Our time is so valuable yet we are often guilty of treating it as something that will be never ending. In fact, the Greek Philisopher, Theophrastus, said that ‘Our costliest expenditure is our time’. Well 2,300 years later things haven’t changed.
It is true to say that we cannot manage time but we do have the ability to manage how we use it. Over the last few years I have found the use of the 5 Ds invaluable when increasing my productivity as pressure on my time has inevitably increased.
The 5 Ds are within the questions a person needs to ask themselves before carrying out a task, even when the pressure on their time is not significant.
The first question involves whether a task can be;
Many things we are asked to do on closer examination do not contribute to the organisations goals or our own. We may even realise that by dropping some things there are no consequences. However, even where there are consequences we may decide that we are happy to deal with them.
The next D is;
Does the entire task need to be completed or can just some of the key elements being delivered be accepted as sufficient? Many functions may have historically involved a number of parts but a simple review may highlight some elements are no longer necessary.
We come to our third D,
Can a task be scheduled for a later date? We often get tempted to attribute urgency to some tasks because the taskmaster indicates that immediate completion is essential. However, a simple line of questioning can reveal that many urgent matters can wait a little longer than first implied. In fact, some tasks are easier to complete at a later point due to incomplete supporting information.
Another consideration is the possibility of;
Three excellent questions to ask and answer are: Is this something someone else should do? Is this something someone else could do? Is this a good use of your time? The first question helps you think about whether you are concerning your already busy self with tasks that belong to someone else. The second question helps you consider whether you could help a colleague personally and professionally develop. The third question is all about whether your organisation is expecting you to undertake a task at that level when they pay your salary.
Of course, after moving through the previous 4 Ds you will often come to the conclusion that a specific task or function should not be dropped, diminished, delayed or delegated elsewhere. If so, it simply requires that you just go ahead and
Would you like to take the course? – Effective Time Management
Written by Business Development Director, Oliver Henry.