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Harvard Business Review recently studied how 300 top-level CEOs work.
The authors of that report, Michael E. Porter and Nitin Nohria, studied CEOs of companies with an average revenue of $13.1 billion, and they found those CEOs typically work about 62.5 hours per week.
Typical CEO work days are between nine and 10 hours long, and these top executives also put in time during the weekend to prepare for the upcoming week.
Many entrepreneurs post self-congratulatory pictures on Instagram about hustling late at night and over the weekend, but what can business owners learn from Fortune 500 leaders?
Cultivate Time Alone
Many CEOs cite alone time as being key for reflecting on the growth and direction of their businesses.
However, many CEOs get the alone time they need only when traveling from one office to the next on a long flight. After all, everybody wants face time with a CEO.
If you have more control over a work day, you can cultivate time alone more easily. Set aside an hour or two each morning when you don’t take phone calls or attend meetings.
You could also use this time for product development, writing or analyzing customer research.
Sending emails isn’t a good use of a CEO’s time. What’s more, other executives in a large company may spend hours deciphering the tone and intention of a hastily typed email from a top leader.
For this reason, many CEOs rely on executive assistants to manage their inboxes.
If you want to tame email like a CEO, hire an assistant to manage your email inbox so you can spend less time responding to other peoples’ priorities.
Alternatively, consider batch-processing email. Look at your email inbox only at certain times during the work day, for example at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Set Time Aside For Your Well-being
CEOs work long hours and often on the weekends.
However, Harvard Business Review also found successful CEOs typically get between six and seven hours of sleep per night. In addition, they spend time with family and prioritize exercising and other pursuits like reading.
CEOs work long hours, but early starts and late nights are unsustainable over the long-term, even for leaders at the top of their game.
So, schedule time for your personal well-being.
Former Bridgewater Capital CEO Ray Dalio and Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey both set time aside for mediating.
In January, Dorsey tweeted about attending a 10-day silent retreat, while Dalio said:
“Transcendental meditation has probably been the single most important reason for whatever success I’ve had.”
Prepare For Shorter, More Focused Meetings
Unsurprisingly, CEOs spend a large amount of time in meetings with direct reports, their leadership team and even with the wider business at town halls or off-site.
As a manager or entrepreneur, you might not have to spend quite as much time in meetings. That said, consider reducing the default meeting time from 60 to 30 minutes.
Set goals, outcomes and pre-reading materials beforehand too.
You can also go to lengths to document what you do within your business as a checklist so others can pick up faster from where you left off.
Advance Your Agenda
Successful CEOs focus on advancing key agendas for businesses they manage. Typical agendas could include acquiring a company or customer or launching a product line.
So what are your agendas for the coming three months? Do you want to write a business book, launch a product or offer a coaching service for your customers?
Decide on the two or three most important things you want to accomplish over the next 90 days and do whatever you can to advance those plans you start a new project.
Anything else is just a distraction.
March 14, 2019 at 04:47PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs