Since time never stops, it can be hard to monitor and control. Once the time has slipped away, you can never get it back. For a company, losing time usually means losing money. But how can you stop losing your company’s money because of lost time?
The trick is to organize your time and what you have to do more effectively so that you can get more done each day. Better time management can have many benefits – from lower stress levels to better productivity, which could result in better business results.
Different time management techniques work for different people. The key is to find the one that works for your specific needs and schedule.
One of the easiest ways to get started with time management is to try the 4Ds of time management.
What Are the 4Ds of Time Management?
The 4Ds of time management is a technique that encourages you to, before acting on requests, first filter that request through the 4Ds. The 4Ds are:
And we’ll explore all of them in more detail below.
Delete is also known as "drop", but the premise is the same. First, you should discard all the unnecessary and unimportant professional and personal obligations. At first, you may feel anxious about not committing to something. However, you do not have to drop everything from your life.
All you have to do is take some time to figure out what is important for your personal and professional life and what is wasting your time and then remove those obligations that are just wasting your time.
If there is something on your schedule that has to be done but is a waste of your time, then you need to assign that task to someone else.
For example, if you have to write some code and you know how, but that time you would spend on coding could be used for a more pressing matter, you should delegate that task to someone on your team.
If you have a task that you have to do and only you can do that task but do not have the time to do, you should defer that task to when you have more time. By deferring tasks to a later date, you can free up time for those tasks that you have to do right away. Figuring out what can be put off for later can be though, especially when everything you do seems to be urgent or important, at least from your perspective.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out what’s the priority on your task list, take it to your team. Have an open discussion about priorities and defer the tasks afterwards.
The fourth and the final D of the 4Ds of time management is Do. It refers to any tasks that can be done quickly, in a couple of minutes. Make sure you do not let those tasks pile up, just do them. The "do" also refers to the tasks you have filtered through the previous 3Ds – to those tasks that are important, that you cannot delegate to anyone else and that you need to do right away.
How to Get the Most out of the 4Ds of Time Management?
To get the most out of the 4Ds of time management, you first need to see exactly how are you spending your time – how much time certain tasks take and how much of your time are you wasting. By doing this, you will be able to get the most out of the 4Ds of time management technique. You can log your time manually, by writing down your activities or you can use a time software for PC, like Insightful.
The advantage of using time software for PC instead of writing down your activities is that the process is almost fully automatic and autonomous. All you need to do is type out the task that you are doing and the time software for PC will do the rest. In addition to making the time tracking process easier, Insightful can also tell you how exactly you are spending your time by showing you which software and websites you are using the most and whether or not the software and websites you are using are making you productive or helping you procrastinate.
After you understand how you spend your time and where the 4Ds fit into your life, you will be well on your way to mastering time management. By mastering your time, you will be able to achieve much more in less time.
The 4Ds of time management is a simple, yet powerful time management technique that only requires you to take a harder look at how you spend your time and if your tasks can be dropped, delegated to someone else, scheduled to a later date, or need to be done right away.
By knowing exactly what tasks you need to work on, you will not have to be anxious about your work anymore. Without feeling overwhelmed by your work, your focus, efficiency, and productivity are likely to improve as well.