By Bob Walsh

So you’re Getting Things Done, you’ve defined your projects, implemented your productivity processes and are humming right along with the future’s so bright you need sunglasses, right?

Maybe not.

Are you actually being productive? Or do you think your being productive while all your time is being nibbled away by non-productive activities? Trust yourself – but verify you are Getting Things Done with a Time Audit.

h3. A Time Audit is Simple

Doing a Time Audit is so simple, you can’t avoid it. You can download a free Excel template here if you want, or just take a piece of paper and write down your top 10 activities and add a grid 1 week wide by however long your day is long, divided into 15 minute intervals. Why 15 minutes? An hour is a long time in our multitasking interruption-driven world; 5 minute intervals are too short: all you will get done is the Time Audit.

Time Audit Template

This template is yours at:

As you work away- or after you get our of the meeting, conference call, workout or lunch – mark that time as one of your 10 activities, or leave it blank if it was just totally off them map. Each day, total up where you time is actually going.

You are not going to be a happy camper reading those results unless you’ve already achieved glow-in-the-dark Getting Things Done-ness. If you have, congratulations! If not… well, the truth will set you free, and in this case it will set you free from all those non-productive, non-Getting Things Done things leaching away your time.

P.S. Don’t tell your boss you’re doing this!

Author Bio: Bob Walsh divides his time between improving and selling MasterList Professional, a personal task management application, writing a book for Apress (Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality) on how to start a self-funded startup, blogging here and at, writing custom software applications for companies with needs and budgets and trying to remember what the words “time off” and “vacation” mean. He can be reached at [email protected].

7 Comments on Time For A Time Audit

  1. Vero says:

    This is brilliant! Some days, I simply don’t know WHERE my time goes; I work hard all day long but lose focus because of distractions. This will be incentive to push the distractions away.


  2. Ron says:

    Hey, wow, thats one cool template. I have done time audits for years, but never with such a tool. I’m going to have to give that a shot, although considering the number of tasks, I will probably make some mods. The countif function was one I was not aware of. Thus, not only a great tool, but some cool education on what all excel can do. Thanks!!!

  3. Bob Walsh says:

    Glad you liked it!

  4. Thomas Wolfe says:

    I have tried to do this a number of times, but I always lose track of time and forget to record what I am doing.

    This sounds like a great Google Desktop snap in or even an extension to MLP. Every x minutes you get a little alarm and then you pop open the tool and enter a brief description or pick from a list.

    hmmm, who do we know that writes cool time management software.

  5. Thomas Wolfe says:

    Another interesting variant of this is the procrastination log. I learned about it in a book called “The Now Habits” by Neil Fiore. The idea is that each time you find yourself procrastinating on a task, you log the details of the task and the time as well as what you were thinking/feeling about the task and your justification for putting it off. After you have logged a week or so worth of procrastinating, you attempt to analyze the reasons and situations that triggered your procrastination and hopefully address it.

    I have been meaning to do this for a long time.

    Fiore also has a brief discussion of using the Flow State, I believe I have seen that discussed around here recently.


  6. Scott Smith says:

    This is a great template. I was wondering how I could extend this to 24 hours. I tried, but it won’t register any boxes I add past 10pm. Any idea how to do this? I wonder if you could email me with the answer.


  7. Jim says:

    I modified it for 24 hours, and froze the panes to make it easier to scroll through entries.
    you can find it at


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