Close this search box.
Close this search box.

How CEOs Can Eliminate Their Worst Productivity Stealers

Running a company requires focus, but CEOs are constantly interrupted. Maximizing one’s productivity is essential for CEOs if they are to live up to the leadership challenge. Here are 6 productivity-boosting ideas specifically for CEOs.

1. Reduce your multi-tasking. Stanford University researchers found that simultaneously performing multiple jobs diminishes the ability to pay attention, recall information, and move from task to task, thereby extending the time needed to complete any single action item, Forbes reported.

2. Leverage time-blocking. Successful leaders focus on driving results rather than on being busy. Using a productivity tool called time-blocking maximizes these results because it allows you to schedule your day strategically based on top priorities (no more than 5 ) you value at any given time, according to

“In creating time blocks, consider the “natural rhythms of your work style and personality.”

In creating time blocks, consider the “natural rhythms of your work style and personality, so you can match the task of the time block appropriately compared to the effort you’ll expend doing it, based on your energy level throughout the day,” advised. For example, if you’re at your best in the morning, try to schedule important meetings over breakfast rather than dinner.

3. Stop using your email inbox as a to-do list. Relying on your email inbox to function as a to-do list is a natural instinct, but it’s a poor way to manage time because “everything has the same weight,” said Michael Pryor, CEO, Trello, in an interview with Time. Using your inbox to manage tasks means the latest joke, spam, marketing, and newsletter emails occupy as much space on your to-do list as key imperatives. You then waste time identifying items that warrant your attention. So make a to-do list another way, Pryor advised.

4. Then, rein in your to-do list. People often try to be more productive by entering “everything” into a computerized organization system with infinite space for entries, only to create “this giant backlog of things they may do, that they’re never going to do,” Pryor told Time. A computerized organization with finite space for entries, or a cork board on your office wall, offers built-in constraints and forces you to choose the most important tasks, he said.

5. Get smart about communication. Wendy Lea, CEO of Cintrifuse and former CEO of Get Satisfaction, a customer engagement solutions provider whose clients include Procter & Gamble, each Monday morning sends her team an email with a list of the five things on which she will be concentrating throughout the week. “This keeps me on track and gives me the focus I need in my personal and professional life,” Lea told Fast Company.

Moreover, approach every conversation with an eye toward next steps, and instruct staff to do the same. According to Fast Company, President Obama’s memos include standard checkbox-style calls to action with three options: agree, disagree or discuss. Additionally, consider using text expander tools, which work in combination with Windows programs to create auto-fill responses based on the unique words and phrases you frequently type into emails and similar business communications. Many cloud-based apps let you harness a mobile device to accurately produce typed responses from spoken words, so you don’t waste time typing yourself.

6. Police your Internet habits. Fred Bateman, CEO and founder, The Bateman Group, relies heavily on Internet research in doing his job, but has a tendency to jump to other sites to look at irrelevant information. In an interview with Fast Company, Bateman said he uses StayFocused, a software extension to his web browser, to keep a list of websites he can “get lost on for hours—like the New York Times.” The software alerts him after he’s been perusing one of these websites for more than 10 minutes and blocks him from returning there during his current online session.

Interruptions and other snafus may cut into your productivity, but using these suggestions can kick interruptors out and keep your productivity at the highest level possible.



  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.