WORK-LIFE BALANCE

CEO Survival Guide: 30 Days to a Better Life

Time is your greatest asset. Follow these five steps to better manage your time and you'll see your performance improve in less than 30 days.
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I was recently asked by an MBA class what were the top recommendations I would make to business owners, CEOs, and new entrepreneurs looking to make the most of their time. Whittling it down to just a few was tough, but here are my top five recommendations:

  1. Figure out your $1,000 hours--Not all of your hours, or anyone's hours for that matter, are of equal importance to the success of the business. Some hours are priceless and some are worthless. You have to figure out the things that only you can do; those things that you aren't able to outsource to anyone else on your team. Typically, if you are rigorous, this represents less than 20 percent of your time. Let's say these hours are--at minimum--worth $1,000. The balance of your work is probably worth far less than that. The more time you spend in the $1,000 hour category, the more successful you'll be.
  2. Avoid time killers--These are the people, activities, associations, tasks, and regularly-scheduled meetings that are eating up your hours. Track your time for one month and you will probably realize that you have some unbelievable time killers that are sucking up your time. Time is your greatest asset and you have to ruthlessly protect it to get a maximum return. . This is not a "one-and-done" activity. Time killers are stealthy and insidious. As soon as you get rid of some, others are waiting to quickly take their place. Vigilance is required.
  3. Give 5 percent back to you--One day out of twenty is all I am recommending. This is your time to get out of the office and spend time with your greatest advisers. By that, I mean time with you and a pad of paper. After all, you are your own greatest adviser when you seek and take your own counsel. Thinking, dreaming, and planning are some of the greatest things that you give to your company, customers, and employees. If you don't set the time aside to do these functions, then you are robbing everyone of something that you truly are the only person who can do it.
  4. Get a swing coach--Why do all of the great golfers have swing coaches? Because they value the objective evaluation and counsel. Do you need a coach? Sure, you can do this alone, but probably not nearly as well as with a coach. Is it expensive? Probably--but do you want a discount brain surgeon? You are buying the counsel of the best of the best that you can find who can guide you to more quickly and efficiently realize your dreams. If they are cheap, they likely are not in much demand.
  5. Recharge your batteries every day--You are giving all day, every day, to everyone. How are you getting filled up? Is it your workout, your reading, meditation, or coffee with a friend? Are you getting it through friends, family, or faith?  Whatever you are doing, you need to be rigorous and regular about it. Plan for it. Rely on it. You need to take care of you. Rember, when the water fountain runs out of water, no one gets to drink.

The best of the best are fierce about protecting their time, goals, and energy. If you manage yours better through taking these five steps, you will have a better life in less than 30 days.

IMAGE: Mark Hooper/Getty
Last updated: Jul 2, 2013

TOM SEARCY | Columnist | Founder, Hunt Big Sales

Author, speaker, and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he has helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Searcy's weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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