When the end of the day rolls around, have you ever thought to yourself, “Where did my time go today?” If so, do you often vow to handle your time management better tomorrow? Do you commit to do a better job of planning?

Most people do. Their intention is good. The action taken is hopeless.

 Effective executives do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes.

—Peter Drucker

In 1965, when I began my practice of commercial kitchen design consulting, I recognized that the sum total of what I had to sell was my T-I-M-E. It was essential that I make maximum use of my time.

When I looked around to see which of my friends did the best job of managing their time, my accountant and lawyer friends appeared to be doing the best job. They tracked and sold their time.

From the beginning of my consulting practice, I tracked my time.

I had discovered the most important principle of time management.

Know Where Your Time Goes

While a consultant, I tracked my time in 15-minute increments. Obviously, when I sold my services by the hour, I had to know how much time I used in order to bill my client.

For negotiated price commissions, it was essential to know where the time went to determine if I had calculated an accurate time required to do the job. Knowing this assured me that I could sell my services and have confidence that I would not lose money on a project.

The next year, Peter Drucker confirmed my time tracking in his book, The Effective Executive.

The effective executive therefore knows that to manage his time, he first  has to know where it actually goes.

—Peter Drucker

Later, when I went to work for Truett Cathy at Chick-fil-A, I continued to track my time. Periodically, I would analyze how I spent my time on a monthly and quarterly basis. That actual time-use information was what I needed to make more effective use of my time.

I knew where my time was going.

Too many people base their time management solely on how they intend to spend their time.

I found that managing my time by what had been scheduled on a calendar was next to worthless! How many days actually happen as you planned?

As the years passed and my responsibilities increased, I began to track how I spent my time in 5-minute increments. I tracked everything, including trips to the coffee break room, rest room, walk-around time, personal phone calls, and you name it, I tracked it.

Time tracking is not nearly as time consuming as you might think. I kept my DayRunner open on my desk with all of my planned time-use for the day and simply made note whenever I changed what I was doing. It was simple, easy and quickly done.

You need to know that I am an expert time waster. If I had not tracked my time, I would have accomplished very little. If you don’t also track the time you waste, you never know how much more you could do simply by eliminating some of the time you waste.

Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.

—Peter Drucker

Do you want to get more done?

Know Where Your Time Goes

This worked for me.

It will work for you!

Are you willing to try it?

Know Where Your Time Goes

Jimmy Collins