Executives are hardly alone by themselves, but being alone sometimes during the day is important for sorting out thoughts and musing deeply.
It really is what it seems: They spend about a third of their work time in meetings. That is one of the central findings of a team of scholars from London School of Economics and Harvard Business School, who have burrowed into the day-to-day schedules of more than 500 CEOs from around the world with hopes of determining exactly how they organize their time—and how that affects the performance and management of their firms.
In one sample of 65 CEOs, executives spent roughly 18 hours of a 55-hour workweek in meetings, more than three hours on calls and five hours in business meals, on average. Some of the remaining time was spent traveling, in personal activity, such as exercise or lunches with spouses, or in short activities, such as quick calls, that weren’t recorded by CEOs’ assistants. Working alone averaged just six hours weekly.