One of the qualities of life which most CEOs crave is a sense of balance and control over their schedules. I commonly hear from C-level executives that their calendars are not their own. There is no doubt that the CEO role in a complex organization is demanding. However, it does not have to be overwhelming. Allowing our calendars to manage us, rather than insist that we manage the calendar, is a clear sign that we have lost our sense of balance. By the time a leader has reached the level of CEO, she is past the stage of being victimized by unwanted obligations or framing her time in a set pattern. All allocations of time are by choice, though we can forget this and lay the responsibility on someone or something else. At that point, we have given up our agency and our autonomy.

Regaining balance requires reclaiming agency. This starts by generating rigorous, high-resolution clarity about your purpose, values and choices.This is followed by creating a sense of pride in your authorship of these choices. Your parameters can then serve as a platform to help train people to respect you and the value you place on your time.At first, this may feel harsh, but it will quickly become clear that this approach serves you, the people around you, and the organization as a whole. By choosing what you spend your time on and what you say “no” to, you send a clear message about what is important.

In my next post, I’ll go into some details about time and energy allocation.

Other Insights