“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. They are Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four Balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand and strive for it.”
This is a popular short speech by Bryan Dyson, the former CEO of Coca Cola. And it aptly summarizes the tricky balancing act most business leaders, CEOs, business managers and successful professionals have to manage efficiently and that is striking a perfect balance between professional and personal lives.
What the message conveys is fairly simple – “Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest.”
But when you are an entrepreneur or CEO, captaining your fledgling firm, you have no choice but to put in extra hours of work to make the company get on a growth trajectory. However, working long hours without paying attention to anything else is going to prove detrimental in the long run. If you confer with other entrepreneurs and CEOs at a CEO club or CEO association or talk to a CEO peer group, you will find that several successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, CEOs and industry captains owe their success to impeccable time management – where they are able to efficiently walk the tightrope without making one aspect of life suffer for the success of the other. Of course, success comes from hours of toil and hard work but not at the cost of everything else that life has to offer.
I am listing here a few tips for CEOs to effectively manage their day and be able to take out time for enjoying the other personal aspects of life. If you consult an executive coaching expert, he or she will guide you towards efficient time management to be able to satisfactorily handle your multifarious responsibilities.
Plan out your day:
Set realistic and achievable daily targets for yourself. Keep some buffer time in hand for managing sudden, unplanned work that lands on your platter with an “urgent” tag. Work towards meeting each of your time targets in order to finish your daily work well within time and to your satisfaction.
Plan your meetings:
Go into your meetings with proper agenda and homework. Call in only those people who are relevant and connected with the topics under discussion. Set time targets for the items on the agenda and make sure the discussions do not digress too much from the planned topics. If the brainstorming meeting throws up new ideas that need further exploration, you can always put them up for closer discussion in the next meeting, unless they are very urgent and time sensitive. Conclude the meetings on time and make sure you gain the results you were looking from it.
Be punctual with your appointments:
If you have client meetings through the day, be prepared with your presentations in advance. Leave for the meetings with sufficient time in hand for commute. Reaching a few minutes early or being dot on time shows your sincerity and positive approach towards the meeting and makes the person you are going to meet feel valued.
Keep your phone calls brief and precise:
Business calls have a tendency to stretch, especially when you are explaining, clarifying or selling an idea to your client. Keep a cue card of the things you want to discuss with your client on call in front of you. It will help you avoid missing out on some important topics you may want to discuss. Handle other unplanned calls with precision and brevity.
Avoid getting stressed out:
Any workday for a CEO is demanding to say the least. There are scores of jobs to handle, each different from the other, some urgent, some not so urgent but demanding your time and attention. A CEO needs to get involved in multiple tasks and domains, from handling tricky financial matters and pacifying clients to solving employee differences and managing admin issues. Avoid getting stressed out and work with a cool, positive mind focused towards managing your objective. Keeping a cool, patient head will help you resolve even the thorny issues with ease.
Relax after a hard day:
Try not to take work back home. If you meet your daily work targets well, you will find yourself ready to set out for home with a free mind. Carrying your office back home will defeat the entire purpose of being with family and friends to unwind and relax. Spend time with your family, meet up with friends, and also set some time out for meeting with like-minded people who will give you good guidance and practical advice on how to manage your company issues better.
By John Benson