How should executives allocate their time?

Everyone wants to spend their time working on the right stuff.  Ask your team to compare calendars every six months:  no one wants to be working efficiently on the wrong thing.   If your email threads are growing and growing, pick up the phone!

Topic question: How should an executive allocate their time?


  • Bill Mitchell
  • Bob DeVita
  • Kristi Thering
  • Nathan Bares
  • Pete Vogel
  • Derrick Van Mell

Discussion questions

  1. When did you have to reallocate your time completely?
  2. How can you help employees value their time?
  3. How can you optimize everyone’s different “pie charts” of time?

Best practices

Efficient vs. effective:  Don’t be efficient at doing the wrong things

  • Managing your time is of fundamental importance
  • Eliminating outdated and unnecessary tasks.  Weed out tasks every six months
  • Stay focused on priorities (i.e., have a plan and stick to it)
  • Hold short “huddles” with team to synchronize for the week
  • People should compare their schedules
  • Understand the difference between billable and productive time
  • Set goals for using time, but don’t overanalyze either

How COVID has forced changes in time allocation

  • Executives must make an extra effort to keep people focused on rewarding work
  • Remember and think about issues that past schedule
  • Most people don’t like to change their schedules
  • Not only employees with kids at home need to rethink their work/life schedule
  • There’s now little travel or “down” time between meetings
  • Be sure to have time to rest during the day and the week to deal with stress
  • Big time shifts might require changes to organizational structure

The essential need to be flexible

  • Executives need to be particularly adaptable
  • Know who controls the schedule and be sure they respect people’s time
  • Professional firms good about tracking time, but how to analyze and optimize?

Communication and time management

  • Poor communication is the #1 time-killer (often 25% of everyone’s time)
  • When email threads start growing, pick up the phone!
  • Time allocation schemes:  by geography, market, management discipline
  • Time blocking:  setting aside time per week or month for specific tasks
  • Some days are better for certain things
  • Some times during the day are better for certain things
  • Time boxing:  decided before you start how much time spend on a task
  • Meeting management:  how to run an effectiveonline meeting?
  • Time management tools:  paper calendars still work!
  • Reports can be time holes:  determine what information is essential
  • Be sure to train people to use their time:  now might be a great time!

See term Time management for resources.