How CEOs spend their days (Inc magazine) plus Friday miscellany

IMG_0494I always love seeing the time diary concept make its way into the wider world! Inc magazine’s April cover story is called “The Way I Work,” and features 24 hours in the lives of 8 high-profile business leaders. Specifically, they tracked November 29, 2016. Then Inc had me offer commentary on their schedules. The good news is that these people often had very reasonable lives. Their work days were generally not epic. Those with families saw their families. Sleep happened! Then there were a few nice touches that I got to call out as the productivity expert, like Cal Henderson of Slack consciously scheduling an open block of time in the middle of the day. That way if the morning’s meetings ran over, the afternoon’s wouldn’t run over too. There’s slack in the middle of the day. Ha ha. Anyway, it’s a great package, so please check it out.

Speaking of time diaries, I hit a milestone this week. On April 20 at 5 a.m., I officially completed 2 years of time tracking. I now know how I have spent every half hour for the past 2 years. I spent some time this week looking at some of the categories and I think my most surprising finding was my shocking consistency in terms of sleep. Not consistent day to day. I had some very bad days and over-the-top sleep gorging days. Not necessarily consistent week to week, either. My range was roughly 47-56 hours per week, corresponding to an average of somewhere between 6.7-8 hours. But over the long haul? My average for April 2015-April 2016 was 7.40 hours daily. My average for April 2016-April 2017 was 7.39 hours daily. That seems to be the number that one way or another my body will aim toward.

IMG_3142As I figure out how to organize my time, I’ve been making a conscious effort to build more adventures into my life. I joined the Free Library of Philadelphia’s “Pepper Society” — a donor organization — and they had a cooking event with local cookbook authors last night. I went and learned how to make some southeast Asian cuisine (see the chicken with peanut sauce, and cucumber salad in this photo). The carrot soup was quite good. When my little guy gets a little older and needs to be watched less closely, I anticipate spending more weekend time on cooking. I enjoy relaxed cooking. I don’t enjoy cooking with a small child underfoot. Someday…

Speaking of small children, I’ve enjoyed seeing the commentary on the discovery that Serena Williams was pregnant when she won the Australian Open. There have actually been a couple high-profile athletic victories that have happened when star athletes were newly pregnant. For instance, Kristi Walsh Jennings was newly pregnant with her third child when she and Misty May-Treanor won the gold medal in beach volleyball in the 2012 London Olympics. Candace Parker won the WNBA MVP award in October 2008, toward the end of the season, when she was pregnant with her daughter (who was born in May 2009). While many women feel like total crap in the first trimester, most keep doing their jobs. It turns out this is true of professional athletes as well.

Finally, in the “careful what you wish for” category: I love watching the magnolia in my front yard blossom every spring. I was worried I would miss the blooms during spring break. So I was watching it daily, and rejoicing when the buds hadn’t opened before our trip. That meant they’d start while we were gone and I could see the peak when we got home! But when we got home, the buds hadn’t advanced at all. And now, a week later, most of the leaves are out on the tree, which means the flowers probably won’t open. I think the mid-March snow and cold snap (the temperatures dropped into the teens for a few days) arrested the process. Too bad. We’re taking family photos this weekend and I hoped the magnolia could be our back drop, like in the 2016 photo illustrating this blog post. Well, hopefully next year. At least the tulips look nice, and the dogwoods.

Have a great weekend!




3 thoughts on “How CEOs spend their days (Inc magazine) plus Friday miscellany

  1. I saw an inforgraph the other day that was talking about what successful don’t do on weekends. The big one was housework. I am between housekeepers. The need in my area exceeds the available workforce so I don’t see this changing anytime soon. I do wish I could devise a system that keeps my weekends clear. I’ve time logged and know that during the school year I average 50-55 work hours per week (whoever said teaching was a family friendly career was mistaken.) With summer approaching, I will become a WAH, but that won’t solve my problem come August.

  2. I’ve spent the past year trying to tell myself I don’t NEED a housekeeper to come 1-2x/month.

    But I really hate the constant cleaning and scrubbing and time it just takes to deep clean everything properly-between that and lab and so.much.writing, I barely have time for hobbies. And, there is so much judgement from my classmates-most of whom are partnered up with people who help shoulder the housework.

    I think I might bite the bullet and do it-especially after the parental units pointed out that I am going to only have more demands on my time as I go back to med school and on to residency.

  3. I love the part about the magnolia tree. I feel the same way about my peonies and for the first time this year, was not away on business during their ‘bursting’ stage. Finding time to watch things like that happen (a flower literally blooming) is an indicator of good time management; I think it is at least 🙂

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