Have you ever sat down and thought about your CEO’s daily rate?
Let’s say she was paid $10m in salary and bonuses in 2016. That’s $27,397.26 per day, using the simple assumption of 365 days. Not bad for a day’s work, even if some of it is at weekends.
What’s your daily rate?
If you’re a contractor, that’s easy to know, and if you are good you might be paid $1,000-$1,500 a day. If you’re a white collar professional you might be pulling in $100,000 annually, that’s $273.97 a day, or 1% of what our CEO above is paid.
Is your CEO really 100x better, smarter, more brilliant than you? If you are earning $100,000 already, then I seriously doubt it.
However, here’s where your CEO IS way more effective than you: leveraging her time.
She doesn’t have any more time than you. We all have the same amount of time in the day. The point is, she is incredibly effective with her time. She does really valuable stuff with her time – important, strategic stuff. She leverages her time.
Have a look at this chart of a bendy lop-sided see-saw:
The fulcrum translates a day’s effort into income. The more leverage you have, the more income you create for yourself.
As a concept this couldn’t be simpler. The more you can leverage your time, the more you can earn. Leverage can of course do a ton of damage (e.g. excessive financial leverage which sent the world into a tailspin nearly 10 years ago), but at a personal level it is critical for success.
So if you want to earn more income (who doesn’t?), then you need to leverage your time better. Let me show you how:
I’m sure this time management schematic is familiar to many of you. I came across it in a seminar (on time management!) years ago, and then tripped over it again in Stephen Covey’s epic masterpiece “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. (Btw, if you haven’t read his book yet, stop reading this and buy it now – it will change your outlook on life, if not change your life).
This idea of four different quadrants of activity helps us simply understand the extent to which we allocate our time in a value-creating way – or not!
Have a look at this next chart. Does it seem a bit too familiar?
Let’s face it, most people would say they are “busy” all day on urgent stuff, some of which is important (Quadrant I activities such as executing your core job function) and some of which is not important (Quadrant II stuff such as being distracted by time-wasters, pointless meetings etc).
And since we’re humans and not robots, we like to do some Quadrant IV activities to stay sane – chatting with friends, surfing, creating new WhatsApp groups and the like.
Which sadly leaves the really important, but not urgent, Quadrant III stuff as a bit of an after thought: “I’m just too busy to sit down and dedicate time to really thinking through some great ideas to improve my job”.
Now, contrast your working day with your CEO’s working day:
Look at that!!!! She’s a machine!
Her day is crammed full of massively value generating activities which ensure the company runs smoothly today (Quadrant I activities) while she prepares the ground for an even brighter future (Quadrant III activities).
She is leveraging her time like you could never imagine. And brilliant though she is, she still reserves thirty minutes for some playtime, and still has an hour stolen by dull drudgery.
But overall she is relentlessly creating value for the firm (and therefore herself) today and tomorrow.
“Wait a minute!”, I hear you cry, “If I was CEO I would be doing all that value creating stuff instead of getting dragged into pointless meetings!”.
Hmmmm. Really? How do you think she got started on the path to CEO in the first place? By getting dragged into pointless meetings? No! She got started by leveraging her time better than her colleagues.
I’m not suggesting you can transform your working day overnight. But I bet that, with a good degree of commitment, effort and desire to break old (bad) habits, you could achieve something like this:
Take an axe to your Quadrant IV and II activity and chop an hour out of each. That still leaves you one hour of playtime each day and two and a half hours of getting dragged into pointless meetings and other corporate drudgery.
But guess what? Suddenly you have an extra hour each day, 33% more time, to focus on doing your core job even better. That should get you noticed.
And best of all, you get to TRIPLE the amount of time you spend on the super-critical Quadrant III activity – which as an employee translates broadly into investing in your career path. Great!
Quadrant III means building more productive relationships with senior people in your organisation. It means putting your hand up for meaningful project work. It means transforming how your job gets done. And it means mapping out your next promotion.
If you are running your own business, or running a large operation in a big organisation, the lesson is exactly the same. Quadrant III stuff is absolutely critical if you want to follow Steve Jobs and make a dent in the Universe.
If you like the idea, but think you can’t shift your time around in this way, then – forgive me for being blunt – you’re wrong.
We all make choices everyday. Be aware that you have the power of choice. Choose not to get distracted with Quadrant IV and II stuff. An annoying colleague from the floor below wants to gossip with you? Tell them to go away. Easily sucked into a WhatsApp chitty chat with friends? Stick your mobile away.
Choose instead to block out Quadrant III time in your calendar. Make it sacred. I once had a boss who was awesome at this, blocking out three hours on three mornings a week, just for strategic time.
If you sat down and actually audited what you do during your working day (this is a good exercise which I have done with coaching clients, and I recommend you do the same), you will start to see how much you really can change.
The fact is, we call all this stuff time management, but it is really self management.
I guarantee you that your current CEO has been very adept at managing herself throughout her rise to corporate stardom. There’s no reason why you can’t start to do the same, starting now. Good luck!