Essential Skills | A productivity process that works

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We all use different tools these days to try and manage and organise our extremely busy lives. No matter whether you use a pen and paper, a computer or your new smartphone to help you prioritise the flood of information we all encounter each day, we all need to have a process that underlies the tools that we use.  Without a process to fall back on to show us the way, no tool is as effective as it could be.

As with the tools we choose though, there are a multitude of different processes and ideas out there about how to manage our days, how to get the things that we need to get done done.  Today I want to share with you a process, a system that I find extremely useful.  I like it primarily because it is simple, simple to understand and simple to use. It is called “The 4D’s.”

The idea behind the 4D’s is to attempt to simplify the way in which we deal with anything that comes across our desk, be it electronic, paper or in some other medium.  People tend to get caught with trying to decide what to do with something, from what seems like a myriad of different choices.  The 4D’s principle says that really there are only 4 choices you can make about anything that comes across your desk.  So what are the 4D’s?

  1. DO IT

How do they work, well, whenever something hits your desk you simply apply the formula to deal with it. If it is something that you can do straight away (and it is appropriate for you to do it straight away) then get it out of the way then and there.  DO IT, should also be seen to including filing, if something needs to be filed do it straight away so that it doesn’t begin to clutter up your desk or your inbox. 

If it is a job that you needs to be handed on or shared with other people then delegate it quickly using whatever process you have in place for this.  If it is rubbish then simply delete it or dump it in the bin. (and don’t forget to empty the bin/deleted items regularly either).  If you can’t do any of the first three you need to make a decision about it, you need to decide when you are going to get a chance to start on it. Once you have made that decision then you need to utilise whatever tool you are using to track and remind you of the decision that you have made.

The real trick to this like any process is to apply it every day.

For more information on how to apply the 4D’s to your day  you can contact Priority Management.


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