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How CEOs Make Time to Work ON Their Business

by | Last updated: Apr 9, 2022 | Focus & Productivity, Podcast

Nearly 20,000 entrepreneurs have participated in the Fired Up & Focused challenge over the years. I’ve noticed that one of the biggest struggles for most entrepreneurs isn’t that they don’t have amazing ideas to grow their businesses… it’s that they don’t have the TIME to work on the big picture!

I get it.

The day-to-day of running any business is full of things to do. Working with clients. Answering emails. Posting on social media. But all these tasks that fill most of our workdays fall under the category of IN your business.

What about working ON your business? Do you have time to…

  • Write that book that you’ve been thinking about for years?
  • Create the group or online program that synthesizes everything you’ve learned working with your clients… and finally allow you to scale beyond your 1×1 work?
  • Implement the systems in your business that would automate or allow you to easily outsource everything from attracting new clients to making regular consistent sales of your products, programs, or services?

You know that these big picture ideas would be game-changers in your business… suddenly you’d open up new revenue streams, reach and serve more people, and finally be working smarter.

But how do you get more dedicated time to work ON the big picture? Here are 3 time management tips to help you build more CEO time into your business:

Time Management Tip #1: The Answer Is NO!

When most of us start our businesses, we say YES to everything. Want to speak to the local social media club? YES! Want to connect over coffee? YES! Wanna attend every networking event in town? YES!

And at the beginning – YES is essential. It gets you out there, talking to real live people.

But YES to everything is a scattershot approach to growing your business. When you say YES to everything, you have no strategy to decide what does or doesn’t make sense for your business. You’re like an octopus on roller skates, trying to do everything at the same time, but getting nowhere fast.

Struggling to work on the big picture for your biz? NO is a CEO's favorite word! Click To Tweet

You don’t have to say NO to everything right away – but start paying attention to where you are saying YES too much.

A perfect example – my friend Denise Duffield Thomas found herself overwhelmed with interview requests that just weren’t a perfect fit for what she was creating in her business.

The solution? She created a dedicated page outlining her interview requirements, including preferred topics that fit into her zone of genius. Talking about money blocks? YES! Anything outside her scope as a Money Mentor – NO WAY. Brilliant.

Ask Yourself: Where am I saying YES too often that just isn’t leading to results in my business – and how can I create clearer guidelines to what is a YES and what is a NO?

Time Management Tip #2: Don’t FIND Time – MAKE Time

If these big dreams have been sitting there for years because you just haven’t found the time to make them a reality – here’s the truth bomb: You have to MAKE TIME to work on your business.

It’s not any different than committing to a healthier lifestyle! If your goal is to eat better and walk 10,000 steps a day, you don’t wait for the time to magically appear. You block out time to plan your meals and do some meal prep on Sunday afternoon. You schedule reminders on your iPhone so you get up from your desk every couple of hours to take a walk around the block.

Struggling to find time to work ON your business? It doesn't happen by default - it happens by design!Click To Tweet

It’s time to DESIGN your days and weeks to help you make that shift from overwhelmed to fired up! That’s where the Model Calendar comes in. A Model Calendar is my hands-down favorite strategy of all time to consciously design your week around what matters most, to you. And I’m not the only one who believes in this approach – Pat Flynn and Michael Hyatt share their experiences using this strategy to create more balance between the hours they dedicate to their business and the time they prioritize for themselves, their families, and their health.

Get the entire tutorial on creating your own model calendar here.

The biggest key to designing a model calendar that works for you is keeping it structured enough to create a container for your work hours and flexible enough to adjust to the needs of your business and your life.

Building a biz while working a job? You can easily find 20 hours a week when you replace 3-4 hours of TV every night with a few hours of biz building plus 5 hours on Saturday mornings.

Busy mamapreneur with littles under 5? I found my work hours by waking up an hour earlier than my family, enrolling my twins in preschool for 3 hours a day, and asking my husband to take them to the park for a few hours when he got home from work.

Work better at night? You don’t have to be an early bird to be successful – adapt to your own creative rhythms by working from 11-2 on your most creative work.

Ask Yourself: What time to I have available to work on my business? What time makes the most sense given my lifestyle, my family and my own creative rhythms?

Time Management Tip #3: Take Yourself on a CEO Date

One of the biggest reasons we never seem to find the time to upgrade our CEO habits is many of us – as overachieving perfectionists – tend to think in very ALL OR NOTHING terms.

We tend to think that if we want to write a book, we need to wait until the right time magically appears when we won’t have any other distractions and nothing but writing is on our calendars.

It just doesn’t happen that way. You’ve gotta carve out the time to map out your big picture projects so that when you do have an hour or two, you can make some decent progress towards your goals.

That’s exactly what a CEO Date allows you to accomplish. At a minimum, you should have a weekly CEO date to not just plan all the regular day-to-day tasks in your business, but to work on the bigger things that will move your business forward.

Your CEO Date is the perfect opportunity to map out that big launch, outline your new program, make a plan for an interview blitz. It’s so much easier to actually write the book when you start by mapping out all the chapters, then outline the chapter, then start filling in the gaps. Suddenly an overwhelming dream project becomes a manageable task that you can make time for!

Ask Yourself: What is a big picture project you want to focus on for the next 90 days? Schedule your CEO date to map out all the steps and tasks to help you bring it to life!

I hope this inspired you to begin growing your business by DESIGN, not by default, by making time each and every week for the ideas that will move your business forward.

And if you loved this conversation, you’ll love joining me for The CEO Retreat – a 1-day strategic planning event focused on perfectly planning the next 90-days for your business.

If you know that you need to get your plan on paper, if you know that you need to surround yourself with other amazing supportive and intuitive women entrepreneurs, if you know that you need to turn your big picture into check-off-able action steps… then you will want to join us! Find all the details (and Early Bird Enrollment!) at