The 6 Habits Billionaire CEOs Use To Manage Their Time, According To Harvard

Harvard Business School surveyed 27 CEOs and found that they share these 6 time-management habits.

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Taylor Tobin1.84k
May 28, 2024 at 2:22PM UTC

The power held (and the high paychecks earned) by top-level CEOs certainly implies that these business titans know how to prioritize their time. 

Executives who head up businesses that qualify for the Three Comma Club should be especially skilled at scheduling and arranging their days in order to maximize efficiency. Harvard Business School agrees with this estimation, which is why they surveyed a group of 27 billion-dollar-company CEOs and discovered six common time-management strategies used by these high-performing execs.

1. They make scheduling part of every aspect of their lives (not just work-related scenarios).

Successful CEOs don’t just assume that they’ll find time for relaxation and leisure activities throughout their days. Instead, they schedule break periods to give them an opportunity to re-energize. They also schedule daily tasks that don’t necessarily relate to work, like dog-walking, going to the gym, and picking up their kids from school. This allows them to have a full view of how they’re spending their time, which helps them find ways to increase personal and professional resourcefulness.

2. They give themselves a buffer between meetings.

Powerful CEOS don’t tend to jump right from one meeting to another. Instead, they put buffer times in their schedules, allowing for inevitable delays and reducing the likelihood of starting meetings late. This displays respect for their colleagues’ time and also eliminates the stress associated with rushing from one meeting that went over to the next. 

3. They know how to delegate.

One important sign of an effective CEO is his or her ability to hire talented people who they trust to take on responsibility. According to Business Insider, Harvard makes these the following suggestions to CEOs hoping to increase their delegation: “empower your leadership team to handle the day-to-day operations, and regularly schedule uninterrupted planning into your calendar.”

4. They prep for the next day the evening before.

Company leaders don’t typically roll out of bed and head to the office without some advance preparation. The CEOs surveyed by Harvard claimed to take time the night before to review their agendas and set themselves up for a successful tomorrow.

5. They consider development activities valuable uses of time.

Investing time and resources in your staff’s professional development (and your own) is a smart move for a CEO who wants to set new goals and exceed past performance standards. Hiring coaches and consultants can help with this pursuit; “you'll learn to recognize new opportunities and make plans to achieve them when you're open to advice,” says Business Insider of the Harvard study.

6. They don’t rely exclusively on email when communicating with coworkers.

In the 21st century, most professional workplaces use email as a crucial means of communication. However, the CEOs in the Harvard study suggest that email isn’t ideal for interacting effectively with in-house staff. Instead, these executives recommend face-to-face conversations whenever possible. 


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