#Advisorhack: Hack To The Future


“And it don’t take money, don’t take fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train … “



Sure, we live in the information age. We have the tools, we have the technology! We can do more, faster, better! But not everything is simpler because it runs on battery. In fact, often the most forward thinkers in technology are some of the most avid users of traditional tools.

Maybe it’s the physicality of doing things and the feel of touching things that don’t glow. Maybe it’s that, in some cases, low tech is simply better. Maybe it’s because we’re human and analog tools have a permanence that makes us feel grounded. They give us time to think, free of beeps, buzzes, and other interruptions.

Regardless of your reason, these back to the future hacks will improve your productivity, efficiency, and communication, trumping their digital counterparts. Plus they just feel good.

Hitting the right note

Head down staring at a screen. That eerie iGlow on your face. Sometimes hefting an iPad or flailing your thumbs madly around your phone keyboard isn’t what you want to be doing in a social setting. In a client meeting that needs to feel intimate or sitting at a cafe gathering your thoughts, we often want to slow things down to connect to other people or to our own thoughts.

Not to mention that science has shown that we retain information best when writing it down, by hand, on paper, in ink. Typing doesn’t have the same effect. PLUS, your pen and paper will never run out of battery. While any notebook will do the trick, nothing beats a Moleskin notebook. These are substantial notebooks in the tradition of those used by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.

Pull it out next time you’re meeting a client, having coffee with a friend, or attending a seminar. You can use it to draw, graph, record text, and even make to-do lists! You’ll quickly remember how great it feels to cross out a completed task in ink. Yes, we’re a little achievement oriented. Obvious? Sure. All of us need a reminder of the absurdly obvious sometimes.

Drawing the right conclusion

You see what I did up there^? It’s a wonderful thing I’m now calling “@behaviorgapping.” Other people call it “drawing,” “writing,” or “graphing.” There’s even an amazing book about how to do it called The Back of the Napkin. It’s where you write or draw something by hand, take a picture of it, and then pin it or use it in a blog post or tweet to communicate an idea. And it’s pretty sweet. You may have noticed me behaviorgapping in my last #finsci post on Habit Science For Advisors.

Another one of my favorite Sharpie-wielders is Amber Rae, whose illustrations I borrowed for a post teaching Advisors How To Write Better, and whose adorable handwriting you see below:

Isn’t there something wonderfully human about that little infographic? Just as in Carl Richards’ famous Venn Diagrams, the information that a hand-drawn illustration conveys just feels more accessible, and I bet there’s some science out there that confirms:

You'll remember ALL this ...









... before you remember anything from this.









I know we preach embracing the digital a lot on this here blog, but there has to be a balance. What other analog practices are you using in your advisory business that are are more valuable than their digital versions?

While you’re mulling over a three-pack of Moleskines for $5 on Amazon, sign up for more #advisorhacks below:

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DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!
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