Four Tips from CEOs to Master Time ManagementWe've all felt like we could use another hour or two in the work day. According to an eVoice survey of small business owners, time is viewed as the most valuable asset, considered more important than tangible resources such as computers or cell phones.

As a business leader it’s interesting to see what other CEOs do to manage their time.

The Wall Street Journal has been doing a video series called Lessons in Leadership to gain insights, management tips, and more from CEOs at large companies.

Four Tips from CEOs to Master Time Management

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, says people often get caught up in the day-to-day flow. Weiner adds, “If challenges keep coming up there is a natural tendency to solve one problem after another.”

To manage his time, he carves out time to think, as opposed to reacting constantly. During his thinking time, he thinks strategically, proactively, and long-term. He tries to strike a balance between what is urgent versus what is important.

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, creates spreadsheets to budget time for the year. He allocates time for meetings, travel, and innovation. He even schedules his free time and his vacations. He says he wants to make sure he feels comfortable he has enough free time.

Kevin Roberts, former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, says his secret to work-life harmony is to never back down or compromise. He also says not to do the stuff you don’t like, preferring instead to delegate.

Kenneth Chenault, CEO of AmEx, says he allots time for developing talent, managing business priorities, and meeting customers. He says business leaders need to spend a good amount of their time with customers because it keeps you externally focused. He sets a framework of how to manage his business, short-term, moderate-term and long-term issues.

You also need to set the pace of your organization and team; set the framework as Chenault would say.

Jay Steinfeld, founder and owner of, says as a business owner, you are called to be your organization’s timekeeper, to look at the bigger picture, and to set the pace for your team.

He wrote an article for Inc., offering a few tips on how to tell when you should speed things up or slow them down.

When to take it Slow:

  1. Strategic planning
  2. With criticism
  3. Making judgments before having all of the information
  4. Moving something to the top of your list
  5. When hiring
  6. With training

When to Speed it up:

  1. Dismissing non-performers and detractors
  2. Cutting projects when they’re not on the roadmap
  3. Offering specific feedback
  4. Correcting your course
  5. Admitting your own mistakes
  6. Promoting from within
  7. Trying and taking risks

As a business owner, you may be interrupted frequently and pulled in multiple directions. You can’t eliminate them, but you can decide on how much time you will spend on them. Everyone will find their own timing, but if you feel pressed for time, these tips might help you to stay on track.

What tips would you add? Do you use any tools to manage your time?

image credit: RLHyde 

How to Challenge the Status QuoFor many years, Microsoft ignored the Internet.

Google ignored social media.

Beverage companies ignored bottled water.

Record labels ignored digital media.

And, suddenly, all were forced to sit up and take note.

In each of these cases, it's impossible to blame one CEO or one product manager. Each of the companies, or industries, were so mired in their own "this is the way things have always been done" they were all to blame.

It is pretty easy to see how each of these examples were blinded.

Microsoft was making personal computers not attached to anything but a person's desk. Google looked at social networks, such as MySpace, and could see how it couldn't be they ignored them. Beverage companies thought a product had to be made. The record labels made their money from producing albums. And they all missed huge opportunities.

Seven Questions to Challenge the Status Quo

If you want to challenge the way you've always done things so you don't end up missing opportunities like these examples, ask yourself the following questions:

What do you know about your customers?

What do you think your customers want/need?

What do you know about your industry?

What do you know about your competitors?

What trends are happening within the industry that you've chosen to ignore?

What are some things your competitors are doing that you've chosen to ignore?

What if the things you know to be true aren't true at all?

It's easy to go to work every day, do things the way you've always done them, then go home to your family each night. Perhaps your business will even continue to grow.

Or you can choose the hard way: You can challenge your thinking, once a quarter. Ask your leadership team to work with you and challenge their thinking. Discover one diamond in the rough each quarter and vow to work on it. Soon you will be your industry's Facebook or iTunes.

How do you challenge the status quo?

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