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Have you heard about the 4 d’s of time management?

If you are struggling with managing your own time, you are not alone. Most people have a hard time splitting their time between work, family, friends and building good habits. 

The time in your day is precious. You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. The average person has 168 hours to fill in a week at any given moment. So how do you spend your precious time? To maximize your productivity and happiness, it’s essential to figure out what’s most important to you and manage accordingly. 

And that’s when time management techniques come into the picture. Today, I will tell you about a very famous method called the 4 d’s of time management. It may help you better organize the tasks you have to do and realize if other tasks are not that important for your life, and you can delete them from your to-do list.


What you need to do before implementing the 4 d’s of time management

Start with a plan

Before jumping into each one of the 4 d’s of time management, there are some things you may need to do. The first step is to plan out your day. 

Most people make the mistake of winging it. They’re busy, after all. But this leaves you with little control over your time and energy levels, which can quickly lead to frustration and exhaustion. It also means you’re unable to prioritize your day’s most important tasks or events.

Instead, take the time to map out what you want to accomplish in a day before work when things are at their calmest. Create a list of things that need to get done and schedule them in order of importance, from most important to least important. This way, you know how much time each task will take and account for any unforeseen delays (i.e., traffic). You’ll be able to see what’s possible if you start with a plan.

First of all, you need to think about your work priorities. Leisure, hobbies, and healthy habits must have a place in your schedule. And believe me, after you have managed the time to finish your work tasks, they will. 

So you need to ask yourself: 

  • Which projects and job responsibilities are a priority in your life?
  • When do I want to finish this project? How much time do these job responsibilities demand?
  • Which tasks can I identify inside of these projects or job responsibilities?

After you have answered these questions, you can start to list all the tasks you consider you should be doing regularly. This list can include:

  • Answering emails
  • Meetings with my boss/clients
  • Calendar tasks (things you must do every day)
  • Statistics analysis

The list goes on, and it will depend on which type of job or project you are working in. 

Also, since some tasks are too big, you’ll have to split them into sub-tasks. If so, then split them into as many tasks as you can think of. For example, if you are working in selling a product of your company to a specific client, you may split the work in:

  • Calling the client to request an interview
  • Prepare a presentation for the client
  • Prepare a budget for the client
  • Make sure the product is ready to send it to the client
  • Send the product
  • Ensure the client is happy with the product he received
  • Ask for a testimonial of the product to include in my website

So as you can see, something as simple as selling a product has many tasks that need to be completed. And you must identify each of these tasks since this will be essential to implementing the 4 d’s of time management.


The 4 d’s of time management


Sometimes we take too long to decide whether we should complete a task or not. We jump into questions like should I do this now or later? And we go back and forth and never decide if it’s the right moment or not to answer that email that’s been sitting unanswered for weeks.

So here’s a quick trick: according to David Allen, you should stick to the 2-minute rule. This rule says that you should just do it if it takes less than 2 minutes to complete the task. So go ahead and get it done. It’s 120 seconds. 

And if it doesn’t, then you should ask yourself:

  • Is this something I must complete today?
  • Am I the only person that can complete this task?
  • Is this a priority for my business or my job?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you should DO this task and stick with it until you complete it.

But if this is something urgent that someone else in your team can do, you may want to delegate it. 



Delegating may not be an option for some entrepreneurs, but you must learn how to delegate tasks if that is not your case.

It would help if you focused on what you are best and most effective at doing. And if you can delegate the rest, I strongly suggest you start learning how to do this. 

If you’ve never delegated before, it may be hard to hand your work to someone else to do it. But once you’ve managed how and when to do this, you will find yourself having more time in your schedule for those things you enjoy and are most effective at doing.  



If the task is not urgent, you have another option: defer. 

This doesn’t mean that this goes right to the bottom of the monthly to-do list. Instead, it means you will do it, but later. 

You may run into an email from a client asking for a budget for a future project. This certainly takes more than 2 minutes to finish, but it is also not an urgent thing to do (unless the client sets a deadline, of course).

So if the task is not urgent, but it’s something essential for your business that only you can you, defer it. Focus on what it’s urgent today and plan this for another day of the week when you have more time to finish it.



Last but not least: dump or delete.

When you think about it, things you decide not to do are just as important as those you choose to do. Because if you don’t stop to think about whether what you are doing is adding value to your business, you may end up doing hours of useless work. You could have used hours for things that will improve yourself, your job, and your business.

So next time, think about these questions:

• Is this something I must complete today?
• Is this task adding value to my business or my job?

If the answers to these questions are NO, you should not do it. Instead, delete this task from your to-do list and move on to what will make a difference in your life and your business.

I made the following image to summarize the questions you should ask yourself for every task in your to-do list. Based on your answers, now you can decide which one of the 4 d’s of time management you should implement.


4Ds of time management
The 4 d’s of time management



Some extra advice to improve your time management

Be proactive

One of the best ways to manage your time is by being proactive. This means setting clear goals and implementing a plan that will help you streamline your efforts.

Remember that, if you want to get more done in less time, you need to break down challenging tasks into subtasks that can be completed in small chunks over some time. If a task is too big, break it down into smaller parts or delegate it to others. This way, you’ll feel like you’re making progress on your goals without feeling overwhelmed by them.

Use your time wisely

In order to get more things done, you need to figure out what you will do with your 168 hours. If you don’t know where your time goes, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by how much you have left. But if you take the time to plan and organize your tasks for each week, you will be able to use your time wisely.

Track your time

Also, you need to know how much time you spend on tasks. You can do this by installing a timer app on your phone or computer. This will help you collect data about how much time you spend at work and on activities outside of work.


The 4 d’s of time management: final thoughts

You may not be able to manage time, but you can manage yourself. Implementing the 4 Ds will help you get started by focusing on the things that are most important to you and your personal goals. With a plan, motivation, and a little bit of help from technology, you can manage your own time and get on top of your busy schedule.

I hope that, with this post, you got the big picture about the 4 Ds of time management. It is a straightforward method that you can use at work and a personal level. Sometimes, just one small change in our lives can make a real difference in our results.