executive time

Making Time: How to Save Your Identity and Personal Time as a Leader


Do you ever envy the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated among kids? To children, the hallmark-holiday signifies friendship, indulgence and treats, bright colors, and maybe some specially themed activities or even a pizza party. As professional adults, Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated in private by couples (if at all) and the flashiest public celebration is usually in the form of red blouses or ties with hearts on them.

Regardless of your relationship status or propensity to celebrate the 14th of February, as an executive, the holiday’s raison d’etre is worthy of just a bit of your attention. How you take care of yourself can actually make a difference in how you show up and excel in your professional life.

As a member of your organization’s executive office, you’ve achieved success through the love you have for your job. The long days and countless meetings have elevated your skills and leadership. Your relentless dedication to mission, team, and strategy has aided your achievements, and that is worthy of your pride. However, among the executives and Chiefs of Staff Prime Chief of Staff works with, we find that too many professionals sacrifice leisure time and hobbies, instead focusing on the pursuit of additional professional goals and projects, like skill development, networking, or mentorship.

Setting aside time for oneself is challenging for anyone, and as a busy professional, it can at times feel downright impossible. Often, professionals use their personal time to exercise or be with family. However, we also need time to simply be. Using time to pursue relaxation, leisure, and deepening one-on-one relationships helps professionals feel more well-rounded. Spending time outside of professional pursuits often reminds us of the many facets of our identity, the things that make us uniquely us, that often have very little to do with our professions. Creating boundaries between your work and well-being will allow you to bring a better version of yourself to the job and avoid burnout.

As examples and inspiration for you to take time for yourself and the hobbies and people you love, we have compiled stories of three professionals who use or have used boundaries and protected their time to be the best versions of themselves.

  • Often interrupted and elusive, resting is one of our favorite ways to honor your boundary among work and personal life. Google CEO Sundar Pichai uses a rest and relaxation technique called non-sleep deep rest, or NSDR. Rather than focusing simply on silent meditation or sleep, NSDR directs one’s attention to something like breathing, or parts of the body experiencing tension. Led by yoga instructors via classes, videos, or podcasts, NSDR allows practitioners to achieve short stints of rest that leave them calmer and practiced at winding down, which aids in falling asleep at bedtime and fully relaxing during personal time.
  • Be sure to make time for joy and reflection on the big picture of your life. Kim Lawton, Founder and CEO at Enthuse Marketing Group, claims that a healthy perspective on her life and pleasurable activities allow her to be her best self at work. Mindfulness, daily laughter, reading, and a focus on nutrition have been essential for Ms. Lawton’s wellbeing. One way she makes time for herself is by scheduling time on her calendar to ponder her goals and ideas, allowing her to clear her head and assess what is most important to her.
  • Time we take for ourselves doesn’t have to be spent in solitude. In fact, many professionals find that their sense of identity and self-worth improved through therapy. Chelsea C. Williams founded her business Reimagine Talent Co. all on her own in her twenties. Her age, gender, and self-doubt contributed to her hesitancy to call herself a CEO. Of her title, Ms. Williams said “I could not sit in that title, because what the world says a CEO is oftentimes is not a Black woman…especially a young one,” In a pursuit to claim her identity and fight feelings of inadequacy, Williams began working with a therapist, “My therapist was important in helping me get to identity … helping me understand my worthiness and value and how to show up as who I am.”

Whether you begin a new mindfulness habit, improve your nutrition, or simply decide to laugh more every day, it is Prime’s hope that you show yourself love by balancing your time. We encourage you to rely on the support system you’ve built in the workplace, taking personal time to pursue activities you love and deepen your relationships, even the one you have with yourself.


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