Singapore Markets closed

Suzy Welch: Try the productivity hack that top CEOs swear by

Courtney Connley

You probably feel like you're always busy at work. But that doesn't mean that you're getting things done.

If you spend the majority of your time answering emails, checking social media, taking calls and attending meetings, you can easily leave the office feeling like you've got nothing to show for your hours. To help you feel more accomplished, bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch suggests implementing a productivity hack that many CEOs swear by.

It's called the "protected hour," and Welch tells CNBC Make It that she was introduced to this concept while working on an article with a well-respected CEO when she was the editor of the Harvard Business Review.

"One afternoon I called his office," she said, "only to have his assistant tell me he couldn't talk because it was his 'protected hour.'" Welch says his assistant didn't elaborate on what the phrase meant, so she asked the CEO to discuss the idea more in their next meeting.

"He told me that every single week he sat alone or with a trusted advisor to look at his calendar from 20,000 feet," she says, "assessing if he was spending his time with the right people, involved in the right activities, thinking about the right things and with enough of an eye to the future."

Welch says that the CEO told her that while his protected hour always seemed to occur at an inconvenient time, he was determined to stick to it, because it made him "1,000 percent more productive and effective in the long run."

Since then, she says she's asked many other CEOs if they have a similar habit, and the majority of them respond that they do.

"Which is why, even though I'm only the CEO of Suzy, Inc., about 10 years ago, I started putting a protected hour on my calendar," says Welch.

She says that she's seen first-hand how much of a difference this hour can make, and advises everyone to make it part of their own schedule.

"I know we're all so busy that the idea of sparing an hour just to ponder can seem impossible," she says. "But this hack has the power to save you days, weeks and even years of misplaced energy."

Welch suggests that you try adding a protected hour to your calendar this week.

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Instituteand a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker.

Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!

More from Suzy Welch:

Here's a clever little secret to managing your manager

3 common interview traps to avoid at all costs

This simple question from Jeff Bezos could transform the way you think about work