Kill ‘busy’ to focus on what matters

The Last Word

Jackie Steinmetz
Chief executive officer, Accelity Marketing
229 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 400, Milwaukee
Industry: Marketing
Employees: 8


Jackie Steinmetz founded Milwaukee-based Accelity Marketing in 2013. Leaders’ tendency to take on too much can prevent them from taking advantage of opportunities, she says.

“Leaders today wear being busy like a badge of honor. We spread ourselves too thin. We spend too much time doing what we’ve always done or accepting the way things work instead of evaluating what’s important (and what’s not).

“When I started Accelity Marketing four years ago, I was so guilty of wearing the busy badge. I was killing myself to grow, getting little sleep and running my business on others’ terms. It took me a few years to realize the value of my own time; then, everything changed.

“Today, I teach my team to value their time to the extreme. Pretend that an hour of your time is worth $1,000. Is the meeting you just scheduled worthwhile, or can this question be resolved via email? Does the call need to be 30 minutes, or can it be 15? Accelity’s culture is one of extreme efficiency. We protect our time fiercely. This allows us to enjoy the work-life balance employees at other small businesses only dream of.

“Refusing to be busy is by far the most valuable leadership lesson I’ve ever learned. Free up time to do the things that other ‘busy’ leaders don’t: connect with the local business community, volunteer, say yes to networking coffees, mentor a new entrepreneur.

“And when you’re thanked profusely for ‘taking time out of your busy schedule,’ smile graciously, knowing you’re exactly where you want to be because you killed ‘busy.’”

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