How many hours should a CEO work?

negative-space-people-airport-CustomI notice not all CEO’s put in the same hours. I wonder what the difference is?

Drive? For sure. We’re all made up differently. I’m sure we have different visions of what needs get done, and when.

Effectiveness? Maybe, but not necessarily. I feel like I’m highly effective. I just have lot to do and it takes a while.

Stamina? Yes. I know CEO’s who need to break away to stay effective. I believe that taking a break can help but I don’t crave it personally.

Other priorities? Definitely a factor. When I hear all the other things some CEO’s are involved in, I wonder how they get any time to make anything happen anywhere (they must be really effective!).

So, we’re all different. As I think about it, what have I learned about the correct amount of time a CEO should be spending at the job?

  1. It’s personal. What’s too much for some is too little for others.
  2. We need to be careful. I think the thing that worries me most is the family time that gets run over when a CEO is at the office or on the road all the time. I’ve seen that one come back to bite lots of people.
  3. We need to be careful. The other thing that worries me is burning out. It does happen, frequently to people with high drive who didn’t realize they could exceed their physical and mental capacities.
  4. If there are ways to reduce the amount of job time, we should learn them. There are two obvious benefits – get even more done(!) and time available for something else.
  5. It’s worth doing a personal job-time assessment on a regular basis. Considerations: is too much (or too little) time on the job is just a bad habit?; does the job really require it?; are the rewards worth it?; is capacity shrinking with changes in personal life (kids, age, etc.)? It’s worth recognizing these things and either adapting – or making a conscious decision to carry on.

Job time affects us and the people around us. Figuring out how much we think it matters can make a world of difference for everyone.

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