Finding Me Time during Business Hours

Unless you make a definite decision as an executive to find me time at work, it will stay a dream. Effective executives consciously chose how to utilise their time. So let us explore some ways to make more me time during business hours.

Analyse your day

A good place to start is to work out how your time is currently spent. Get your PA to summarise how much time you spend on the different activities in a week. Check out the percentage split between the various categories. Then determine if this is how you want to spend your time to achieve your business objectives.

Many executives are involved in operational issues that can be solved by unit managers and their teams. See which activities you can delegate to free yourself up.

You may find several time wasters e.g. peers popping in or unscheduled visitors. Ask your PA to record all “interruptions” or diversions. Look clinically at where your time actually goes. This enables you to identify where to cut activities that do not require your attention or that reduce me time.

Use your PA

Effective executives have a strong PA who runs the office as if she is the boss. So use your PA to set boundaries and actively manage your diary. A good PA is decisive, assertive and unafraid to stand her ground. She is comfortable being unpopular with people who “waste” your time.

Communicate your need for me time to your PA. Let her schedule quiet time into your diary. Indicate how much time you need for yourself and how often. This may vary from week to week. If you work on something new or important where you need more time for reflection, you may need more me time.

In interviews with executives, they all highlighted how little time they allocate for reflection. So start somewhere. Allocate some time just to sit and contemplate work and your personal life.

The end of a day or early morning is a good time for some executives and business owners. Make sure that your door is closed and that you are left alone.

Review your lunch time

Executives often attend lunch appointments with key stake holders. These have the potential to “waste” your time as much as it is about relationship building. Therefore manage the amount of time you spend at a luncheon. Also be more critical of whether it is essential for you to attend. A short meeting or conversation over a matter may suffice.

Some executives make a conscious effort to exercise at lunch time 2-3 times a week.

Pace your activities

It is easy to fall into the trap of back-to-back meetings. This may be do-able for a short period of time. But have your PA check whether it has become the norm.

It is particularly important after critical meetings to have 15 minutes to reflect on how the meeting went. This little bit of me time allows you to check in with yourself. How happy are you with the outcome? Were you happy with how you handled the meeting? What could you have done differently? Is there something you need to clarify further? Etc.

Why is me time essential?

The higher up you progress the greater the chance of you sacrificing me time. Is it any wonder that executives develop serious illnesses then?

More me time allows you to make more considered decisions. It enables you to catch up with yourself. With a few minutes you can step back from your immediate activities to get in touch with how you feel about business deals, associates, work, meetings, etc.

Me time allows you to access your intuition and to hear that small inner voice that is often crowded out by a busy schedule.

So do yourself a favour. Consciously build in some me time into your busy schedule. If you find this difficult business coaching will help you find ways to achieve this.


Posted in Business, Well-being.