that really works as a team, that has grown with the challenges and extra responsibility that they have been given. Believe me, they have risen to the challenge.

There’s no doubt that the length of the summer holiday can prove a challenge, and of course, it’s not just me that’s on holiday, the rest of the team have also wanted time off. We’re lucky to have clients that know us, know about us and our families and have similar values in terms of spending time with their friends and family.

Yes, I had the two week family holiday, short breaks and ad hoc days out (around my husband’s cricket), meaning that of the six week holiday, I was only in the office for about 10 days in total. But, that doesn’t mean that the office “shuts down”. A system of careful communication and handover meant that no client query was ever left unanswered or delayed.

• I would call the office twice weekly for a quick half hour update to deal with any queries.
• An hour or so early each morning (though not whilst I was actually away) meant that client reports and more detailed queries were dealt with.
• One “mental” week of client appointments

The whole process has made me realise how much I am able to achieve when I have to. This may have proved a lesson in time management and not having the time to procrastinate – my biggest failing is faffing, and I didn’t have time for it!

Nicola Watts APFS Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager, CFPTM Chartered FSCI - director of Jane Smith Financial Planning

After joining the family business in 2000, Nicola qualified to provide advice in 2001, and has been a director of the business since 2006. Since the retirement of her mother (Jane Smith), Nicola bears sole responsibility for the management of the firm, and the advice provided to clients. Nicola is married to David and has two young children, Emily and Olivia, and Poppy the black labrador.



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Read 1936 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 September 2018 08:23
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