Executive time management is the effective budgeting of time resources for an executive, reflecting the fact that the time of top executives is valuable and should be used efficiently and appropriately. Executives can use a variety of tools to control their schedules, including delegating, relying on assistants, and restructuring their organizations. Some find it helpful to attend courses in executive time management to develop skills they can apply in their work and home environments.
Demands on the time of an executive can be substantial. In addition to the daily operating duties associated with a position like that of a chief financial officer or chief executive officer, executives are often confronted with issues in other departments, workplace problems, and so forth. As members of the executive staff of a company, they also act as its public face and may need to appear at conferences and events, make presentations, work with regulators, and meet to discuss company policy and decisions.
It is very easy for the schedule of an executive to spiral out of control without effective executive time management. Different tools can be appropriate for various settings, but a personal assistant is often a starting point. Assistants can process correspondence and requests for contact. They may handle some personally, and can turn others over to the executive or a more appropriate department. This limits the workload to matters that the executive must personally handle.
Multiple assistants can engage in activities like answering basic correspondence and filling requests for information, as well as gatekeeping for the executive’s schedule. Part of executive time management may require setting firm boundaries, such as not accepting business calls after a certain hour, or carving out exclusive vacation time. Executives may also budget out the amount of time they can dedicate to various activities annually and may refuse requests for interviews, appearances, and other activities if they fall outside the allotted time.
Executive coaching and classes can be helpful for executives who find their schedules overwhelming. These resources can provide tips and tricks for setting schedules and creating firm boundaries. They can also teach executives how to use assistants and other support staff more effectively; many of these personnel are highly capable and skilled, and can cut down significantly on the demands on an executive’s time if they are utilized to their full potential. Part of the work of a training workshop or course may include helping executives let go of tight control so that other people can take over tasks that do not require personal attention.
Schedules at home can also play a role in executive time management. Executives may need to specifically set aside time to spend with their families on vacations and other activities. Balancing work and home life may involve give and take in both areas, such as willingness on the part of family members for a member of the household to work late during critical project periods.