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The 4 Ds of Time Management

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What are the 4 Ds of time management?

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Definition of the 4 Ds of time management

The 4 Ds of time management are four strategies designed to help project managers make quick decisions on which tasks to act on now, later, or never.

Product managers are constantly bombarded with dozens of tasks. Since time is limited, efficiency depends on their ability to prioritize. The 4 Ds — delete, delegate, defer and do — make it easier for product managers to discern what tasks truly matter. Put simply, the 4 Ds of time management can streamline the decision-making process and increase productivity by allocating resources strategically. 

How do product managers use the 4 Ds of time management technique?

Productivity starts with a well-organized schedule. The 4 Ds of time management strategy helps product managers schedule, postpone, or discard tasks by placing them in four categories: delete, delegate, defer, and do. 

“Delete” encourages product managers to learn to say “no” and carefully filter their to-do list. Product managers should delete clutter work — such as junk mails and non-vital meetings — to make room for core matters.

“Delegate” should include tasks that don’t require the specific know-how of a product manager. Reassigning work is one of the most efficient strategies of time management, as long as the new person-in-charge has the required skills to fulfill the requirement. 

“Defer” can be used by product managers to postpone tasks that are not-time sensitive. Whether it’s a new request or a project with an extended deadline, work that can be postponed in favor of immediate priorities should be. 

“Do” is as straightforward as it gets. Product managers need to start working on these tasks immediately and focus their attention on one at a time until they get them done.

General FAQ

What are the 4 Ds of time management?
The 4 Ds of time management are four categories — delete, delegate, defer and do — that help product managers prioritize tasks and increase productivity.
Who created the 4 Ds of time management?
The 4 Ds of time management process was initially outlined in the book *The Power of Focus* written by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt. They propose this approach to separate fake-urgent tasks from highly-important ones and regain time control.
How can the 4 Ds of time management help product teams?
With an ever-growing list of tasks, product teams need to cut through the clutter and prioritize. The 4 Ds of time management helps them do exactly that. By categorizing tasks into four main categories, product teams will increase productivity and ease their time management struggles.

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