England arrived in New Zealand with patched-up confidence following their victory over Ireland last weekend. They kick-off their quest for global supremacy against Argentina in eight day's time and Wilkinson insits it is crucial that they hit the ground running.
"We are in a good position but we are under no illusions we need to be on the mark from the first kick-off and we have to make the most of the time before our first game," Wilkinson told the Daily Mail.
"That includes putting together the calls, all the rhythm and connection between each other. You have to make the most of that time.
"Every second counts as it has done for the last four years but now is when it matters.
"Form is a good thing to have behind you but it only counts if you make it count."
Wilkinson is embarking on his fourth World Cup and understands the demands more than most. The fly-half has guided Englans to the last two showpiece finals, winning the Webb Ellis trophy in 2003 courtesy of Wilkinson's drop-goal and falling at the last hurdle four years ago.
Wilkinson reckons the ability to adapt tactics during game time will be crucial during the global gathering.
"You have to have an open mind and adapt to the path that opens up in front of you," added Wilkinson.
"That is the hardest bit. Four years ago the tournament became one of enormous pressure around field position, around those sort of things. You don't know that at the start.
"Nothing is decided until you get on the field and you get shown the best way to try and win the game. It is up to both teams to try and adapt to that.
"It is a combination of the ruthless edge mixed with being smart and switched on, to find the best way to win before the opposition does."