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Improving time management strategies for the future

June 21, 2022//by Hutch
Improving time management strategies for the future

Reclaiming your time

CEOs are some of the busiest people on the planet. But where does their time actually go? And does this serve them and their businesses? 

At Hutch, we wanted to understand how CEOs spend their time every day. So, we dug into a Harvard Business Review study tracking over 60,000 hours of executives’ time. The study gave us a sense of where CEOs spend their time, while offering insight into how they might improve their time management strategies in the future. 

CEOs are constantly in meetings. 

  • 72% of CEOs’ working time is spent in meetings, and they average 37 meetings/week.
  • 38% of these meetings are over an hour long.

But many CEOs find that their meetings could be half as long as they’re scheduled for, if they’re even needed at all. Because of this, rethinking your meetings (whether that means opting out of unnecessary ones or cutting existing ones down) is one of the quickest and easiest ways that you can get some time back as a busy CEO.

Tasks that could be delegated take up a significant chunk of CEOs’ time.

  • 24% of their working time is spent on digital communications.
  • 11% of their working time is spent on routine tasks.

Not all digital communications or routine responsibilities can be delegated, but a lot of them can. This might mean having an assistant take point on filtering your emails or tapping other people in the company to attend regular meetings in your place. By focusing on the tasks that only you can do, you can start to let go of things that can (and should) be delegated.

CEOs spend a lot of their time in reactive mode. 

  • 36% of their working time is spent reacting to issues that come up, but just 1% of their working time is spent on crises.

It can be hard to assess in the moment whether something new that comes up is critical or not. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for what kinds of unexpected things will bump your other priorities. This can help you make the shift from reactive to proactive mode, allowing you to intentionally focus your time on the things that matter.

It’s hard for CEOs to tune out. 

  • They work on 79% of weekend days, averaging 3.9 hours/day.
  • 70% of CEOs’ vacation days involve some work, at an average of 2.4 hours/day.

But taking a break is so important, both for your mental health and for your personal life and relationships. It also helps you work better. Breaks let you recharge so you can come back to your work refreshed and ready to focus on what you need to. Giving your mind a break also allows you to incubate your ideas, which is what leads to those famous “aha” moments. 

When you’re a busy executive, rethinking your time management can feel like just one more thing that you don’t have time for. But by taking a hard look at where your time is going and where you’d like it to go in the future, you can put the processes in place needed to get out of the daily grind. This kind of intentional approach to time management is how you can start to focus your time and energy on the things that really matter to you and your business. 

Looking for more guidance on improving your return on time? Check out our Tips for Time Management and Prioritization playbooks. 

The above information is based on a study performed by the Harvard Business Review, which tracked how 27 executives spent all 24-hours of their day over three months. The study’s findings are based on over 60,000 hours worth of this data, as well as interviews with hundreds of other CEOs.