The Direct Network

How to Manage Your Schedule Like a Big-shot CEO

Posted by Dean Asher on Feb 5, 2016 4:00:00 AM

We know how hard it is for administrators to find time in their busy schedules to do everything they need to do in any given day.

We've given advice before on ways to get the most out of your very limited time, but why not take some hints from some of the busiest people on earth: CEOs of major companies?

How to Manage Your Schedule Like a Fortune 500 CEO

Learn to say "no"

We already told you about the three D's: "Do, Delegate or Dump." This is a valuable way of lightening your workload and assessing what truly needs to be done, but sometimes it can be valuable to just avoid doing it in the first place.

From impromptu meetings to projects, we want to please everyone — regardless of how much time we actually have to give. When asked by a friend how to say no while remaining polite and helpful, entrepreneur and investor Mark Suster outlined his simple method.

I told him it was best if he had a standard line he could send out when he gets these kinds of requests.  I suggested something like the following:

“Thank you for writing to me – it’s nice to hear from you (or meet you) via email.  Fortunately [my company] has started to take off in ways that I couldn’t have imagined just a short time ago. Unfortunately that means I don’t have as much time as I used to have to take meetings with people.

I hope you’ll understand.  I’m now under a lot of pressure from my board to deliver against some pretty ambitious goals.

I do try to get to tech social events from time-to-time so I hope we can catch up there.  Hope you understand.”

Suster outlined an easy, templated way to turn down impromptu, uneccessary meetings without seeming rude or unapproachable. He's keeping employees and partners happy while keeping his schedule on track.

Go computer-free for a day

We realize this sounds completely insane, but try it. You'll be surprised how much you get done. After all, it seems to work for Larry Page, Google CEO. Page told Fortune Magazine in 2014 that he "forces himself to do without a computer during much of his day. He makes a point of attending meetings carrying only his phone, and he has encouraged engineers and product managers to try to spend at least a day every week just on their mobile devices."

While Page's goal was to shift his mindset to help guide Google's focus toward mobile technology, it also helps cut down on distractions and get him away from his desk for a portion of the time each week. What could you do with that time?

If you have to meet, stand

We've been there before. We schedule our days to have time between meetings, but meeting after meeting drags hour after hour. By the end of the day, we haven't had a chance to grab a snack or go to the bathroom, much less get other work done.

Neal Taparia won't stand for it — or to be more precise, he only stands for it. The Co-CEO of EdTech company Imagine Easy Solutions wrote a guest blog for Forbes where he revealed how he made meetings more efficient.

"Every Monday, I meet one-on-one with all our managers or small teams. I have five meetings that run, on average, for about 45 minutes to an hour. By the end of the day I’m exhausted. I started running these meetings standing up, and I’ve seen tremendous improvements," he said.

"Immediately I noticed that my meetings were shorter. For fun, I briefly tested the length of my meetings sitting vs. standing. Though not exactly a scientific experiment, I found my standing meetings lasted 36 minutes on average vs. 48 minutes sitting down. Melissa Dahl of New York Magazine recently wrote that standing up meetings can reduce meeting time by 34 percent."

If you spent 34 percent less time in meetings, that's 34 percent more time you can put into every other item on your to-do list.

What would you do with that time? What tricks have you found to better manage your time? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

About Dean Asher

Dean Asher is a former copywriter with MBS. Though he no longer writes for us, he is still proud of having helped this blog continue to evolve as an industry-leading resource of news and original content.

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