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Driving with the handbrake on

In our eagerness to get a business started, running, moving, entrepreneurs frequently miss some steps. A business coach outlines an innovative solution to the problem of finding 'CEO Time.'
Written Mar 10, 2009, read 842 times since then.


The Texas Smoothie.

Jerry from Texas was a member of my Mastermind group.  He was an internet wizard, self-employed, and described himself as “busier than a cat in a sandbox.”  (Colorful Texas aphorism.)

It seemed he wasn’t getting as much accomplished as he wanted to, despite a heroic work ethic.

I asked him how much time he spent as a CEO, as Manager, and as the Chief Employee, and he responded 10%, 40% and 50%.  (I privately thought the CEO time might be close to zero.)

So we had a look at his day.  Jerry arose early, hit the john, and then put 30 minutes on the treadmill.   Then the kitchen, where he made Smoothies, one for him and one for his wife, who was now waking up.  Then he took his Smoothie into his office, opened up his laptop, and dove in!  And he was knee-deep in urgent, trivial detail from there on in.

What I hoped was to find a small but regular place in his routine for big, structural thinking, what to do next month or next year as opposed to the next minute.

My suggestion was that he turn off his computer at night, reboot it in the AM, and have a CEO moment while it booted up.  If his computer was as slow as mine, that would get us 5-10 minutes of CEO time.

“NO!”  Jerry was horrified.  “I can’t let my computer go off-line even overnight.  There’s no telling what might happen, or not happen.”

We negotiated, and here’ s what came out.  When he walked into his office with the Smoothie, he would place it on the lid of the closed laptop.  He would put his feet up on the desk, and while he slowly consumed the Smoothie, he’d have some leisurely CEO-time.  The laptop stayed closed, and CEO time existed as long as there was some Smoothie left.

Read his testimonial. “This Mastermind group is all about accountability.  Not only did we focus on action, every member of the group held each other accountable.  I took action on my goals partly because I wanted to, but mostly because I owed it to my group to keep my word and be in action toward my goals.”

“The actions I chose to take were a result of a really creative conversation with Craig.  The result was that I re-prioritized how my time should be spent, and that I had to allocate time every day for CEO activities.  This “CEO Time” resulted in many changes in how my company runs today.  The greatest advantage of “CEO Time” is that it keeps me focused on what matters most.  The specifics are too many to list.  My favorite thing in the world is now my “CEO Time!”  This [program] helped me conquer something I’ve been procrastinating for years!”

Jerry has cleverly tricked his procrastination demon – now he gets his CEO Time with a Smoothie, before the demon is even up and around!

Next session:   How to Value CEO time – especially your own.


Learn more about the author, Craig Jennings.

Comment on this article

  • Ghost Writer/Blogger 
Los Angeles, California 
Terra  Paley
    Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California | Mar 10, 2009

    Hi Craig, Very good article, thank you. What were the top three things you told him to think about during his CEO time? Best, Terra

  • small business coach 
Port Washington 
Craig Jennings
    Posted by Craig Jennings, Port Washington | Mar 12, 2009

    Great question!

    Three thinking targets for a CEO 1, What can I do with all the little things that waste my time that I shouldn't do and I could delegate -but I don't! 2, Why am I not moving forward according to my promises to myself? 3. What's my next BHAG? (Technical definition of BHAG - Big Hairy-Assed Goal.)