A common complaint among CEOs is not having the time to catch up on work and actually get their job done. But the harsh reality is, we all have the same 24 hours a day. Ultimately, it comes down to how you utilize this time every day.
If you haven’t taken the time to analyze and improve your time management skills, this is a good place to start. In this article, we will be breaking down time management for CEOs, tackling the top time wasters and how to avoid them.
Here Are The Top Time Wasters For CEOs
Meetings that you don’t need to be in and meetings that get off track are the biggest time suckers for CEOs. Leaders need to be protective of their time and only attend the meetings that will truly benefit them and their position. If you’re not sure if you need to be at the meeting, have someone else attend and brief you on what you need to know.
A pro tip is to preface every meeting with a Statement of Achievement and meeting outlines. An example of a Statement of Achievement is a statement like, “In this meeting we will accomplish ________”, and outlines all goals needed to be accomplished.
On average, organizations that use a Statement of Achievement find meetings end 17 minutes earlier.
If you are in a meeting that is slowly unraveling away from these goals, rein it back in. If these goals are not accomplished then the meeting is not worth your time. So before every meeting, check the meeting outlines, if you aren’t greatly needed in order to achieve the meeting goals, take your time elsewhere.
All time is valuable time. Even if its just 10 minutes between meetings, or the commute to work, we all have little pockets of time that we don’t use but could potentially be very valuable. Make a list of tasks that can be completed in 5-15 minutes, and keep this list with you at all times (no pun intended.) When you find you have a little pocket of time work through the list.
Instead of starting your day checking emails and calling your secretary, get in the habit of leaving your devices off until you’ve spend 25-40 minutes laying out the most strategic tasks of the day. This way you’re setting your goals before you become overwhelmed by the email infinite email. This way you can schedule a few times a day to look through emails and address them, without compromising your true goals of the day.
Multitasking. This hard-held belief around time management for CEOs of, “If I work on multiple tasks at the same time, AKA check my email while taking a call while driving to my next appointment, I’m making the most of my time.” Wrong. Multi-tasking is the enemy. As discussed in an article in The New Yorker, less than 2% of the human population can effectively multi-task.
Less than 2% of the human population can effectively multi-task, chances are, that is not you.
Research suggests that multitasking reduces your level of productivity by up to 40%. Our advice is, take the time to perform every task to the best of your ability, no matter how big or small, and you will not need to take the time to rewrite the email or catch up on meeting notes. Single-tasking is your new BFF.
If you allow your employees to ask you questions every time they don’t know the answer, you’ll spend your day doing your employees work for them. Encourage your employees to discover the answers for themselves. As I mentioned in Lesson #2 in the article Lessons Learned For Smarter Business,
Being a ‘doer’ and the “go-to” decision maker is often a soft trap set for yourself – you feel like you must tend to every detail, handle every customer issue, process all orders, do the scheduling, and more. You know how to get the job done, and if you are honest with yourself, you feel as though no one can do the job as good as you.
The Most Powerful Four Words A CEO Can Learn: “What Do You Think?”
Let your employees figure it out themselves. Empower them to go for it! This allows your employees to use more critical thinking skills, think more deeply, and become autonomous workers themselves. Instead of answering every question that comes your way ask, “What do you think?”, your employee may even surprise you.
Power Point Presentations
The goal of executive presentations is to open the floor to discussion and brain storming amongst the team. This means presentations should be short and two the point, and only help guide the discussion. If you must use Power Point, here are a couple of guidelines to get the most out of this platform.
- Send out slides at least a week in advance to allow everyone to read the slide before the meeting. This saves you from having to read off of the slides during the meeting.
- No more the 5 bullet points on a slide. No paragraphs.
- The main goal you wish to achieve through this Powerpoint should be stated on the first slide, every other slide is only supplemental material.
We all struggle with using our time in inefficiently, but by changing these 6 time-wasting habits for time management as a CEO you can regain control of your time.
Remember a “stop doing” list is sometimes more important than any “to do” list, so stop wasting time, and start improving your time management skills so you can be present for your team, your family and yourself.