The 4 D's of Time Management

by The Cooperative
Time management is a tool we can use to organize our time best to accomplish the many tasks we have in our professional and personal lives. We can work smarter rather than harder by utilizing proper time management skills, accomplish more in less time, and help manage stress during busy times. Without effective time management, it’s easy to fall behind on deadlines, increase work stress, negatively impact your professional reputation, and create low-quality work. 
What are the 4Ds of Time Management?
An effective time management concept to remember and use is the 4 Ds of time management: Do, Defer, Delegate, and Delete. This time management tool requires you to filter a task through the 4 Ds before you act on that task; by filtering functions through the 4 Ds, they are well prioritized, and you can accomplish the most important on time. It is a great way to help you decide if a task is worth giving time to now, later, or ever. 
Understanding the 4 Ds of Time Management

1. Do

Do refer to the tasks that must be completed promptly. These tasks are a top priority, and if they are not completed, they can have a negative effect on tasks you will need to meet in the future. Ideally, these tasks should not be time-consuming and should be able to be completed in only a few minutes. Completing these tasks builds momentum towards achieving more significant projects at faster speeds. Examples of Do tasks include answering a phone call or an email. 

2. Defer

Defer tasks are tasks that you can afford to complete later. While these tasks are not time-sensitive, they are still essential and must be taken care of. You should schedule a time to start working on this task once more time-sensitive ones have been finished. While you can defer this task for a later time, organizing it into your calendar is essential so that deferring doesn’t lead to procrastination. Examples include an article that you need to have completed in 2 weeks.   

3. Delegate

Delegate tasks are tasks you can reassign to someone else and don’t have to complete yourself. These tasks don’t need your skill set or may be more appropriate for someone else’s skill set. Understanding this time management skill is vital because it allows everyone in an organization to utilize their talents best.

4. Delete

Delete tasks are ones you can remove from your to-do list to avoid unnecessary tasks that take time away from tasks that need to be completed. Determining what tasks to delete is a great way to filter your to-do list and make time for meaningful tasks. Examples of tasks to delete are unproductive meetings, spam emails, and tasks that will not help you reach your end goal.
To properly use the 4 Ds of time management, it is crucial to understand how you are currently spending your time. How long are important tasks taking you, and where are you wasting time? An excellent way to monitor your time is by tracking your tasks. Monitoring can help you see where to apply the 4 Ds better and adjust your daily schedule to help you optimize your production. 
The 4 Ds of time management is a simple yet effective tool that can help you optimize your productivity by determining what tasks to Do, Defer, Delegate and Delete. By practicing this method, you can limit stress and feel less overwhelmed, and as a result, you will likely see improvements in your focus, productivity, and effectiveness. Take better control of your schedule and tasks by practicing the 4 Ds of time management!
By, Coach Alex

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