About Us.News.Contact Us
CEO Success Blog. The blogosphere for Successful Business Owners.




May 18th, 2021

Have you ever wondered why the “busiest” people are often the least successful? 

Each month, I meet with dozens of business owners.  Some consistently set and achieve their goals.  Others seem to be in a constant state of struggle.  Interestingly, the owners that struggle the most also consistently seem to be mired in self-talk about how “busy” they are.  When I ask what they are busy doing, their reply usually relates to some type of urgency or a need to react to situations “outside their control”.  If questioned further, they offer up reasons (aka: excuses) as to why they are unable to “make time”.  They’ll discuss the things they “have” to do, and they sincerely believe that they “just can’t find the time” to work on the things they should do or would like to do.

These individuals are slaves to external circumstances.  

 Do you know anyone like that?

Conversely, successful owners seem to always have plenty of time to plan, to act strategically, to keep their commitments, and to work ON (versus IN) their businesses.  Almost magically, they are able to find time to calmly handle all of their business (and personal) interests, desires, and obligations.  These CEOs prioritize effectively and to manage their calendars proactively.  

Superior CEOs refuse to work below their pay-grade.   Unfortunately, most owners do not.  They waste many hours on activities that produce little return.

So how do these successful owners do it?  After all, there ARE only 24 hours in a day…  Here are some facts (and some patterns I’ve noticed) that can help you become less busy and more productive.  A simple to-do list — your pathway to Freedom…:

1.  It is rare to meet an owner (successful or not) that does not have a full plate.  I can’t remember the last time I met a CEO who wasn’t juggling multiple priorities that required some attention.  For most entrepreneurs, a plate that is not full can be a sign that resources are being under-utilized, and that something probably needs to change.

2.  We all have “stuff we gotta do”.   However, we should never confuse things we must do or should do, with things we want to do, could do, or have to do. 

3. “Busy” is a state of mind.  Great entrepreneurs accomplish much more than weak ones, but rarely tell you that they are “really busy” when you ask how they are doing.  Conversely, unsuccessful owners are addicted to busy-ness.  They almost always feel busy and reactive, versus feeling focused and proactive.  Even though their “busy-ness” is destructive and isn’t getting them where they want to go, they still feel some kind of adrenaline rush or feeling of importance from having “too much to do”.  They have no problem finding things to do, but have no process or structure to determine whether they are working on the right things or the wrong things. The Owner-Slave Mindset really has nothing at all to do with the number of hours in a day.  Most would feel addicted and over-whelmed whether a day included 24, 48, or 2400 hours. 

4.  The problem of effectiveness and productivity is never due to the number of hours in a day or the fact that we “do not have the time”.  

5.  We all have only 24 hours in a day. That is the one single thing that none of us can control.   

6.  We CAN all control how we CHOOSE to invest our time. 

7.  There is only one significant difference between a super-successful owner and a mediocre owner that wallows in crisis mode. The difference is how they CHOOSE to invest their precious time (and resources).  Productive owners choose wisely and skillfully and focus on the IMPORTANT, while struggling owners choose unskillfully and focus upon the URGENT.   The best CEOs refuse to work below their pay-grade, and their employees follow suit.   In other words, Busy Owners breed Busy Employees, and Productive Owners breed Productive Employees.  

8. The most successful owners understand they are personally the single biggest contributor to (or detractor from) exceeding their goals and the ultimate achievement of their company and personal vision.  In other words, they are personally the biggest problem.  They are also POTENTIALLY the biggest solution (IF they make wise, skillful choices).  

9.  Owners that understand this simple success formula also know that it would be absolutely foolish to attempt to make these choices in a vacuum.  

And they know that they don’t know what they don’t know.  

They, therefore, choose to invest their time in a time-saving, decision-making process, and surround themselves with other successful owners who are committed to help, such as the peer advisory board structure of The Alternative Board (TAB).  A structured peer process helps owners make better decisions and skillful choices.   The process directs them to invest their incredibly valuable time wisely. Wise, skillful choices have a huge positive impact on the bottom line.

10.  The best entrepreneurs choose to spend one-third or more of their time working on, versus in, their business. Wow. This may seem impossible, especially if you are young, new, or small business owner, but if you don’t set a goal, you will certainly never achieve it.  In this context, I recommend to all of my clients to COMMIT to themselves to spend 33% percent of their precious time working ON the business within 3 years.  If you commit to this goal to get yourself out of the weeds and make it the most important one in your portfolio, you’ll notice that the rest of your business goals will tend to take care of themselves.

This singular choice provides an owner with FREEDOM. It allows him/her to abandon the addictive habits of busy-ness, urgency, and fire-fighting and to adopt the effective habits required to build a consistent, effective, growing, scalable profit-generation machine.

So if you feel like you are “really busy” or “overwhelmed”, if you “never have enough hours in the day”, or if you often say “yes” to the urgent to the exclusion of the important, please know that you are not alone.  Freedom and productivity are just a few simple steps away.

There is no better time to commit to your personal freedom than today.  

If you have any questions about how to begin, or simply feel like you are too stuck to get started, I’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of making wiser choices.

To Your Freedom,


Copyright © Joe Zente 2020. All Rights Reserved.