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Time Management Drucker Style

The 1 + 2 + 3 for Effectiveness


Peter Drucker is considered the father of modern management. The greatest business thinker of the 20th century.

In his great book The Effective Executive, he tells us that TIME is our most precious asset. You can lose money and get it back. You can even lose some health and get it back. But once your time is gone, it’s gone. Period.

But, tragically few of us pay attention to Aristotle’s admonition that “We should count time by heart throbs.”

So… Drucker gives us a three-step process to Optimize our use of time. Here’s a quick look.

Step 1. Drucker tells us that most people start by PLANNING their time. “Oh, to hit my goals I’ll do this at 9am and this at noon and this at 3pm” kinda thing. He says that’s not wise. Instead, we want to start by TRACKING our time. We need to get more clarity on where our time is currently going.

As we’ve discussed a number of times, the simple act of tracking ANYTHING immediately improves the performance of that activity. For example, if you’re tracking your nutrition, you’re less likely to want to write down “Three Twinkies for lunch.” Right? Same thing with our time.

We need to know where it’s going. Then we can immediately spot the time wasters and get clarity on the fact that, perhaps, we’re doing WAY less Deep Work than we thought.

Step 2. Once we have that clarity on where our time is currently going, we then MANAGE our time. The #1 thing we do in this part of the process? We RUTHLESSLY (!!!) eliminate the time wasters.

Again, Rule #1 of Optimizing anything — whether it’s your health or your relationships or your time — is to GET RID OF the stuff that’s making you sick. Twinkies? Gone. Yelling? Gone. Smartphone apps? Gone.

After eliminating the time wasters we then architect our Masterpiece Days and start planning our time. Which leads us to…

Step 3. Consolidate your time. Drucker is ALL about creating “large quantums of time.” The largest possible blocks of time to do truly deep, important work. For him, that doesn’t mean 90-minute chunks. It means “half-days” and TWO WEEKS of uninterrupted time.

Who does that?! People truly committed to doing great work.


Today’s +1. Let’s do a quick inventory of the three step process.

1. Where’s your time going? Track it.
2. What needs to go? Eliminate it.
3. How can you create large time blocks? Consolidate it.

That’s the 1 + 2 +3 of Time Management, Drucker style. Let’s rock it.