Berger Leadership Blog

Apr 28, 2023

Tips for balancing our time budget

People always say, “time is money,” but that’s not true. Time is more important than money. Yes, money has its constraints – you can run out of it, but at least you have options to budget and get yourself back on track. If you run out of time, that’s a different story: Even with 86,400 seconds in a day, there’s never enough time to get everything done.

I recently read a great article from Harvard Business Review that discusses how CEOs manage their time. The article breaks down a recent study on how CEOs handled everything from key meetings to sleep over a three-month period. The author noted that even though the study included CEOs of large public companies, “its findings have implications for all leaders (including executives of nonprofits) looking for ways to use their time and influence more effectively.”

The study revealed that CEOs worked roughly 10 hours per weekday, 4 hours on weekends, and 2.4 hours on vacations. All in, the numbers average out to 62.5 hours per week. This doesn’t include travel, which many of us do. However, the study also revealed that around 6 hours a day, CEOs were awake and not working. This included time spent on hobbies, watching television, and with family. This balance is critical to be able to perform in all aspects of work and life. But how can we maximize our efficiency, so both our business and personal lives can be at their best?

The article gives a variety of answers. First, the author recommends CEOs avoid e-mailing often. We are often copied on endless e-mails and find ourselves responding late into the night, on weekends, holidays, and vacations. While it makes us more available, it makes our time management more convoluted.

Additionally, staying connected to our direct reports and teams is crucial. But more importantly, we need to trust our direct reports and their ability to do their jobs. Being able to confidently delegate tasks to meet goals allows us more time to handle other aspects of the business.

Lastly, CEOs need to allow time for spontaneous interactions. We can’t overbook ourselves too far in advance. It’s important to allow time should opportune conversations or meetings appear – or to respond to a crisis. If we don’t give ourselves time to respond or be spontaneous, we risk throwing off our long-term schedules.

How we manage our time is critical for the effectiveness of both our businesses and our lives. We must be organized and flexible, proactive and reactive, and much more. By finding a balance with it all, we can strengthen our businesses and our lives. We bear a big responsibility. It’s hard to do well, but it’s incredibly rewarding. To be the best we can, we must consider time as the foundation for working smarter, not harder.

About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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