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Time Management For The Ever-Busy CEO

Running a company is an exceedingly complex job. The CEO's vast role can include anything from delegating and directing agendas, driving profitability, managing company organizational structure and strategy, and more. All of this often means the CEO’s days are swamped. Learn a few quick tips on how to improve your time management.

What is Time Management?

Time management is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. If done correctly, you will get more things done quickly and efficiently, even when time is tight.

For owners and CEOs, time management is especially challenging given the magnitude of their responsibilities and the limited hours in the day.

Harvard Business Review published findings from a study that tracked how large-company CEOs spent their time. "On average, they worked 9.7 hours per weekday, with many putting in nearly eight hours of work on the weekend. In total, the average number of hours worked came down to 62.5 hours a week."

Meeting Overload

Limiting meeting time also makes it easier to create space during the day for "focus time." That block of time can then be used to work on setting future strategic goals and assessing the results of the current strategy. 

But knowing what meetings to get out of can be hard.

The following are a few steps you can take to limit your time in meetings:

  1. Evaluate pre-planned vs. ad-hoc meetings.
  2. Foster positive company culture that respects the free time.
  3. Establish a well-defined purpose for every meeting.
  4. Incorporate breaks between meetings.
  5. Create flexibility in how people participate.
  6. Encourage connection via technology.

Beyond limiting meetings, planning for the following day is also important when it comes to time management.

Prepare for the Next Day

Being proactive about the following day is vital for your time management. Prepare for the next day's events at the end of each day – schedule this time as a regular occurrence. Record your thoughts and agendas from the day. Then, make a plan for using your time, which you need to meet or follow up with.

Prioritize a To-Do List

You may find it helpful to write a to-do list for the week and establish what is urgent, what can wait, and what can move to the following week. This allows you to schedule how your time will be used.

You can also write a minor to-do for the following as part of your daily plan to get started on the right foot.

Set Boundaries

Setting and being transparent about boundaries between yourself and your company will ensure employees have realistic expectations of you.

Here are some boundaries you may want to set:

  • Set aside blocks of time for a particular activity.
  • Differentiate between needs.
  • Define the lines between activity and rest.

Setting boundaries and protecting them will help with your time management.

Delegate and Outsource Tasks

You may get so caught up with your day-to-day ownership of specific responsibilities that you essentially build an empire around your role. Then when you hold those specific responsibilities to the point of not sharing the load with the team, you can overload yourself and halt your company's growth.

In order to delegate tasks and responsibilities, you'll need to understand the most effective objectives. You also want to know when to assign responsibility to someone who is better suited to execute that objective.

In the End

CEOs must be the internal and external face of the organization through good times and bad, which can cause havoc for time management. However, if you prioritize your meetings, prepare for the following day, create to-do lists, set boundaries, and delegate tasks, you'll be able to manage your time more effectively.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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