Charlie Park!

(or, rather, his tumblelog)

The Mackenzie Time Inventory

In the management classic The Time Trap, R. Alec Mackenzie has several solid recommendations, including getting a sense of where your time goes. He recommends creating and using a time inventory:

From the earliest efforts to log their time, executives have found that their time allotments were not going where they thought they were. …

Peter Drucker’s remarks about the time log are enlightening. He observes that approaches to getting more work done always begin with planning. However, effective executives do not start this way. They know that if you start with a plan, it ends up in the bottom drawer. Other plans will follow, winding up in the same place. Instead, according to Drucker, the astute executive begins by finding out where [their] time is really going.

The time inventory, or log, is necessary because the painful task of changing our habits requires far more conviction than we can build from learning about the experience of others. We need the amazing revelation of the great portions of time we are wasting to provide the determination to manage ourselves more effectively in this respect.

In the book, Mackenzie lays out a chart that you can use to log your time. It wasn’t a bad layout for 1972, but as we have some more tools at our disposal, I figured it’d make for a solid spreadsheet.

So! I made one, using Google Sheets. If you’re interested, you can copy (and use) The Mackenzie Time Inventory.

Let me know if you use it, and how it could be improved!