Executive Time Management

March 7, 2012 6:29 pm

We know that for good health people are supposed to spend 1/3 of their lives sleeping. Where do you think executives should spend 1/3 of their time to ensure business health?

Although the Wall Street Journal may not have the answer, it has identified what CEOs do in a week. A sample of 65 executives shows they spend:

  • 20 hours misc. (travel, exercise, personal appointments, etc.)
  • 18 hours meeting
  • 6 hours working by themselves
  • 5 hours at business lunches/dinners
  • 2 hours at public events
  • 2 hours on conference calls
  • 2 hours on phone calls

Do those activities seem out of balance? It did to them. The CEOs who participated in the study recognized that their priorities did not correlate to the way they allocated their time. (I’m also wondering how personal appointments factor in as work—but that’s another matter.)

If you’re having trouble making sure your priorities receive the attention they deserve, Robert Steven Kaplan, a professor at Harvard Business School, makes the following a recommendation: Substitute the word ‘money’ for ‘time.’ He says framing the time/value equation in this manner enables corporate leaders to more easily say ‘no’ when it’s appropriate.

The research fell short because the study did not assess how organizational performance relates to CEO activities. It seems as if that should have been the point.

A separate study of nearly 100 Italian CEOs revealed the way executives spent their time “strongly correlated with a firm’s profitability and productivity, measured as revenue per employee.” It turns out the biggest contributing factor for high performance is internal meetings. Meeting with people outside of the company had little impact on outcomes. Perhaps that’s because your primary role as CEO is one of leadership.

Post By Marcia Moran (314 Posts)

Marcia Moran

Marcia Moran

Marcia Moran helps organizations reimagine what’s possible and provides the framework for clients to achieve stellar, long-term results.

As a Performance Architect, Marcia uses the principles discovered through neuroleadership and positive psychology to deliberately design the employee experience and corporate culture. Blended with pragmatic systems design, these elements free people to play to their strengths while reducing strife in the workplace. As a result, people can push beyond their known limits as individuals, as teams, and as companies.

Marcia is also the Vice President of Marketing for Intelishift, a colocation company with operations in Ashburn, VA and Silicon Valley. Prior to moving to the Metro DC area, she worked as a business consultant for Up ‘N Running and advised startups and small businesses in the areas of management, operations, and marketing.

Marcia earned an MBA from Chapman University. She loves to travel, speaks Norwegian, and unwinds by kayaking and painting landscapes. Marcia recently co-founded Positive Business DC with Shannon Polly and Donna Hemmert. Positive Business DC provides resources to help people increase the levels of well-being in the workplace and at home.

Website: → Performance Architect

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