December 15, 2023

8 Time Management Tactics for the Busy CMO

by Guest Post

99.6% of B2B CMOs face one common challenge: TIME. As in, too much time in meetings and no time for strategic thinking (or a personal life). Knowing how to get the most out of your hours and minutes, while managing the fine line between big-picture planning and the nitty-gritty daily grind, can truly make or break how well you rock the CMO role.

Below, find 8 time management tactics courtesy of Kory Kogon, who joined a CMO Huddles Bonus Huddle to help CMOs get control of their schedules.

  1. Act on the Important; Don’t React to the Urgent

CMOs should embrace a purposeful, intentional approach to their daily tasks. Your brain relies on a process to determine the hierarchy of importance among things—what matters most, what matters least, and what doesn’t matter at all. 

Urgent tasks will always be there—but they distract from the important strategic thinking that really moves the needle. To tackle this, Kory recommends using a Time Matrix framework with four quadrants: Important, not important, urgent, not urgent. 

When you have a task, look at where it sits on the framework and treat it accordingly: 

  • Things that are important and not urgent are your really important things. 
  • Things that are urgent and important are crises. 
  • Things that are urgent and not important are distractions.
  • Things that are not urgent and not important are waste. 
  1. Balance EOS/OKRs and Protect Time for Big Goals

Rather than getting bogged down in too many objectives, CMOs should focus their efforts on a handful of key goals. Utilizing business operating systems like EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) or OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) can provide a structured approach to goal setting and tracking progress. CMOs should block off up to 50% of their weekly calendar in pursuit of these key goals. However, it’s crucial to maintain wiggle room for the unplanned fires you’ll need to put out.

  1. Cut Down on Meetings

The line between casual and essential meetings has blurred. This takes a toll on productivity and well-being. Ruthlessly guarding your calendar (and your team’s calendar) is a must if want want to enable higher-impact work. Here are some top tips: 

  • Block off significant time for strategic thinking
  • Regularly conduct meeting audits and prune unnecessary meetings
  • Establish no-meeting Fridays (or any other day of our choosing) 
  • Shorten 60 minute meetings to 45 minute meetings 
  1. Say ‘No’

CMOs are notoriously “yes” people. But not having boundaries runs the risk of overwork and underperformance. Check out CMO JD Dillon’s handy strategic responses chart, which offers 7 ways to Yes or No.

  1. Be an Inbox Ninja

Don’t live in your inbox. Email can be very distracting and take up more mindshare than you would think. As Kory Kogan of Franklin Covey shares, “Every email is not just a message, every email is a decision your brain has to make.” 

Kory recommends two helpful tips: 

  • Automate 20-30% of email processing via email rules/filters to funnel out emails from irrelevant departments, newsletter subscriptions, etc. 
  • Drag emails into your calendar when they include an associated task. It keeps all the relevant information in the calendar invite and guarantees sure you get to it. 
  1. Prioritize ‘Big Rocks’

Schedule the big rocks—don’t sort gravel. Big rocks are your pivotal projects that significantly contribute to your success. Your big rocks get focused, uninterrupted time, guaranteeing progress toward your core objectives without getting sidetracked by less critical activities.

In contrast, the gravel is everything else—the emails, phone calls, the tasks that fill the spaces around these big rocks. While these tasks are essential, they are more flexible and adaptable, allowing them to fall around your big rocks. They should occupy the gaps in your schedule, allowing for a more balanced approach to managing your time.

CMOs should allocate a set 20-30 minute period every week for planning daily tasks and scheduling their big rocks. But, as Kory shared: “Don’t schedule more than 50% of your calendar on any given day with big rocks, because in real life you’re gonna get interrupted.”

It also helps to review completed tasks, check them off, and reschedule any unfinished big rocks for the following days or weeks.

  1. Join a Community of Peers

Joining a community of peers who have faced and solved similar challenges will save your time and your sanity. Participation in these communities enables CMOs to learn from others’ experiences, reducing the time spent on trial and error. It fosters an environment where ideas and strategies can be discussed and refined, making decision-making more efficient and effective.

If you’re looking for a community of B2B marketing leaders, check out CMO Huddles. If you’re looking for a different CMO Community, check out our full list

  1. Practice Self-Care

Taking time to relax, recover, and rejuvenate is crucial. Kory shared 5 primary energy drivers: movement, nutrition, social connection, sleep, and relaxation. These elements fuel the brain and body, enabling you to perform at your best. (Or, as they say at FranklinCovey, “Fuel your Fire; Don’t Burn out). 

Adopting healthy habits in these areas can have a significant impact on your ability to manage everything going on in your life effectively. Whether it’s regular exercise, balanced nutrition, quality sleep, meaningful social interactions, or time set aside for relaxation, each aspect contributes to overall well-being and, by extension, to more effective time management.


Written By: Ishar Cuevas