How to use the 4D Method to Manage Your Time
Do you ever feel like everything on your to-do list is on fire and you don’t know which fire to put out first?
And just when you think you’ve got it all under control, another fire starts blazing?
It’s hard to know how to get #allthethings done or where to even start when you’re overwhelmed. From replying to emails, attending meetings, responding to the unexpected and just getting enough done to make a dent at work, to managing all the ongoing household responsibilities at home, deciding what fire to put out first can be difficult.
And let’s face it, sometimes you’re so fried you might feel like letting the whole damn thing burn to the ground. Does this sound like you? (I immediately raise my hand…) Welcome to the club of every woman I talk to and work with.
(Every woman I know…Insert BIG ASS glass of wine here)
Before you give up, here’s are a few simple tips to help you manage your time, without losing your mind:
1. Identify Your Goals
How will you know how to manage your time if you’re responding to situations as they come up? Be proactive. Make a list of everything you need to get done, both at work (at a job or in your business) and at home.
2. Use the 4D method
If the lists seem daunting and you’re not sure how to get things done, use the 4D method (delegate, drop, delay and do):
Drop: What are you doing now that doesn’t need to be done? Is there anything on your to-do list that isn’t that important? Are you spending hours each night cooking elaborate meals, when a 30-minute solution would be just fine? Are you doing more maintenance on your yard than is necessary, only to keep up with the neighbors? If it’s draining your energy and wasting your time with no real benefit to you, drop it.
Delay: Is there anything on the list that can be put off to a later date? Can organizing the guest room or taking that online class wait until after the holidays, when you know you’ll be busy? Even if it’s something you WANT to do if it’s causing you extra stress and taking time away from things that MUST be done now, consider putting it off. This doesn’t mean you can’t come back to it later; it just means you’re prioritizing more important things now.
Delegate: What tasks can you delegate? If you feel like you have to do it all, you’re going to spread yourself thin and likely miss things or make mistakes. Not to mention burn out! You also won’t be allowing for any free time to handle situations that come up unexpectedly…because life doesn’t care what we have planned. It happens whether we like it or not. What tasks can you delegate to others, at work, and at home?
Do: Finally, AFTER you’ve delegated, dropped and delayed, you should find yourself with a narrow, focused list of tasks that you can do (and do well).
3. Pick Three
If you have a long to-do list, it can be hard to decide when you’ve done enough each day. If you struggle with knowing when you’ve done enough, try this.
Write down one to three tasks to work on each day. If you don’t finish them, put them on the next day’s list. If you do, even if you’ve finished at noon, permit yourself to take a break. Life is SO much more than a to-do list.
What do you struggle with most? Delegating? Dropping a task? Delaying something on your to-do list for another time? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments.
Until next time!