Would you like to find out how you can more easily focus on the important people and activities in your life and easily dispense of the rest? If so, you will want to learn about the time management system I learned about when I went to a real estate investment seminar in Dallas this past weekend. You wouldn’t think that this would be the place to learn one of the most simple yet profoundly powerful time management techniques I’ve ever found, but it was.
A speaker named Beth Clifford, a mom and very successful real estate developer, shared this system. She called it the 4 D’s, but I added an extra D based off of what she said. I’m calling it the 5 D Method of Time Management. And here it is:
- Devote: Figure out what’s really important to do and devote an uninterrupted block of time to it. Put out the literal or methaphoric “Do Not Disturb” sign and completely focus on the one important thing.How do you figure out what’s important to do? When you’re dealing with a particular area of your life, ask yourself what one thing you could do that by doing so would make everything else easier or unnecessary? That’s a great question for tasks. At work, that one thing could be doing client calls or writing that one article.In your relationships, you could ask what one thing you could do that by doing so would contribute most to making the relationship more loving and intimate? In your marriage, that one thing could be a date night. With your kids, it could mean spending time playing board games or reading aloud to them.Once you have it figured out, schedule a time for that activity and keep that time sacred. No phone calls, social media, e-mails, other conversations allowed. FOCUS entirely on the task at hand.
- Do It: After you’re done with your Devote Time, there will be myriad other tasks that come to you. The remaining 4 Ds will help you figure out how best to handle these tasks.The first of these is “Do It.” If a task comes to your desk and it could easily be handled in 3 minutes or less, just do it. Don’t wait on it and have it hanging over your head to steal your focus, attention, and brain power.
- Delegate It: If it will take longer than 3 minutes and could or should be done by someone else delegate it. Delegate it to your employee, co-worker, significant other, older child, etc. Let someone else take care of it and then move on to someone else. If you do delegate it, make a note to follow up to make sure it’s done though.
- Defer It: If it can’t be delegated and will take longer than 3 minutes, defer it until you can better focus on it. The beautiful thing about focusing on the one thing in devote time, is that when you’re focused on the most important things you’ll realize that many lesser things never have to be done.
- Dump It: this is for tasks that don’t have to be done at all. Just because someone asks it of you doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Dump the fluff and you’ll find yourself with tons more time!
Monick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom. She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers. She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor. She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms. You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.