Source: This article was originally published on CNBC.
Written by: Courtney Connley, CNBC Make It
You probably feel like you’re always busy at work. But that doesn’t mean that you’re getting things done.
If you spend the majority of your time answering emails, checking social media, taking calls and attending meetings, you can easily leave the office feeling like you’ve got nothing to show for your hours. To help you feel more accomplished, implement a productivity hack that many CEOs swear by.
It’s called the “protected hour.” I was introduced to this concept while working on an article with a well-respected CEO when I was the editor of the Harvard Business Review. One afternoon I called his office only to have his assistant tell me he couldn’t talk because it was his ‘protected hour.’ His assistant didn’t elaborate on what the phrase meant, so I asked the CEO to discuss the idea more in their next meeting.
He told me that every single week he sat alone or with a trusted advisor to look at his calendar from 20,000 feet, assessing if he was spending his time with the right people, involved in the right activities, thinking about the right things and with enough of an eye to the future. The CEO told me that while his protected hour always seemed to occur at an inconvenient time, he was determined to stick to it, because it made him “1,000 percent more productive and effective in the long run.”
Since then, I’ve asked many other CEOs if they have a similar habit, and the majority of them respond that they do. Which is why, even though I’m only the CEO of Suzy, Inc., about 10 years ago, I started putting a protected hour on my calendar. I’ve seen first-hand how much of a difference this hour can make, and I advise everyone to make it part of their own schedule.
I know we’re all so busy that the idea of sparing an hour just to ponder can seem impossible. But this hack has the power to save you days, weeks and even years of misplaced energy.
Try adding a protected hour to your calendar this week.
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator, and public speaker. Through its online MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute transforms the lives of its students by providing them with the tools to become better leaders, build great teams, and help their organizations win.