Author: Laurence Stitt CPA BBus GradDipMgt
Director Convergenius Pty Ltd
In my formative years as a manager I was privileged to have worked for two CEOs who taught me some valuable skills. Both of these CEOs were impressively organised. When I walked into their office I was always amazed by how well organised and tidy everything was. There would only be a few files on their desk at any one time. Being of an inquisitive nature and hungry to learn I asked how they managed to be so organised. I received the same answer from both of them.
I put everything in boxes. When I finish with one task or get as far as I can I put all the information back in the box and close the lid. When I need to work on that task again I grab the box and open the lid.
They were talking both figuratively and literally. I took that advice on board and have developed my own system of “boxes” by using portfolio files. The concept of boxes has helped me be organised but it did not help me to prioritise my work. Along came the 4Ds.
I do not recall where or when I learnt this technique but it has stuck with me.
The 4Ds is a simple method of prioritising tasks. The biggest challenge is to actually take time to sit down and write the initial list. Yes it is. The 4Ds can be applied to both tasks and projects.
- The task is both important and can only be done by you, deal with it immediately.
- Do the task and get it off your list, so you do not waste time deciding if you should start or not.
- Frees you up for other projects after the task is done.
- The task can or should be dealt with by one of your team members. Don’t forget to set a deadline for them.
- Delegating frees you up to focus on the more important tasks.
- Your team members are busy and have clear priorities and deadlines.
- Tasks you deem unimportant.
- Delete instead of adding them to an increasing to-do list.
- Deleting tasks keeps the list manageable and you can dedicate your time to more important matters.
- If you feel you cannot delete it then delay it. Do not waste time trying to decide.
- If you cannot Do It, Delegate It or Dump It then the only option is to Delay It.
- Schedule a reminder (at least weekly) to review these tasks and determine if you can move it to one of the other categories.
- Delaying non-urgent tasks alleviates the pressure to get it done, and you can focus on important tasks first.
Putting tasks in boxes and setting priorities is a visual method of identifying your workload. At Convergenius we have taken the same approach with rsured™ by presenting critical information in boxes with the ability to drill down to the detail. This can be seen in the image above. This allows you to be informed, in touch and in control of your business. Contact me today to discuss how rsured™ can help you prioritise tasks to increase your productivity.