The 4 Ds of time management

A well-liked method for determining if a task or project is worthwhile is the four Ds of time management, sometimes known as the four Ds of productivity. It entails making a snap judgement on what to do now, whether you should handle it yourself or assign it to someone else, what to do later, and what to cross off your to-do list.

Do, Defer (Delay), Delegate, and Delete are the four Ds. By categorising a task or project, you can better manage what little time you have at your disposal and maintain focus on the things that are most important to you.

Why are the 4 Ds Important for CEOs?

CEOs are famously busy, with a never-ending stream of requests and demands competing for their time and attention. CEOs must successfully prioritise the steady stream of work to stay focused on what is really important in order to keep projects and people moving in the right direction. Successful CEOs eventually become time management experts.

How to Apply the 4 Ds Technique

CEOs are not an exception; we all have a never-ending list of things to get done. Our time is limited by our obligations and expectations, therefore we need to be careful about how we use it so that our tasks fall in line with our bigger objectives.

To begin using the 4 Ds technique, review your to-do list at the beginning of the workday and decide which activities can be completed swiftly by you or someone else on your team, which ones may be skipped entirely, and which crucial jobs can be put off for the time being.

DoWork on tasks that only take a few minutes to complete. Quickly accomplishing a series of smaller tasks builds momentum for working on larger projects.– Answering an email
– Returning a phone call
– Printing a report
Defer (Delay)Temporarily pause a task that doesn’t need to be handled right away, and reschedule when you have the availability.– New request from a colleague
– New project idea
DelegateReassign an essential task to someone else.Weigh up tasks that benefit from your specific area of expertise vs. those tasks that deliver the same outcome regardless of who is doing it
Delete (Drop)Remove unnecessary tasks from your list and move on.– Unproductive meetings
– Unnecessary emails

As you gain more experience with the 4 Ds technique, you can apply this approach as tasks and requests cross your desk–even before they have a chance to land and take root on your to-do list.

John Rampton, CEO of Calendar, shares this advice:

“To get the most out of this simple and powerful time management technique, list and track your daily activities. It’s the only way that you’ll be able to see how you’re spending your time. And, more importantly, where it’s being wasted. You can either use a handwritten time log, your calendar, or software to track your time.”

A word to the wise: Commit to the task in front of you. If you’ve placed a task in the Do category, then by all means, do it and be done with it.