5 Time Management Tips for Busy CEOs and Entrepreneurs

Running a successful organization takes more than the skills you learn at school. Some of these “softer” skills only come with experience, learning from peers and mentors, or reading an article titled 5 Time Management Tips for Busy CEOs and Entrepreneurs.

To be a successful leader, you need to manage your time and energy effectively. Here’s how.

1. Delegate and Trust

Delegation is one of those things we all assume we’re going to be great at since it involves making other people do work that we’re meant to do.

But the reality is that many executives climbed to their positions primarily because they are so good at actually doing the things they’re now meant to hand over. Letting go can be hard. Trusting your resources to do as good a job as you would have isn’t easy. It’s a skill all on its own.

A 2017 survey performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that leaders who focus on “multi-function, high-level meetings” run more successful companies than those who “focus on one-to-one meetings with core functions.”

Delving into the details of a personal task isn’t necessary if you’ve hired the right people. Not only will smart delegation free up some of your time, but it will also stimulate the professional growth of those you delegate to. This is what the pros call a win-win.

2. Just Say No

No CEO gets to where they are without knowing how to prioritize their attention. As the leader of a company, you’re going to be inundated with requests for meetings, approvals, and guidance. Accept this as part of the job.

What you don’t need to accept is the responsibility of saying yes to each and every one of these requests. You’ve hired smart people. Use your discretion and let them figure it out. Decline politely and communicate your genuine confidence that the person will choose the right path without your input.

Better yet, delegate this task to your PA. Scan an incoming request, and as soon as you feel certain that it’s a matter that doesn’t need your input, get them to decline on your behalf.

Saying no isn’t bad leadership. It’s the opposite. By refusing to get involved in a conversation that you know can be resolved without your input, you’re empowering your staff to make important decisions confidently.

3. Prioritize Emails Effectively

Take a leaf from Bill Gates’ book and save yourself a generous amount of time. The Microsoft co-founder recognized that responding to each email as it comes is an enormous drain of time.

One way to save time on emails is to first skim the content of each email so you can categorize them. Create priority folders in your mail client and move correspondence into these based on their importance. Then, whenever you allot time for responding to emails, you have a smart method of spending your time replying to those that really need your input.

There are also several tools you can use to assist in this process. My personal favorite is Sanebox, which can be integrated with both Gmail and Outlook. It automatically moves certain emails based on your configuration settings, such as those addressed to all staff, into predetermined folders.

4. Live by the 80/20 Rule

A great way to save yourself time is to make sure that you’re dedicating your attention to matters that deliver maximum value. Following the Pareto principle, this should comprise 80% of your time. Allocate the remaining 20% of your attention to less important tasks.

Use your judgment here. As CEO, you will have the necessary insight into what constitutes the most value. Trust your intuition. If a particular meeting or interaction doesn’t fit into the valuable 80%, simply reprioritize it and place it into a timeslot that you’ve dedicated to less important activities.

5. Manage Your Sleep Schedule

Job satisfaction plays a big role in being an effective CEO. In a recent survey, Savvy Sleeper found that 95% of respondents said they attribute their career successes to maintaining a consistent sleep pattern.

At the same time, 85% of inconsistent sleepers felt that a healthier sleeping pattern would positively impact their careers.

Consistent sleepers reported an average of almost four hours and 25 minutes of sleep per week over their less disciplined counterparts.

Decide when you want to be in bed. Limit the amount of stimulation when you’re trying to fall asleep. Stay off Twitter. Read a book and relax. The extra hours of rest are certain to help you perform at a higher level at the office.

Final Thoughts

To perform at your peak, it’s essential to hone soft skills such as knowing how to prioritize tasks, enforcing healthy boundaries, and keeping a fine balance between work and relaxation time. And if you’ve been entrusted with the most important role in an organization, shouldn’t you be doing everything in your power to ensure you do your best work?

The answer is obvious. Don’t just rely on your education and experience when it comes to being a successful leader.



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