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What is the 4-D framework for Time Management?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 10590 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Leadership & Management, General, Project Management


Competing demands on our time ensure one constant; we rarely have enough time to complete everything we would like to do.  Time management skills are critical to our success and productivity. The 4-D framework is a simple, yet effective, technique for determining how to react to requests on our time. 

The 4 Ds are: Do, Defer, Delegate, and Drop (Delete).  It can often be helpful to approach the framework in the reverse order listed to whittle down the list of requests.

Drop/Delete: Most request nowadays come to us through email.  But whether it's email or a list of "To-Dos", a quick first pass through the list usually reveals a fair amount of requests that can be dropped or deleted immediately for any number of reasons. By trimming down the list to a more reasonable size we can give appropriate attention to prioritizing other requests.

Delegate: Some requests are better completed by someone else. Many times requests are made of the wrong person and there was someone more appropriate to do the task. If the work should be assigned elsewhere act quickly to move it off your plate. If you are in a management role, delegating lower level tasks to those who report to you means you can focus on the more difficult tasks that require your attention.   

Defer: Requests and tasks are always being prioritized and re-prioritized. Some requests don't have to be completely immediately. This is not to say we should be irresponsible when putting things off, but many times deferring tasks that aren't an immediate priority is prudent. Due to the ever changing nature of fast pace work environments, many tasks become obsolete before it becomes time to complete them. 

Do: The remaining tasks are those that we decide need to be done and done quickly.  Prioritize this list.  Then try to complete one before moving on to another. Having too many tasks in a partial state of completion lowers work efficiency.

Chris Adams
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