Time management skills are increasingly important in a world where people rush headlong from one crisis to another. Add in the effect of social media and addictive computer games that can be accessed from anywhere at any time and it’s no wonder that some people struggle to fit everything into their days.
If you’re wondering how to solve this, why not invoke D to the Power of Four? This quick and simple method makes sure you use your time more effectively by sorting tasks into four categories: delete, delegate, defer and do.
The first category requires learning how to filter through your task list.
Delete irrelevant emails on your inbox. Junk or spam mail deserves to be sent straight to the recycling bin if they’re cluttering up your inbox. For tasks that you still need to accomplish, double check if you still need to complete them. Take them off your to-do list if you don’t.
You should also learn how to say no to certain tasks. Review your existing list before agreeing to take on extra work. Refuse politely in case you aren’t equipped to add more tasks to your current workflow.
If there are tasks that could be taken charge of by someone else, then delegate it. Don’t mistake delegation for running away from your responsibilities. Delegation is an important function of management.
Make sure whomever you delegate the task to have the skill, capacity, ability and time to get it done by the deadline. As a business owner, you will need to learn the art of delegating work to specific team members based on their efficiency level.
Be careful not to turn something you delegate into a boomerang that’s going to hit when you least expect it. The worst pitfall of delegating is having to do double the work when you realise certain tasks have not been done well.
Prioritise. Know that accomplishing certain tasks can be deferred to a later time.
Look through your plan of action for the day and decide which tasks need immediate attention. No matter how much you have on your plate, it is important to deal with the most urgent ones first.
You might have the luxury of securing an extended deadline when you need more time to finish a task than you have immediately available. Determine when the most effective time to return to it but make sure you don’t defer it until it becomes more problematic to deal with.
Finalising the biggest tasks first shines a brilliant light on the end of the tunnel. Use this to help you stay focused and motivated throughout the rest of your work.
If the job is urgent, it’s better to do it immediately.
The most successful entrepreneurs know that starting early helps kick start their day into being more productive. They work on their tasks as soon as possible to be able to do more afterwards.
Be diligent with your work even when you start feeling stuck. It’s easier to polish up work that’s lacking than to force a perfect report in one run. As soon as the first task has been accomplished, move on to the next.
Having more power over your itinerary is a great stepping stone towards managing your business more efficiently. Make sure you incorporate these four D’s into your time management strategy as soon as you start feeling overwhelmed.