top of page

The CEO Survival Guide – The Three-Step Approach To Identifying Which Balls Are OK To Drop And Which Ones Are Not

Danielle Levy is a sought-after business consultant who helps business owners expand with clarity and efficiency. Danielle is also the Founder and CEO of The Boardroom League™, a team of experts providing holistic business consulting and implementation services for entrepreneurs.

Executive Contributor Danielle Levy

Perfection isn’t attainable. As I tell my clients, stop striving for perfection. Instead, strive for progress. If your to-do list is somehow always 12 pages long with no end in sight, and you never know what to cut from it… This is for you!

A businesswoman is joining business online video conference on a computer in the office.

Stay with me…

As busy CEOs, we’re constantly struggling to keep balls up in the air in some crazy balancing act requiring perfect concentration and skill. Except we’re not juggling balls; we’re juggling commitments that we’ve placed on ourselves and our time (aka: never ending tasks!). As a CEO, your “balls” might include:

  • Work – clients, tasks, and never-ending to-do lists

  • Family – vacations, kids commitments, partners

  • Friends – you know, the ones that keep you sane!

  • Physical/Mental Health – the occasional workout, hike, or dinner out with your partner

  • Education/Personal Growth – podcasts, that book you seem to never find time for, the list goes on and on!

The reality is that we’re juggling a lot more than just a few things, and that to-do list never seems to have enough things checked off of it.

Each of your “balls” requires planning, remembering, and executing, and when you try to do it all and hold it all… eventually, the inevitable is going to happen…

A ball is going to drop.

I know just the idea of dropping one makes you uncomfortable, at a minimum. No one wants that… and certainly not with your business.

But here’s the good news…

If a ball needs to drop, it’s ok!

As long as you know which ones to drop and which ones to keep in the air.

The CEO's three-part framework to prioritizing

With that acceptance in mind, I wanted to share my three-part framework for analyzing which commitments should be prioritized.

In broadest terms, it’s crucial to measure each ball for impact and effort. When you examine your balls with that lens, prioritizing becomes much simpler.

This framework is a strategy I’m borrowing from the U.S. Navy Seals and Department of Defense, the biggest experts on high-stakes situations.

The key is to prioritize your “balls” into one of three categories

1. Essential: Think of this as anything you can’t do without. It’s of the utmost importance.

For example, as a working parent, you get a call from the school that your child is very sick. School policy requires that they go home immediately. In this example, it’s essential that you either pick up your child or arrange for alternative child care.

As another example, you work in marketing and get locked out of your CRM. It’s essential that you get back in so your business doesn’t come to a stand still.

2. Critical: Whatever is both important and urgent falls in this category. You’ll need to complete critical items soon, but they’re not absolutely necessary.

For example, you receive a sudden influx of customer complaints about a glitch in your online system. While it may not immediately hinder day-to-day operations, it’s both important and

urgent that you address this issue promptly to ensure no more issues occur.

3. Desirable: The third category is anything that is nice to have but not necessary.

For example, you’ve been working on a pitch for a new partnership. You’ve spent hours on it and it just needs a few tweaks before it’s ready to go, but you’ve got a dozen work deadlines looming. You guessed it. This is nice to have but it can definitely wait until those deadlines are met.

Anytime you feel overwhelmed and stuck, I highly recommend re-evaluating your commitments by deciding whether something is essential, critical, or simply desirable. No matter how urgent

the situation, the key to saving time and keeping those feelings of overwhelm under control is to prioritize

A word of advice. As a CEO, I highly recommend prioritizing your team. Make sure you answer their questions, ensure timely payroll, recognize their accomplishments and efforts, provide feedback, and the like. Your team is there to support you and if they can't do their jobs then the

business is at risk.

Are you struggling to keep all the balls up in the air, but find yourself overwhelmed and stuck? Schedule a discovery call and we can discuss how to prioritize your workload, and if you need to, which balls you can drop, and which ones you cannot.


Danielle Levy, Business Coach & Strategist

Danielle Levy is a sought-after business consultant who helps business owners expand with clarity and efficiency. Danielle is also the Founder and CEO of The Boardroom League™, a team of experts providing holistic business consulting and implementation services for entrepreneurs. She holds an MBA, is certified as a Project Management Professional, and is a FG Certified Master Marketer.

Danielle has 15 years of agency experience, helping her bring a unique perspective to all of her clients. A problem solver at heart, she believes in helping business owners go from Chief of Everything Officer to Chief Executive Officer, so they can focus on their vision, instead of being distracted by day-to-day business obligations. By establishing solid business foundations and implementing streamlined systems, Danielle's clients are not only able to regain their freedom but also rediscover the joy of running their businesses.

In 2021, Danielle founded The Boardroom League™ to guide executives turned business owners through current challenges and future advancements by providing bespoke business consulting and implementation. The Boardroom League takes a phased approach to business consulting, offering expertise in a variety of areas; including business leadership, financial guidance, legal advisory, marketing, and more.

In her personal life, Danielle is an energetic mother of two boys, who understands the balance of being both a hockey Mom AND a successful entrepreneur.



  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04


bottom of page