Top executives are known to, and are often expected to work incredible hours. They wake up incredibly early, stay late, and work weekends.
However, a new McKinsey study finds that only 9 per cent are very satisfied with how they use that time, about a third are “actively dissatisfied,” and almost half feel that they don’t spend enough time focusing on the strategic direction of their company.
According to the report, this makes a very important problem clear. Time management isn’t entirely a personal problem, it’s an organisation wide problem. And it’s one that can’t be solved by adding more hours to the workday.
They break the inefficient executives down into four groups of similar size:
Photo: McKinsey Quarterly
In all of these cases, too much focus on a particular aspect of the job means that other things get left behind. Then new projects get piled onto an already full schedule, often with no guidance on how to manage them. People default to their regular schedule, scrambling to make extra time for new initiatives. It all adds up to a large cost in productivity and effectiveness.
Here are a few tips from the report on how companies can get better at making sure executive time is used effectively.
- Create a budget for leader’s time, think about how much attention each project will require, figure out which ones are the priority, and delegate accordingly.
- Strip out redundancy and extra layers in the decision making process.
- Encourage executives to measure how they use their time, so they can align it with their company’s priorities.
- Use a calendar not just as a schedule, but as a tool to find and strip out time wasting meetings.
When it comes to personal time management, the executives that were happiest about their performance balanced who they met with (external versus internal stakeholders, and their direct reports) and spent more time using real time communication than email.
Find the full report here
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