The 4D Method to revolutionise your to-do list

Do you feel like your weeks slip by in a hectic rush?

Do you often get to the end of another busy day and realise that you’ve not placed a tick on your to-do list?

Do you feel stretched in a number of directions at once and don’t know what to deal with first?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions then don’t worry, you are not alone!

Many of us rush around with far too much on our plates. However, it usually takes a long time for us to realise that this level of action (and pressure) is unsustainable. Before we know it, life has taken on a frenetic quality and we feel like we’re drowning under the responsibilities of running our business.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What if I told you that you could revolutionise your to-do list in just four simple steps?

Use the 4D Method to review your workload and easily organise it to get more done (whilst doing less) and focus on the things that are the most important to you.

It’s the ultimate way to work smarter – not harder!

The 4D Method to revolutionise your to-do list

Just what exactly are the four Ds?:

  • Do it
  • Delegate it
  • Deconstruct it
  • Delete it

These concepts are not difficult to understand; I’m sure you read the above and found yourself thinking, “ah yes, of course!” The difficulty lies in putting these four things into practice throughout your week.

Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

How the 4D Method be used effectively to save time and help you be more productive in and outside of work?

#1: Do it

Tasks that fall into the ‘Do It’ category are ones that you have identified as a priority, are quick to achieve or have an upcoming deadline.

 – What marks something out as a priority?

Well, these are pieces of work that are business essential. It could be a client project you are working on or the phone call you need to make to welcome a new client. Whatever you need to do to get you one step closer to your business goals – that only you can do.

– The second element to consider here is the timescale.

If the deadline is around the corner, then it’s definitely something you need to knock off your list quick sharp.

– Lastly, this particular task may be something that is a very quick win.

Need to call to make a hair appointment? Is there an email that needs an immediate response? An item that takes less than 15 minutes can be quickly dealt with if you allocate the time in your day to blitz through those short, but important tasks.

As the old saying goes, “there is no time like the present”. If it’s something that you can do then it’s time to get it done. No excuses.


#2: Delegate it

It’s unlikely we will have the skills and knowledge to comfortably tackle every aspect of our business. From legal, financial and HR to design, marketing and customer support – there are various elements to every business that may require you to call in specialist help.

For example, you may be able to learn the basics of accounting and pull together a statement of accounts, profit and loss and all the other reports you require – or you could save yourself the headache by enlisting an account.

There’s also nothing stopping you from teaching yourself how to design your website – or you could save yourself many hours of grappling with HTML and hire a web developer who can deftly bring your vision to life.

In all cases where you struggle with a lack of knowledge or time, there is no shame in calling in some support. Someone else who lives and breathes their skill is going to lift a huge weight off your mind as you move onto something else.

Read: the 50+ ways a virtual assistant can help your business

Why hiring a freelancer will skyrocket your productivity.

#3 Deconstruct it

No, I’m not talking about a fancy burger without a bun… Deconstructing a task means to simplify something that’s been sat on your to-do list forever that’s frankly so vague, gigantic, or both, that you never seem to get around to it.

You know the ones I mean. Those half-formed, overarching goals that are too eye-wateringly massive to even comprehend – so you don’t start.

The things that sit there on the page, week after week, nagging at you because you need to do them but you haven’t had the energy.

If you can’t delegate it (and you can’t delete it), then it’s time to deconstruct.

Break that massive task down into the small steps you need to take until it’s done. It may seem laborious at first to write down every step, but breaking it down means you can start to work through it in bite-sized chunks – giving yourself the time in your diary to complete each one.

Believe me, that huge wedge of a task that’s too off-putting contemplate will remain just that. Off-putting. It’s time to deconstruct it into more manageable pieces so you can slot them into your week and soon that monstrous project will be a thing of the past.


#4: Delete it

A long to-do list may be satisfying to some, but to others it is a source of stress and dread. In any case, what’s the point of writing a list that’s as long as your arm if half of it remains undone?

It’s time to take a long hard look at the things that are creeping onto your to-do list.

Review each one and ask yourself if it’s really a priority, or if it’s something that you think you should be doing but actually have zero desire to go through with.

What are the tasks that have been lurking at the bottom of the page for weeks?

What are the vague, overly general and frankly too ambitious things that you, strangely, never seem to get around to?

What are the things you see other business owners doing on social media that you feel you should be doing – if only you had 48 hours in a day to fit everything in?

Do you have to do these things?

Are they taking you one step closer to your business goals, or are they just things you do to fill up your time to trick yourself into feeling busy?

Review, review and review some more. If this task brings you no joy and does not make business sense then why are you doing?

It’s time to delete the things that give you zero or very little return of your investment. Spend your time – and money – more wisely elsewhere and reap those rewards.

Also check out: how to work smarter, not harder

The 6 productivity myths we’re all guilty of making.

It’s time to put the 4D Method into practice and conquer your to-do list

Review your to-do list with a critical eye and remember the 4D Method:

  • Delete it: what is unnecessary?
  • Delegate it: what are the important tasks that someone else can do for you?
  • Deconstruct it: break down off-putting tasks into simple steps.

And finally, what’s left on your to-do list that is in your zone of genius that you can do TODAY?


I’d love to know how you get on. Let me know what you think of the 4D Method by leaving me a comment.

Or get in touch to see how I can help. You can send me an email to hello@smashyourtodolist.com


4D Method to revolutionise your to-do list

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