You know the stressful, frustrating feeling of having too much on your plate. Next time you’ve got too much to handle, try the Four D’s method: delete, defer, delegate or diminish one of your priorities.
Photo by Phil and Pam Gradwell (to be)
Product manager Jackie Bavaro makes this suggestion over at Asana. To better control your time, consider any of these four options next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Delete: Sometimes, you just have to say no to certain tasks. Of course, if someone gave you a responsibility, you want to let them know why it might not be the best use of your time. For example, I once had a client who asked me to send interview transcripts for a video I was producing and editing. They didn’t use the transcripts for anything, and I didn’t think much of it at the beginning of the project. But after a while, I realised just how time consuming and pointless it was. All it took to delete this task was letting the client know.
- Defer: Maybe you don’t have time now, but you will later. If so, deferring the task might be the best option. Just make sure to set a reminder to follow up on it.
- Delegate: Can someone else take on this task? If so, it might be best to delegate. Bavaro suggests handing over the responsibility completely: “Now the teammate you delegated to can own both the ‘boring’ and cool parts of the project, and can take pride in seeing it through to completion.”
- Diminish: Maybe you can find ways to reduce the amount of time you spend on the task. Can you reduce the scope and tackle the most important parts of the project? Going back to my delete example, I actually asked the client first if I could only send him transcripts of what I used in the video. I tried to offer diminishing the task; luckily, he let me delete it.
Obviously, these aren’t options we didn’t already know existed. But in the heat of the moment, it’s an easy way to reference everything you can do to move something off of your plate.
For more tips, check out Bavaro’s full post.