Are You Wasting Your Time As a CEO?

Effectively managing your time becomes more important once you’re the leader of a company, a CEO. The impact of your decisions is great, so addressing and moving through issues efficiently is going to have positive repercussions.

So how do you best spend your time as a CEO? It’s not like the role fits neatly into a job description. Your role is delineated by the stage of your company, the size of your team, and the nature of your business.

In a recent Harvard study, the 27 CEOs of large companies ($13B average annual revenue), including only 2 women, revealed how they actually spend their time. Most work an average of 62.5 hours per week. The majority (over 70%) work on weekends and on vacation days. They got an average of 6.9 hours of sleep a night.

The breakdown of what they spend their time on goes like this:

  • 25% people and relationships
  • 25% functional, business unit reviews
  • 21% strategy
  • 16% organization and culture

which adds up to 87%. These percentages reflect a focus on working on the business, rather than in it, appropriate for a CEO, and a shift that many founders need to make if you want a sustainable business. The rest of their time is spent on mergers and acquisitions (4%), operational planning (4%), professional development (3%), and crisis management (1%).

Three-quarters of these CEOs’ time is scheduled, and 25% is open. Overall, 72% of their time is spent in meetings, and 61% of communication is face to face. Over 80% of a CEO’s time is spent in interactions with other people, according to a Columbia Business School professor.

Surprisingly, the perception that meetings are a waste of time turns out not to be true for CEOs. One key finding is that the more time a CEO spends in meetings with employees, the better the company does overall. That is true according to the key measures of growth over time and productivity, even when controlled for industry, size, location, and capital employed. It also means that you can have more impact within your company, helping employees increase their own impact.

How much time to do you spend with your employees? Something to consider increasing, given the benefits.

Your time is always valuable, and especially so in your role as CEO. Focusing on working on your business rather than in it has big rewards not just financially, but also for the impact that you and your company can have.

If Time Were A Visible Commodity, How Would You Spend It?

Spending two hours commuting each day is a reality for many UK workers, says data that suggests Britons are willing to travel further and longer.

  • Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show 3.7 million workers travel for two hours or longer every weekday.
  • London came ninth from bottom, with public transport in the Big Smoke costing commuters £132 per month on average.
  • Those who travel by car in London don’t fare much better, spending 74 hours stuck in traffic per year.
  • More Britons endure “marathon commutes” than anyone else in Europe, research shows, with almost two-fifths of workers in the West Midlands travelling for two hours or more each day.
  • Britain has the European city with the longest commute but it’s not London… Moovit was one of the biggest of its kind and showed that Birmingham workers spent on average 94 minutes every day on the trains and buses.

Why? Our knee-jerk reaction and probably the basis for anything is money. If we don’t have money etc… And it’s true. We all need money to make ends meet but have you ever asked yourself how much money do you need to make that jump from trading time for money? It may scare you to even address the thought. So my next question is; would you work closer to home for less money? My final question is; if money wasn’t an obstacle would you still do your job?

The data suggest that the vast majority spend their lives commuting to a job they don’t like (about 87% are disengaged or actively disengaged at work). When it boils down to it the majority have allowed money to be their master. At what cost? If you look up the top regrets of dying people making more money isn’t one of them but working too hard is.

So what’s the solution?

I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts. John D. Rockefeller

There are no shortage of solutions in business opportunity sites and nothing of value ever comes easy. The solution rarely ever falls in to our lap and works straight away. The learning curve for some is steeper than others. Do your due diligence and don’t just ask if it works, ask does it work for me?

However, the one caveat I would say is – DON’T BUY A JOB!

In Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad he explains the 4 ways in which people can earn money. To be employed or self-employed is to have a job or be married to a job. While on the right hand side we have business owners and investors. These people don’t need to be present in order to generate an income (unlike a barrister, doctor, painter etc.). Make sure that whatever you decide to do has the ability for you to leverage your time.

What’s the cost?

They say that entrepreneurs are people who work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours per week. Clearly ‘they’ haven’t experienced leverage – the more you do the more you get as a direct consequence. I do about 20 hours each week because I love what I do and the compensation plan allows me to. The cost can measure in what you gain – you can never reclaim lost time but there’s always a chance to make more money.

Like money, time is a unit of measurement, a currency that you can spend. Like money, if you invest it wisely you get returns and you can amass it. The key is to know how.

It’s Time to Live Outside the Box

Have you noticed that the most successful entrepreneurs are out-of-the-box thinkers? They live outside the box. In order to know how to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, there are two things I need to address: an entrepreneurial mindset and what it means to be out of the box.

Are You Boxed In?

This box is a dream killer. It’s an entrepreneur crusher. So, where did this box come from? And how did we get in it? Well, here are my thoughts on what this box is.

It starts when you’re a child. They send you to school to get an education. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting an education. However, one of the dangers about school is how they start putting you into the box. They tell you to get a good education so you can get a good paying job and then, after 20 or 30 years, you can retire and start living the life of luxury. That’s how you become a success in life.

So, we go through Elementary, Middle and High School with a box mentality. And when we go to college, we’re still stuck with the box mentality, right? Then what happens after college? We jump right into the box and get a job.

Well, the job it’s almost like school:

  • We get up early and get to work at eight or nine o’clock.
  • We get a break at 10:15, and a lunch break, if we’re lucky.
  • Then we go home at six o’clock and get stuck in traffic.

There’s our life, still in the box, still following tasks, still doing what we’re told, so we can get a paycheck and try to simply exist.

What’s the Box Telling You?

So, we build our whole life doing all this stuff so when we retire, we can have an amazing life. But what happens when we retire? Did you know that a lot of people who are retiring die days or weeks later? They did what the box said and now they’re in a box in the ground. Why? Because they let the box destroy their dreams, vision and purpose. They felt they had nothing else to live for and passed on.

Live Outside the Box

Don’t let the box steal your dreams, vision and purpose! It’s time to live life outside the box and fulfill your destiny. What you have to do is get rid of that box mentality and start living your dreams. If you ever want to get outside of the box, the first thing that you’re going to have to do is change your mindset.

How important is mindset? It is, arguably, the most important tool that an entrepreneur has at his or her disposal. That’s because no matter what kind of business you’re trying to run or kind of entrepreneurial venture you’re attempting, your success, whether inside or outside of the box, has everything to do with your own positive attitude.

  • Many people inside the box aren’t even aware that they have a negative attitude. Many people have negative self-talk going on, down deep where no one else sees, but to the world they put on a positive face.
  • Only you can decide if you need to work on your mindset before reaching your dreams.
  • To live outside the box, you must destroy the negative image you have about yourself and process the effects of toxic experiences in a positive way.

When trying to achieve life goals, your positive, determined mindset will keep you focused on your dreams and purpose – no matter how hard the trial is.

There’s a lot you can learn while being inside the box. However, it is vitally important to remember this key point: never let the box steal your dreams! Change your mindset because a positive mindset is the most important tool that you have at your disposal. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, then it’s time to live outside the box.