The 4 D's of productivity.

Is your todo list too long? Is your inbox overflowing? Is your day stuffed full of meetings? By using the 4 D's you can trim all these things considerably and gain time back to get stuff done! The 4 D's are "delete," "delegate," "defer" and "do." The 4 D's can be applied to tasks, emails and meetings. Whenever you get a new task, email message or meeting invite go through the 4 D's in order. 

1. Delete. Firstly, can you just delete this? Is it worth your time? Can you decline it? Will you ever get to it? Is it a priority for you? If not, just delete it. If it can't be deleted then move to the next D.

2. Delegate. Next, if you can't delete it, can you delegate it? Is it something someone else can or should do? If it can be delegated then do so. If it can't be delegated move on to the next D.

3. Defer. Now, if it can't be deleted or delegated, can it be deferred? Does it have to be done immediately? If not, put it on a list. The list should have two sections - projects and tasks. Projects should be done in the morning (when you are fresh) and are for longer term benefit. Projects are either usually either goal related or strategic. Tasks are operational and should be done in the afternoon whenever possible. These are things like approving timecards and purchasing. If it can't be deferred move on to the last D.

4. Do. Lastly anything that can't be deleted, delegated or deferred needs to be done now. These are fires. This should be the smallest of categories.

As you process your work, go through all your meetings, emails and tasks and go through the 4 D's in order. This will help you prioritize and work on the most important things at the right time.

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