On average, CEOs spend 62.5 hours a week doing work-related activities. However, further studies revealed that 80% of their time is devoted to business and management practices – factors that only account for around 20% of the company’s long-term value.

As business owners, your most powerful resource is time. So to avoid wasting this valuable resource and make the most out of it, you need to eliminate these biggest time wasters for CEOs:

1. Unnecessary Meetings

Meetings are always an integral part of the decision-making process of any business. However, 56 million ineffective meetings happen every single day in the United States alone!

Consider this scenario: A highly productive company will conduct meetings every other day or twice a week. Since we have always believed that it is the CEO’s responsibility to overlook these types of gatherings, they will attend all of them. However, if you as the business owner come to every meeting, hoping to solve every problem there is, you are most likely underutilizing your staff and managing meetings ineffectively. Learn more about managing effective meetings here.

Tip: Having a clear agenda communicated to all can turn a one-hour meeting into a 15-20-minute meeting.

2. Unnecessary Emails

Emails can be the death of good time management. Studies show that just re-reading emails without taking action on them has the equivalent of wasting AN  ENTIRE WEEK worth of vacation time.

To help you with this problem, consider mastering your time with the Touch it Once Rule. If you touch it, take action. This applies to everything, even if it’s only replying to an inquiry email.

 

Additionally, always make sure that you and your employees use a relevant subject line that clearly covers the topic involved in the email. If the subject in the email changes, the subject line should also change. This tiny detail will help your team save time by preventing you from re-reading hundreds of emails just because you can’t find that one email from three months ago.

Tip: Turn off your email notifications right now. Your productivity significantly decreases when your attention is sidetracked with a notification.

Setting standards on sending and managing emails is helpful in terms of team communication, time management, and problem-solving. Similarly, it is also important to have specific times during the day when you will respond to them. You must train your team to follow your best practices so that everyone is highly productive, avoiding the notification syndrome that throws off your focus. Instead, allot two 30-60 minute times in your scheduled day where you can focus on your email responses.

If you want to know how billionaires manage their time, feel free to check out this blog post.

 

3. Employees’ Conflict

Interacting with your employees is necessary not only in letting you know what’s happening within your team, but is also a great way of wielding influence towards them.

However, when problems ensue within the team, what should you do?

While it is true that their conflicts can greatly affect your company, it should not be part of your job to resolve issues and conflicts among your employees.

Instead, have a middle person or an HR manager who is trained in conflict management to take over and resolve workplace miscommunications. This way, you will have more time to deal with more important business matters.

 

4. Interruptions

How many times do you answer the same questions for your staff or your clients? This repetition happens all the time and you may not notice it but it’s wasting your team’s valuable time.

Quite often, our biggest time wasters are the constant interruptions that take place only for a few minutes. Answering queries, waiting for a late employee, resolving management issues, re-reading mails – all of these consume less than an hour of your day. But when these numbers are compounded, they waste a lot more time than you think.

One of our workshops involves an activity designed to identify what the biggest time wasters of businesses are. If you want to try it, this is how it’s done:

  1. Have your whole team take 2 minutes to silently write down on their paper all the ways their time is wasted in their role and what they think are the biggest time wasters in the company.
  2. The moderator (typically the CEO) then goes around the room collecting everyone’s written answers and writes them up where everyone can see. (For example, in a zoom call, you write them down for everyone to see in a screen share. In a meeting room it could be on a whiteboard).
  3. Vote on the list of the biggest time wasters in the business to see which the team believes is the most critical.
  4. Lastly, decide an action plan for what will be done to start solving this issue. Whom will do what to solve this issue.

This simple exercise made companies identify what’s stopping them from being productive and ultimately solved their decade-long problems. For employees, it enabled them to grow as a person and become better leaders themselves.

This is our ‘How to Go from Zero to a Hundred Million and Beyond’ teaching. The 3Ps: Policies, Process, and Planning that makes companies scale faster, better, smarter. Click on this link to know more.

 

5. System Intrusion

Research revealed that the second biggest worry for CEOs this year is actually cybersecurity.  This was rather surprising to us. Nonetheless, we have become a society that depends upon technology. When properly handled, technology within an organization can create an exponential efficiency no competitor can match. That is why we’re seeing companies less than five years old selling for eight and nine figures is the power of technology today is infinite.

However, when misused, tragedy can strike with loss of data and cyber-attacks can cause Goliaths to fall. On a smaller scale in day to day operations, system intrusion or system failure increases the completion time of tasks which leads to delays on projects. This is a subset of interruptions at work that is caused by technology. This can either be a system property issue that arises when the system you’re utilizing for work completion has features that fit poorly with the task you’re doing, or deficiency in system resources such as breakdowns, or glitches caused by upgrades or failed upgrades.

Nowadays, any CEO, business, or company has become reliant on technology. It becomes a great tool to help you accomplish your business goals when done correctly.

 

 

In Conclusion

Being a CEO is an all-consuming role. There is always more to do. There are always more decisions to make. The cliché that 24 hours is not enough is indeed true for you. Eliminating the above-mentioned biggest time wasters can help you free up some time that you may use to do things that actually matter. Nobody can buy for more hours in a day, what you can only do is to manage your time more effectively across various responsibilities.

 

 

Take Action

Let go of the time wasters that run down your clock. Be more productive and focus on what matters the most. We want that for you.

If you want to become smarter about your time, if you want to increase the sales of your company, let’s talk! Schedule a no-obligation consultation on how to implement growth into your company today.

 

References:

Addas, S., & Pinsonneault, A. (2015). The many faces of information technology interruptions: A taxonomy and preliminary investigation of their performance effects. Infor System, 25, 231-273. DOI: 10.1111/isj.12064

Crawford, K. (2014). The biggest time wasters for CEOs. Forefront Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.forefrontmag.com/2014/05/the-biggest-time-wasters-for-ceos/

Dierdorff, E. C. (2020). Time management is about more than life hacks. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/07/how-ceos-manage-time

Mankins, M. (2004). Stop wasting valuable time. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2004/09/stop-wasting-valuable-time

Vass, I. (2019). What are the biggest time wasters for CEOs? Business Woman Media. Retrieved from https://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/biggest-time-wasters-ceos/