In our prior post, we posed a few questions to help you see if you've lost control over your schedule. In other words, are you working 80 hours a week and don't have any time for anything else in your life like seeing your kid's ballgame or, god forbid, an extended vacation? Would you actually like to have time to focus at work and get some balance in your life?
If this sounds like you, you can take back control over your calendar while still delivering great results in your business. Here are five tips for you to consider:
Upgrade Your Talent
If you're working 80 hours a week, chances are you're not just doing the job of CEO, you're doing someone else's job as well. The question is: who are you covering for? If you can answer that, then it might be time to upgrade your talent at that position since you probably are working with a C Player. That's something you can't afford.
For example, a CEO I coached finally recognized that he was doing his CFO's job as well as his own. Every month, he was involved in the closing the books because the CFO continued to make errors. When the CEO finally brought in a new CFO, a really talented A player, he immediately gained an extra 15 hours a week for himself. Think what you could do with that kind of extra time.
Charge For Your Time
Do you ever feel like your team invites you to meetings out of habit or as some kind of cover? Have you ever stopped and added up all the time you're spending in those unnecessary meetings? One way to change behaviors around this is by charging for your time. I don't mean this quite literally, but let's say you come up with a figure, say $10,000, which is your rate for a day's work. Then, when someone asks you to attend a meeting, ask him or her whether it's worth $10,000. Is the potential client they want you to meet worth more than that? Can the project afford your time? I've seen this work with great success because your team will begin to invite you only when they really need you there.
We have seen this work in a professional consulting business where a partner was not charging for his time. Consequentially, he got invited to everything because he was super talented. When he began to charge the projects for his time--$10,000 a day--people were more selective about when they asked.
Ask People to Step Up.
Over time, as you begin to establish routines in your workday, you'll find that certain people begin to depend on you being present to help them to do their jobs. But this can become a big drain on your time. What you need to do instead is tell these people that you won't be as available to them anymore and that they will need to step up and take ownership of their own projects and teams. This not only saves you time, it also becomes a great developmental opportunity where people get to show you that they are truly capable of stepping up and taking more responsibility. This is a great example of how the best CEOs learn to develop talent by delegating.
There is no question there is something cool about achieving platinum status with an airline. You are greeted by name and you get free drinks and nuts while everyone else is shuffling aboard the plane. It's like being a rock star. But this is a false status. You've had to invest hundreds of hours fighting through security checkpoints to get those free nuts, which means they're really the most expensive nuts you've ever tasted! Obviously, you'll always likely have commitments that will require you to travel. The point is that if you want to take control of your calendar, you don't want to be traveling enough to earn anything near gold, silver or platinum status with an airline.
Use Technology to Leverage Your Time.
There's no doubt that the best businesses are built on relationships. And when you run a business, especially if it's a multinational with offices all over the world, you'll need to make time to build those relationships face-to-face. I like to joke that the best companies are actually lubricated by alcohol because of those after work beers and glasses of wine that become so important to getting to know people.
But this also takes an enormous amount of time. Once you have established a relationship, it might be time to begin to use electronic solutions to gain back control over your calendar. The truth is that you can be much more productive if you can turn an in-person meeting into a phone call or even by using a video conference service like Skype or Google Meetup. You can save on your travel time and you can also avoid the usual social components that are present in a face-to-face meeting. So, before you accept your next meeting invite, find out if you can find a way to do it remotely instead.
Try a few of these ideas and your schedule, work and life will benefit as a result.