One of the main concerns of CEOs around the world is how to be more effective and increase their efficiency. The scarcest resource CEOs have is time – there’s never enough time in a day to accomplish all the tasks they plan. As their companies grow, not just the operations within the organization become complex, but their role becomes complex too. So, where they allocate their time matters a lot. To allocate their time correctly, they need to prioritize tasks and figure out which task deserves their maximum focus at that moment in time.
Harvard’s researchers found that the most effective leaders are those who are the most attentive and focused while at work, and that’s what we are going to discuss in the article – where should CEOs place their focus on to be more productive.
Challenge your assumptions about your role
In order to welcome more productivity and other positive changes in your life, it is very important to challenge your old assumptions about a CEO’s life. For example, many CEOs assume that working for long hours is a part of a CEO’s life, so they end up exhausting themselves working long hours.
But, many pieces of research, including research conducted by Stanford professors confirm that working long hours is not equal to being productive. When you work for long hours, you risk getting burned out, fatigued, and even sick if you work beyond your physical and mental limits.
Therefore, you need to walk away from this and many such false perceptions of a CEO’s life. Question your own assumptions about being a CEO. Look to work smarter instead of working harder. Sometimes, you may not be able to stick to your schedule because uncertainties are a part of life. So be flexible but try to be consistent with your plan because that way, you’ll be a lot more focused.
Don’t teach your team to approach you to solve every single problem. Instead, teach them to effectively solve their own problems. Act as their resource, but don’t work to be their only problem solver. Use the collective intelligence of your executive team to collectively address the issues that really matter.
Tips for splitting your time
Below are some strategies that CEOs can utilize for better time management:
(a) Consider the following factors for better time management:
- How competitive is your industry?
- Where is your company in its growth trajectory?
- What are the internal and external challenges at the current moment?
CEOs must also learn to use their executive assistants effectively for better time management.
(b) Try to divide your time as per the percentages described below so that you are able to maximize your time for efficiency and effectiveness.
40% of your time on future
Thinking about the future doesn’t mean you have to spend time visioning or dreaming about the future of your business. It just means spending time leading your business towards where you want your company to be three to five years from now.
Create your future org chart. It should be flexible, and as time passes, you should review it, refine it and revise it. Spend time interacting with the future leadership of your organization and learning about their positives and negatives. After that, you need to think about what you need to do to encourage leaders to grow for their new roles?
30% of your time on strategizing
Discuss and create three to five-year goals with your executive team. It can include the following questions.
- What will be the USP of our organization?
- What do we wish to achieve within a set time limit?
- What will be the team’s role in achieving a three to five-year vision? This is important to create a culture of personal accountability throughout your organization.
After answering these questions, determine who will be accountable for what task. Also, take time to contemplate what success means to you.
Based on your strategic roadmap, you should organize your business activities, like – spending time with key stakeholders, potential customers, current customers, supply chain partners, etc.
Keep it human, don’t use buzzwords, business jargon, or heavy corporate language. By telling relatable stories in simple language, you will be able to have a better influence on those around you.
15% of your time analyzing the factors determining your success
Being a CEO, there’s power in your presence. Use that to inspire those around you toward higher levels of performance. Nurture the talent you already have within your organization. Be a resource for your team; be accessible. Based on the roadmap that you have prepared, analyze the following:
- What’s working well for your company, and why?
- What’s going wrong and why?
- What are the gaps, and what can be done to fill them?
- Which key internal functions need to function at a higher level, so you start seeing results that have not appeared yet?
- Which positions need new hiring?
- What are the core issues or challenges your company is having?
15% of your time to work on yourself as a leader
Take time to become a better leader for your organization. Read more, practice mindfulness, contemplate and reflect on your own actions.
As per the author of the book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, 88% of people who are financially successful spend 30 minutes every day reading. Besides reading, set aside some time to relax, and do things that you enjoy, such as watching movies, playing video games, gardening, etc.
Learning how to lead helps you execute a more positive influence on the people around you. An executive coach can help you stay on track and lead you towards the future you want.
These were some traits and strategies that can help you manage your time more effectively and be a better leader. But, don’t be disappointed if things don’t work out at first. Like most things, being a better leader is also a work in progress. So make the most of the opportunities and challenges presented to you and keep learning from your successes and failures.