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Image Source: Techcrunch

The top priority of any CEO is how to get more work done in the shortest time possible. All CEO’s have their own techniques to save time and infuse efficiency in every task they do. From using color codes to tag tasks to scheduling the entire year in advance, CEO’s go to great lengths to ensure their time is managed smartly and productively. Not all of us are CEO’s but we sure can learn lessons in better time management from the people who are best at it.

Here’s a list of 10 top CEO secrets for better productivity.

1. Evernote CEO Phil Libin

Phil Libin uses his time on long flights to relax and recuperate rather than work. “Like everyone else, I used to just work on airplanes—I’d use that as a time to catch up on things,” he said in a video interview with the PC Magazine. “And I stopped. I basically said when I’m on a plane, I won’t work. I’ll read, I’ll play video games, I’ll sleep, I’ll watch movies, but I don’t work. It makes me look forward to flying. I can get off a long flight, and actually be kind of relaxed.”


2. Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp

Managing work becomes a lot easier when you’re aware of what’s expected of you and more importantly knowing when you need to get it done. Katia Beauchamp, co-founder of a popular beauty-sample subscription service, told the Web site Lifehacker that she gets coworkers to include deadlines for even simple questions. “I insist people on the Birchbox team indicate when they need a response in all emails,” she told the site. “It makes prioritization so much faster.”


3. Square CEO and Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey


Image Source: forbes

Speaking at a Techonomy event in 2012, the Square CEO and Twitter chairman and co-founder discussed how he balances working for two companies at once. One thing he does is to “theme” his days, devoting a different day each week to different types of work. Mondays are for management, Tuesdays are focused on product, Wednesdays are for marketing and communication, and so on. “It sets a good cadence for the rest of the company,” he told David Kirkpatrick, and helps him stay focused on broad topics rather than getting too distracted.


4. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi

Nooyi has a very unique practice where she writes letters to the parents of all of her direct reports, telling them the story of how much pride her family in India had shown to her mother when Nooyi became CEO, and thanking them for their child. “All of a sudden, parents of my direct reports, who are all quite grown-up, and myself, we had our own communication,” Nooyi shared during the interview with then-Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer at Davos. She has now expanded the habit to include the top 200 people in the company, she said, as well as some new recruits.


5. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

To tackle the sea of emails he gets every day, Hsieh uses an approach which he calls ‘Yesterbox’ that helps him navigate the 1,000 to 2,000 emails he receives a day. The idea is to deal with yesterday’s emails today so you start the day knowing exactly how many messages must be answered and “feel a sense of completion when you’re done,” he writes on the Yesterbox site he created.


6. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson

To manage time better, Dickerson professes the systematization approach. He has a system for everything, from how he manages his email to getting business cards at events. In an interview with Fast Company, he said, “It doesn’t matter what your system is, you just have to have a system.” When he puts new names in his address book, for example, he always notes where he met the person and what they talked about, that way if he wants to reach out in the future he can reference their specific conversation.


7. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn

People have marveled at Ghosn’s ability to run three companies at the same time. He’s the chief executive of both Nissan and Renault, and the chairman of Russian automaker AvtoVaz. His key strategy is to have his schedule set more than a year in advance. In an interview with LinkedIn executive editor Daniel Roth, he shared, “I know exactly where I’m going to be, what I’m going to be doing for the next 15 months. It’s not only for me, it’s mainly for the people working for me. They know when I’m going to be in Tokyo, when I’m going to be in Paris, when I’m going to be in New York, so they can organize themselves.”


8. Google CEO Larry Page


Image Source: youtube

The Fortune Magazine had done a feature on Larry Page in December 2014 where told writer Miguel Helft that he “forces himself to do without a computer during much of his day” using only his phone. He even encourages engineers and product managers to spend at least one day a week working only on their mobile devices.


9. Homejoy CEO Adora Cheung

Start-up CEO Adora Cheung uses the agenda-setting technique to make meeting more productive. She shared he simple secret for productivity in Fast Company’s December-January issue. To keep things focused and brief, she has coworkers add agenda topics to a Google Doc spreadsheet before a meeting, and then she prioritizes them. If it’s not on the Google Doc, she told Fast Company, “we don’t talk about it.”


10. VMWare CEO Patrick Gelsinger

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal in July 2014, Patrick Gelsinger marks meetings turquoise when they’re with customers or partners, purple if they’re with media or investors, and yellow for strategy reviews. Then, an intern tallies up how his “time use stacks up to various studies on executive time management,” the Journal wrote.