My Ideal Work Week as a Startup CEO
And the Most Important Four Hours of My Day
Every three months, I audit my calendar to delete meetings that are inefficient. This process allows me to be pro-active and control my time, instead of being reactive to my calendar.
If you leave open space, people will start booking time in your free slots. So, it’s important to block out the times you need to make progress on your Most Important Things (MIT).
This Y Combinator article around “the second job of a startup CEO” inspired how I spent my time. It talks about moving from doer-in-chief to company-builder.
My ideal work week is one where I have 50% in unplanned meetings that allows me to think and focus on “deep” work. This is only possible by building a great leadership team.
My calendar — where I can control 100% of what happens in my schedule looks like the following:
- Monday: This is where I stack all my meetings with the leadership team. I found this to be effective as we can sync as a team earlier in the week. It also empties the rest of the week of meetings.
- Tuesday & Thursday: If I can help it, these are the two days where I can focus on doing both Deep Work & Task Work. (I am also experimenting with intermittent fasting on these days.)
- Wednesday: Another day where I stack meetings. These sessions can include candidate interviews, investor meetings, or team meetings.
- Friday: I’ll spend most of Friday planning. This includes working on the company vision and strategy and ending with a weekly review.
- Saturday: “Screen-free Saturdays” is an idea I adopted from Tim Ferriss. I use no laptops and only use my phone for maps and coordinating with friends via text (no apps).
Here are the different routines I follow on a weekly basis.
My brain and energy level are like gas tanks. It’s on full at the beginning of the day and depletes as I make more decisions throughout the day.
I like to focus on the hardest things at the start of the day. It prevents decision fatigue and a sense of accomplishment throughout the day.
- Morning: I give myself time to wake up so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. My routine usually includes some form of exercising, journaling, and prioritizing my day. It’s important to note that I get 7–8+ hours of sleep every night.
- Deep Work: I break this down into strategic work and creative work. Strategic work includes figuring out solutions to problems. Creative work includes writing and letting my curiosity roam about the future.
- Task Work: This includes action steps from the projects that I prioritize throughout the week. It can be recruiting related, preparing for a Board Meeting, or giving feedback on work.
Of course, there are instances when my schedule gets slammed and throws off my ideal week. In those cases, I do my best to keep my morning routine between 6 am — 10 am as a sacred time for me to focus.
Over the years, I learned that the leverage you gain from planning your week will pay dividends in the long run. There’ll be less random meetings in your calendar and more time to focus on the most important things.
That’s a win-win in my book.