This blog is the first blog of our 8-part Rhythm Series. You can learn more about what rhythms in business are here and why I believe they are the foundation of any successful, sustainable, scalable creative business. Be sure to click here to subscribe to my email list so you’ll be the first to know when the next blog drops each week.
I hope you’ve checked out my very first post of the NEW YEAR (um… seriously…how in the WORLD is it 2022?!).
It’s all about the importance of rhythms in your business.
*If not, you can check it out here and come right back when you’re ready to put your first rhythm in motion.
Today we’re talking all about the most FOUNDATIONAL rhythm of all *IMO* (in my opinion). I call it CEO Time. It’s a really big deal and it’s the reason why we’re kicking off the Rhythm Blog Series with this post. But before we dig into all the nuts and bolts, let’s chat a bit about the term “CEO” first.
Mindset is EVERYTHING, after all…
… OR… do you think of YOURSELF (and I know for a fact you’re not a “regular” CEO, you’re a COOL CEO – gotta love a Mean Girls reference)
While the term CEO, aka “Chief Executive Officer”, may come from the corporate world, as an entrepreneur YOU get to give it new meaning as you step into your role as the CEO of your business.
Whether you oversee a large agency, work closely with a small team, or identify as a solopreneur, owning your role as the “boss” of your organization is about way more than the title.
The CEO title is all about balance. It’s like looking through a microscope AND binoculars at the same time. You need to be in tune with the nitty-gritty operations of your business on a detailed level, while also prioritizing vision-casting so that you feel grounded in the overall direction of your company.
One of the biggest challenges new, and even experienced, business owners struggle with is shifting from an employee mindset into a CEO mindset.
Most likely, you’ve been an employee for many years. You received “orders” from the top, put your head down, and checked off the tasks assigned to you. You were not steering the ship, you were (figuratively) swabbing the decks and raising the sails to make someone else’s voyage possible.
You’re the boss!
This means there’s no one there to…
It also means you have the authority to do things in a way that feels genuinely aligned to your dreams, visions, and core values. You set the course and decide where you want to go.
But, if you don’t take time to reflect, dream, and put a plan into action as CEO, you’ll most likely discover that you’re recreating someone else’s version of success or a business you don’t actually want to run at all. Without taking regular CEO time, you’re likely running your business as an employee instead of as a boss and that’s simply a recipe for disaster, burn-out, and misalignment.
CEO Time can make all the difference.
It will be the secret ingredient that helps you build a business that is intentional, strategic, sustainable, scalable, and most importantly, successful.
Ready to become the CEO you always knew you could be?
Let’s explore what CEO Time is, why so many business owners don’t prioritize CEO Time, the undeniable benefits of taking CEO Time, and how to consistently create space in your work to step away from your daily operations and into your role as CEO.
CEO Time is time to work ON your business instead of IN your business. It means you carve out time away from the day-to-day tasks to TRULY wear your CEO hat (AKA it’s not time off or a vacation…although time off for YOU is equally as important).
During this time you’ll be able to focus on the strategy behind your business that influences the direction, long-term goals, and day-to-day operations. You’ll also have time for big-picture vision casting. You’ll remove yourself from the daily tasks of your business so that you can think long-term, strategize months and even years into the future, and reconnect to your “why.” This will ensure that every task, action, and offer in your business is ACTUALLY moving the needle forward to help you reach those big goals and dreams you’ve set.
Now, CEO Time sounds great. But there’s a reason most entrepreneurs don’t take this time in their businesses. It’s not because they don’t want to or even that they think they don’t need to.
I know I don’t need to tell you, but being a business owner means you wear a lot of hats. It may be a cliche, but it’s SO true!
The REAL reason so many entrepreneurs don’t take CEO Time?
Afraid that the moment they step away, the whole operation will crumble! Can you relate?
Do you feel like…
If so, CEO Time is going to help you stay on the pulse of your business needs and create space to reflect, plan, and iterate, so that you can proactively step back into your daily rounds with clarity, direction, and vision. Ultimately, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing you are moving your business in a direction you genuinely feel GOOD about.
CEO Time isn’t an excuse to put things off. It’s not an escape or a cop-out. Instead, it’s the backbone of all of your business rhythms. CEO Time can grow, expand, and change to fit your needs throughout the many different seasons of your business and life. Let’s explore the top 6 reasons why CEO Time is essential when creating a sustainable, scalable, passion-led business.
CEO Time is your time to do big picture planning, tap into your creativity, and come back to your work feeling inspired and revitalized. With your mind clear and your calendar free, you’ll be able to hop off the hamster wheel and press pause so that you can be intentional about how your business is operating for you, your clients, your team, and your legacy. You’ll have the opportunity to problem-solve for your current needs and plan for the months and even years ahead!
Don’t be the bottleneck.
We’ve all been there. As CEOs, we become so ingrained in all the tiny details day-in and day-out. When we hold everything in our minds, we may feel a sense of control, but in reality, this approach to your work is going to lead to exhaustion and burn-out. This means it will be harder to scale and grow your business.
CEO Time can become a practice in letting go, asking for help, and releasing the reigns. You simply cannot do it all and sometimes, bringing on expert team members can help you to get things done faster and even better than you could have by yourself. Leaning on the help of automations, systems, and even other people is what makes your work sustainable long-term.
CEO time allows you to be more proactive in your business overall. Using CEO time regularly keeps your business in alignment. This proactive rather than reactive approach lets you be more deliberate, discerning, and intentional in your work.
You’ll regularly ((key word)) be able to evaluate opportunities as they come (so you don’t miss out on awesome events or take on something that isn’t in line with your goals), get a good grasp on what is or is not working to support your workflows, and identify any changes you should be making in your business.
As a result your business remains agile and stays in alignment. All of these factors are key to building a sustainable and scalable business.
It’s not a race, but sometimes we get in our own way unnecessarily. CEO Time can help you kick self-sabotage to the curb!
Often entrepreneurs hesitate to take CEO Time because they think it’s taking them away from the work that needs to be done. Slowing down consistently can actually help you accelerate ahead!
CEO Time can shorten the time to success by allowing you to pivot, adjust, and iterate faster as things grow and change in your business.
If you just keep charging ahead or muscling through, it’s going to take you WAY longer to reach your goals. Instead, if you put the right time, attention, and planning into your work you’ll stop spinning your wheels. Remember, work smarter, not harder!
CEO Time isn’t just about planning, problem-solving, or dreaming. Sometimes your CEO Time is about pouring into yourself as a professional and as a creative!
Your CEO Time may include…
When you free up your time and space, you also free up your energy and allow the ideas to flow! With CEO Time you create opportunities to innovate and inspire your offers, your team, and your audience.
Strategically committing to CEO Time means making it a priority and developing the systems you need to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes. Plus, carving out CEO Time will give you the space you need to tend to the rest of your rhythms (hint: this is why I’m talking to you about CEO Time first)! Get CEO Time blocked on your schedule regularly so that you can put rhythms in place now and grow into your CEO role in the future.
So, by now you’re convinced and ready to make CEO Time a thing in your business ASAP, right?!
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you to fend for yourself.
I’ve walked all of my clients through this exact process countless times. Now, I’m here to support you and take the guesswork out of CEO Time. Let me guide you through the process so that you can commit to CEO Time in an aligned, effective, and manageable way.
Do you ever sit down at your desk, look up at the clock, and wonder– where did the time go?!
When you aren’t mindful of how you spend your work hours (or personal time for that matter) the minutes, hours, and even DAYS can escape you! This means you’re less productive, but more importantly, it makes it harder to maintain boundaries.
Suddenly work hours spill into dinner time and weekends.
I don’t know about you, but that is NOT what I signed up for.
Before trying to throw CEO Time into your “calendar abyss” like yet another to-do item, take inventory of what is already happening with your schedule. This will allow you to schedule CEO Time realistically, mindfully, and strategically.
Time audits will help you see where your time is going so you can take control, reclaim your time, ditch the time-wasters once and for all, and implement CEO Time in a way that will be most beneficial to you and your business.
Time Audit Basics:
Once you get a grip on your time, you may be able to substitute unhelpful time eaters with your CEO Time. Or you may notice open time in your schedule that could be better harnessed for CEO Time on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis. Lastly, you might even be able to target where a block of CEO time could fit into your schedule that will help you get ahead on tasks. This can make your work even easier and more efficient (and a whole lot less stressful since you’re consistently planning ahead).
When you’re in the weeds of your business it can feel impossible to crawl your way out of the daily stressors, challenges, and obstacles. But, if you continue on the same path and keep pushing ahead without making any changes, you’re on a direct route to burnout!
Often we avoid CEO TIme, not because we can’t make the time but because we’re hesitant to step away. Ease your concerns by setting yourself up for success and taking a load off!
Consider where you can automate, streamline, document, or refine your business systems to make repeated tasks in your business work smoothly behind the scenes without your constant attention and energy.
With these pieces in place, it will be so much easier to step away from your work for CEO Time without constantly checking your email, team Slack channel, or Voxer! You can zoom out for some big picture planning that will bring you and your entire business back into alignment time and time again.
COO Tip: Even if you think you know where your time is going, you’ll likely uncover surprising trends and insights with your time audit. I can’t think of a single time audit that my clients or I’ve done that hasn’t yielded surprising insights.
You’ll discover how much time are you ACTUALLY spending…
All of these factors (and more) have an impact. When you understand them, you can either minimize them or learn to work with them, not against them!
Decide how often you’d like to take CEO Time. There is no right or wrong answer. You can do this weekly, monthly, quarterly, and/or annually. I highly recommend finding a balance of each of these that works for you!
COO Tip: CEO Time can be a day-long intensive, or it could even last as long as a week. Personally, I do both! I take one day each week (Fridays are my CEO Days) AND I take a full week of CEO time once every year so that I can get things in motion that will positively impact my business long-term. I’ve even had clients who like to get away for their CEO TIme. They might book a hotel stay so that they can truly dive deep and work consistently without interruptions. This not only gets you out of your daily rounds but also puts you in a new environment. Sometimes a change of scenery is EVERYTHING (and can even be found at your local coffee shop)!
You can explore taking CEO Time at different points throughout the year:
Once you decide, mark it on the calendar and make it a non-negotiable.
Once it’s defined and set, you’ll need to PROTECT it! Make sure to communicate this to your team members and your clients early and often. This time is a boundary you need to hold (and sometimes willpower alone isn’t enough). Add it to your calendar and treat it like any other appointment or meeting. If you wouldn’t cancel a meeting with a client at the last minute, don’t cancel on yourself either!
COO Tip: After you decide when you’ll be taking CEO time, make the most of the time by going into it with a plan.
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” plan for your CEO Time rhythms. There are some tried and true rhythms that just make sense! Here’s some advice to help you choose the right rhythms.
CEO Time is the foundation upon which you’ll be able to build all the other rhythms of your business. Carving out this time ensures you are not succumbing to doing things a certain way just because, “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Instead, you’ll be able to navigate and direct your business with perspective, creativity, reflection, and alignment.
I can’t wait to see how you use CEO Time in your creative business!
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This blog is part of an 8-part series on creating Rhythms to support your short-term and long-term business goals. CEO Time is the first rhythm we set because once you’ve put it in place, you can use this time to implement the other rhythms.
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