We all have the same number of hours in a week, but for some of us the demands on our time are greater.
This is true with CEOs. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that each week CEOs work an average of 62.5 hours and attend 37 meetings. Getting the most out of their hours is critical.
Here are 4 tricks successful CEOs use to squeeze more productivity out of themselves and their employees:
KEEP ONE DAY A WEEK FREE FROM MEETINGS
Thirty-seven meetings a week is a lot, and Asana CEO Dustin Moskovitz makes sure at least one day a week is meeting-free, implementing a company-wide “No Meeting Wednesdays” (NMW) rule.
“The high-level goal of NMW is to ensure that everyone gets a large block of time each week to do focused, heads-down work,” he writes on the company blog.
“The justification is well articulated in a now famous Paul Graham article: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.
The gist is that makers suffer greatly from interruptions in their flow time. Managers are generally used to having a schedule-driven day, so it’s easy for them to throw a disruption into somebody else’s calendar. Makers also do this to each other.”
Moskovitz wants managers to be makers some of the time, so NMW ensures they get some flow time, too, he said.
MAKE TIME FOR A NAP
One of the best ways to recharge during the day is with a nap, and StockX CEO Josh Luber isn’t afraid to admit that he sleeps on the job.
“I find that one of the best ways to maintain productivity is to incorporate power naps into your day,” he says. “At the rate at which StockX is growing, it’s a 24-hour job and I spend 70% to 80% of my time on the road across varying time zones, which can be hard on your body. I take 11-minute naps once or twice per day and find that it makes for increased energy and efficiency.”
USE DOWNTIME TO THINK
Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx, knows that she does her best thinking in the car. The problem is that she lives very close to her office.
“I’ve created what my friends call my ‘fake commute,’ and I get up an hour early before I’m supposed to go to Spanx and I drive around aimlessly in Atlanta with my commute so that I can have my thoughts come to me,” she told LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman on his podcast Masters of Scale.
Blakely also said she brings a notebook with her to take advantage of lulls. “There’s a number of events where the content on stage is super boring, but I’m locked in my chair because I can’t walk out,” she told Hoffman.
“That’s the reason I always bring a notepad with me, because what I’ll do is I’ll start working. I have the focus of the fact that I can’t leave, I can’t get distracted, I can’t go work on something and I can’t do email, and I’m just sitting there with my pad of paper.
I’m sitting there going, ‘Okay, this is really fucking boring,’ and I pull out my notepad and I start working.”
BE SPECIFIC WITH EMAIL
Katia Beauchamp, cofounder of Birchbox, says one of her best productivity tricks is something simple: She insists that her team includes a deadline in their email.
“It makes prioritization so much faster,” she told Lifehacker.
“这能更快地分清优先次序，”她告诉生活骇客 (生活骇客是高科传媒旗下的一个以生活中的科技产品和软件应用为主题的科技博客) 。
Repeat the grouping and refining process until you have just a few big tasks.
“If you have a list of 20 things to do, you end up realizing, ‘I don’t need to do 20 things,'” Chesky said. “If I do these three big things, the other 20 things will kind of happen as outcomes, or outputs, of it.”