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The Effective Executive – Know Thy Time

“Poor Management wastes everyone’s time”


Chapter 2 of Peter Drucker’s Book the Effective Executive is Know thy time.

Time is very precious because it is something we can not make up. Once time has passed it is no longer available for us to reuse.  You can not make it up.  Therefore it is important that workers understand where their use of time is going.

The effective executive do not merely start with what tasks they need to complete.  Rather they focus on making the best use of their time. Review the time and see if there is any ways to consolidate them.

Understanding where your time goes will allow you to focus on the results and performance.  Figure out the goals and set aside time to direct the subordinates to agree to the vision and turn them into results.

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Peter explains how a secretary started recording what the executive was doing all day.  Everything was recorded from phone calls to meetings of several people.   Even the so called Dinner meetings were  recorded.

The conclusion was that many of these tasks were a complete waste of time.  Many of tasks were done just because some type of tradition. Mixing personal and work relationships can be extremely time consuming.

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Here is the Process of figuring out where your time goes by asking these questions.

  1. Identify and eliminate time wasters
  2. Which can be done by someone else.  Delegate your tasks if possible
  3. Don’t waste other people’s time.  Ask them “What Do I Do that wastes your time?

Once you’re establish a foundation and understanding of where your time goes, then you can take these steps to prune your time wasting activities.

  1. Identify recurring Tasks  “Annual inventory”  “Reconcile Finances” etc etc.  These things are done every year
  2. Over-Staffing – It’s best to keep a lean organization.  Better to have workers that more to do rather than less
  3. Excessive Meetings are counter productive
  4. Bad information: Halt rumors and ensure you have the most updated information

This was a very important chapter that helped me both my personal and work life.  I was always told that we should multitask as much as possible . Many times that would mean that I would have to bring work home and at times can distract me from spending time with my family.  Going on vacations and taking work phone calls should be avoided.

Time is very precious because it is something we can not make up Click To Tweet
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Secondly, I tend to try to do way too much.  Delegating and assigning responsibility is very important.  But what was very profound to me is to identify ” What do I do that wastes your time?”  Was asking for that weekly report necessary?

I remember doing this weekly report for almost 5 months.  I never received any feedback or questions about.  So for two weeks I just stopped.  No one asked me about the report.

Because of that I came to the conclusion that this report was just a waste of my valuable time.  My stakeholders realized that reading my report was a waste of time so rather than letting me know they just ignored it.

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Make sure the work you do is benefitting someone else or just scrap it.   It does not do anything to provide better results nor the performance of your tasks.


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