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Do, Dump, Delegate or Defer

The 4Ds typically refer to time management techniques. How can you be more effective, more efficient and hopefully, more satisfied with your work environment. Since we spend at least 1/3 of our waking hours working, better functioning by eliminating some stressors may also have a spillover impact on our personal lives. And with the ever increased blurring of lines between work/home, why not use the same tools to improve the way we approach our lives as a whole?

I hate clutter, a messy desk, or a disorganized closet. I find it hard to concentrate or relax when the environment feels chaotic. My preference is to maintain a level of neatness that’s livable vs. neurotic and there’s always room for improvement.

The approach that I have found most workable is to prioritize tasks and the strategies to best approach them.

• Dump/Delete/Drop: This is a topic unto itself. Whether it’s e-mails, meetings, bad relationships or outdated clothing, think of each new day as January 1st and an opportunity to “clean-house” and move on. With practice, you will become better at identifying this category more quickly like scanning for unwanted e-mails or not responding to other interruptions.

• Delegate: If someone else can do the task 2/3 as well as you, pass it along. From holiday dinners to other tasks that are time consuming, and not in a good way, think of other options to engage more people in creating positive outcomes.

• Defer: The timing may be better done later. Determine if that is the case and while a given task must be done, if there is no urgency, assign it a low priority and revisit at a later time.

• DO: Work on one thing at a time. Stay focused, buckle down and get it done. Once you have eliminated the previous “tests” and identified what YOU need to do, prepare the space and concentrate. Notice how much easier it is to do so now that you have removed distractions and other time wasters.


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