By Kristopher B. Jones, serial entrepreneur and investor. Kris is the Founder of 2020 SEO Agency of the Year Finalist LSEO.com.
CEOs always have to think about how to lead their companies toward growth and success while also managing themselves as people with families and personal commitments. As with everyone else, CEOs need the time to think through decisions and then execute the actions and duties that turn those decisions into realities. When I think about it, I sometimes marvel that CEOs can get anything done at all.
If you've been struggling with your productivity as a young CEO, here are three tips that may help keep you on track.
1. Don't Get Lost in Meetings
You may be the CEO, but the decisions you make will tend to involve your executive team as well so you're likely already used to having meetings. The thing is, CEOs can come to dread meetings simply because there are so many of them.
Talk to any number of CEOs and I'd bet you'll find more or less the same advice: Minimize your meetings and the duration of each. Don't set meetings that have no plan. Or don't schedule them for longer than 15 minutes. This will keep attendees focused on the relevant topic.
Too easily, meetings can veer off course and become miniature socialization events. CEOs can't afford that time. If there's no set plan beforehand, or if a meeting is slowly losing its usefulness as people become too relaxed, it could very well be time to adjourn until next time.
The time you save in doing this could make all the difference in your workweek.
2. Eliminate Interruptions
Just as limiting your time spent in meetings can help make you more productive, so too can actively blocking out distractions while you're working.
You know that CEOs need to spread themselves out to be available to people in all corners, but sometimes, CEOs need a block of time to themselves to gun it toward achieving a certain goal.
The issues that come up in the meantime will still be waiting for you when you're finished, but if only for an hour or two, if you need to stop all email notifications and knocks on your office door, you have the right to do so.
To make the most out of these time blocks, select anywhere from one to five objectives you want to accomplish and focus on them uncompromisingly. Don't let anything breakthrough. Let everyone else know of your plan so they can accommodate this part of your schedule.
If you can do this, you may just be able to increase your output as a CEO gradually over time until you are performing at a level you never thought possible.
3. Make Routines and Stick to Them
If you've found a system of habits that works for boosting (or at least maintaining) your productivity, then it makes sense to replicate those habits every day.
It's sort of how businesses scale a service or product that works. Once you land on something that fits who you are and how you like to work, optimize it and then repeat, repeat, repeat (scaling works similarly, except you're looking to multiply those efforts).
In that context, CEOs should find daily routines that bring out their best and then not break from them.
You can read about CEOs who structure each day of the workweek around a different area of the business. Maybe one day, you spend your hours poring over personnel and staffing and issues relating to your executive team. The next day you can devote entirely to lead generation, while the day following that, perhaps you look only at financials.
This method of structuring days may not work for every CEO. It can be a lot to put a solid eight to 10 hours or more into a single subject. But it's a way of simplifying and organizing your week in a way that's manageable and easy to remember.
You may just find you can get more done this way than by throwing five to 10 areas of your business into a typical Monday.
You might have noticed that these three tips for CEOs keeping themselves productive can all be boiled down into the general subject of time management. When you think about it, that's all being productive is. CEOs have the same amount of time in a week as everyone else. And yet, some people get more done than others. How? It's all in what you do with your days.
I hope you've learned something from these pointers. Practicing new routines can be a little daunting at first, but once you get into the rhythm, you may find whole new vistas open up for you.