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Tip Tuesday – The 4 “Ds” of Time Management

The 4 Ds of Time Management Image

Time management gurus have used the following method for decades, and I often introduce it to clients to help them think about balancing their time at home. This classic decision-making grid shows where you ideally focus your time: on things that are more important AND more urgent. To narrow down to these must-dos, first go through your to-dos and…

DELETE – I am not just talking about emails and subscriptions you can delete, but also about tasks you can entirely stop doing. Personally, I deleted all clothing that needs to be dry-cleaned or hand washed from my closet. I only buy things that are machine-washable and dry-able. This saves me a ton of time on trips to the dry cleaner or on laboriously hand washing and hanging items to dry.

DELEGATE – This is where I encourage clients to HIRE someone to do the things that they don’t want to do or can’t do well. Think about how much money your time is worth. I know that numbers are not my strong skill, so I happily hire a bookkeeper and accountant to do my business books and personal taxes. Would a lawn/laundry/cleaning/grocery shopping service “buy” you some time? These are great ways to delegate tasks.

DEFER – “WANT-to-do” tasks generally fall in this category. I encourage clients to be realistic about the urgency of the things they want to do. For me, I want to write a long newsy letter to my faraway friends, but realistically it is so much easier to call or text them. You may want to bake a cake from scratch, but a store-bought one will taste yummy as well!

DO – These are the things that really NEED to be done. I often call them “MUST DOs” or “ACTION ITEMS.” These tasks are both important and urgent. They usually entail deadlines, like bill paying or tax preparation. Big must-do projects often need to be broken down into small manageable “bites” so that they don’t overwhelm.

Finally, remember that GOOD and DONE is better than PERFECT and NONE. Your actions do not always have to get an “A+” grade. It is better to have accomplished something with a “passing grade,” than not get your to-dos done at all!

Will deciding whether you can Delete, Delegate, Defer, or Do help YOU get more done in less time? Let me know!