Time management as a fractional executive

Time management as a fractional executive

Article by:
Yehuda . Zahler
Tue, May 2

As the midway point of 2023 looms, fractional executives are gearing up for a busy 2nd half of 2023. As Reforge put it (in their article titled The Rise of Fractional Executives), “Fractional Executives are having a moment – and for good reason.” As more Fractionals join the space, effectively managing time becomes more and more important for business success.

We spoke to 2 fractional executives with a combined 20+ years of experience to see how they effectively manage their time.

Here is what they said.

Will Simpson is a Fractional COO who says focusing on the ROI is key to making sure you're spending your time productively. “If I do not understand or know what the potential return is, I stop and do something else”, Will replied to my question. The key point here is that there is only so much time in a day, make sure those hours are being used to the maximum and that you have a very clear and precise idea of the ROI you will receive. Will mentioned another key that is often overlooked but is crucial for success in any industry; taking breaks.

Knowing yourself or having someone who knows you well enough to tell you when you need a break is critical for you to work at maximum efficiency. In the case of Will, he knows himself well enough to decipher this, as he put it “ I always try and optimize my delivery to land in my productive spot and take breaks to recharge outside of that zone.” Finding your zones can take some time and effort, but the return on discovering this can be invaluable.

We also got to pick the brain of Jeff Matlow, and he had a different take. As you bring on more clients, juggling them all becomes trickier (insert pitch for how Baton can help 😉). Jeff suggests “time blocking” to make sure you dont get overwhelmed. “Every day I break out my time between client work and new business. Sometimes it’s not putting specific tasks in my calendar as much as “Client 1” for 2 hours then “Client 2” for 1 hour, etc.” While the way you block time may vary, this core concept has helped executives from multiple business types and sizes successfully manage their days efficiently.

Jeff also stresses the importance of leaving time open to look for and close new business. “It’s important to always be looking for new clients. I never book myself for 100% of my time. Client work only covers, at most, 80%. That allows me the equivalent of a full day each week to be looking for new business.” While correctly managing customer relationships is a very important function of your business, it’s important to remember that as a fractional executive, your lifetime at any one business is not permanent. This is why always keeping time to find and close new leads is important and should have a slot on your calendar.

To quickly recap all of this, as the demand for fractional executives continues to grow, time management remains a crucial aspect of their success. Experienced executives like Will Simpson and Jeff Matlow emphasize the importance of focusing on ROI, knowing oneself, and taking breaks to maintain productivity. They also advocate for time-blocking as an effective strategy to manage multiple clients and responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed. Lastly, they highlight the importance of allocating time for sourcing and closing new business, as the nature of fractional work implies that their tenure at any given company is not indefinite. By adopting these strategies and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, fractional executives can ensure their continued success in this rapidly evolving landscape.

Big thank you to Will and Jeff for taking the time to share their tips on how to better manage your time as a fractional executive.