How CEOs manage time: 5 things to know

In the world of business, there is no role more demanding than CEO. While people may believe they understand a CEO's responsibilities, few truly understand how these executives manage their time, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Michael Porter, PhD, and Nitin Nohria, PhD, of Harvard Business School, tracked the time allocation of 27 CEOs who participated in the university's New CEO workshop. The average annual revenue for their companies was $13.1 billion. Each CEO's executive assistant coded the CEO's time in 15-minute increments, 24 hours a day and seven days a week for three months.

Here are five findings from the study:

1. CEOs in the study worked an average of 9.7 hours per weekday and worked on 79 percent of weekend days for an average of 3.9 hours daily and 70 percent of vacation days for 2.4 hours daily.

2. While they worked hard, most CEOs recognized the need to dedicate some times to themselves. They slept an average of 6.9 hours a night, and many had regularly scheduled exercise regimens that consumed 9 percent of their nonworking hours. They found an average of 2.1 hours a day for downtime, including everything from watching television to hobbies like photography.

3. Only 24 percent of CEO communications were electronic, with 61 percent of interactions coming face-to-face, and the last 15 percent by phone or written correspondence.

4. Over one-third (36 percent) of the CEOs' time was spent in reactive mode, while 89 percent of CEOs spent time dealing with some kind of crisis during the time their activities were tracked.

5. While 25 percent of CEO time was spent on functional and business unit reviews, 21 percent of their time was spent on strategy, 25 percent on developing people and relationships, and 16 percent was spent matching organizational structure and culture with the needs of the business.

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