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« Outraged by Slate.com on world refugee dayبلا توت، بلا بطيخ »

Take back your life with 4D's

  • By: Qwaider

  • On:Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:27:42 AM
  • In:Thoughts
  • Viewed: (5493) times

    • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
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    Rated 4.4/5 stars (200 votes cast)

    If you're like me, you get bombarded by work related mail all day. On a good day, I get around 250 mails per day. On a bad day (where I need to put out some fires) that number may climb to over 600. You can imagine of course how long those would take to go through. If every email takes 1 minute of your time (read, take action close and maybe delete) that 10 hours straight of just Email. Thankfully, I took a time management class today. And it shows how to deal exactly with these issues. Using an amazing system called simply: The 4 D's (Four Dees)

    This system has been over 20 years in development, and has evolved tremendously during this time

    In addition to many other techniques (like establishing trends on how you want people to communicate with you. Email, phone, knock on your door... etc) The section deals with handling the huge amount of mail that people get in the corporate world

    If you think of how many collection bins you have for information, You will be amazed. You have your Email, you get items through phone, then the regular mail, managers you meet in the hallway and assign work items to you. Then Voice mail. SMS 2 or 3 home emails. Maybe also a blog, It's not uncommon for people to have over 20 different "collection bins" that result in a huge amount of information that needs to be assimilated and action taken depending on the content.

    The Four D's are as follows, when you get an Email:

    1. Delete it
    2. Do it (if it takes you 2 minutes or less)
    3. Delegate it (to your assistant, other team member, your employee ...etc)
    4. Defer it (that is, get back to it later on)

    1) Delete it:

    According to the training. More than 50% of all the mails you get are informational and the information is stored somewhere else. Or doesn't mean anything that is it doesn't assist you to be more efficient and successful in your job. Therefore deleting it has no business impact

    2) Do it:

    If you can't delete it, think about the content, and answer 2 important questions. (a) What action is needed regarding this mail? and (b) Then ask yourself can you do it in 2 minutes or less?. If you can then don't wait, "Do it" immediately and get it off your plate. The system shows that around 30% of all your mail can be taken care of in 2 minutes or less. That's huge.

    3) Delegate it:

    If you find that deleting it is not an option. And the next action you need to take is more than 2 minutes. Ask yourself if you can delegate it (that is, can someone else do the job to your satisfaction?) Again the system statistics show that around 10% of all mail can be delegated successfully and this would help you get back valuable time to help you be more efficient at your job.

    4) Defer it:

    Chances are, the remaining 10% of you mail you can't Delete, Do or Delegate. Therefore you need to schedule time to do it. Or you need to think of the next action you need to take. Maybe this next action requires you to do 40 or 50 hours of research. This means You will need to Defer it. You will need to convert it into a Task (You can do this in Outlook) and Later on break that task into action items. Which you do one by one top to bottom. Don't cherry pick. Start with the highest priority items first. Get them out of the way, then continue with the list of action items one by one till your done with the task.

    Remember that you will need to allocate time based on your schedule. If every task you get you organize in this way, you will be able to negotiate better deadlines with your management. You also will have the ability to say, "Yes, And this means......." and discuss what might be affected by accepting that task. Like jeopordizing other deadlines.

    Being organized is a personal decision. Its up to you to define how to spend your time. But the fact of the matter in the business world. The more organized you are. The more you get done and the more work-life-balance you will have. You'll be meeting or exceeding all your goals without sacrificing personal time, Time with the family, time you need to work on your personal career development and personal enhancements

    Take back your life, and start using the 4 D's. I know I am going to do every effort to stick to them and see how things turn out for the next year

     

    Other Memories Documented on June 21
    « Outraged by Slate.com on world refugee dayبلا توت، بلا بطيخ »

    Memories....

    • #1
    • dozz
    • Windows Internet Explorer
    • Said
    • On: 6/21/2006 11:41:13 AM
    the 4D's are my cousins!
    Dalia,Diala,Dima,and Dana..:p
    LOL
    I guess you should write an article about how fond your Aunt and Uncle are of the letter "D" :)
    In your case, you should name the article, take away your life with 4D's  LOL

    However, they have nice names :)

    That's really useful information; I do get a lot of emails every day! Not in the hundreds as you do maybe on a bad day I would get 150 emails.but still usfull tips

    A nice tip I have learned that helps A LOT! It's to have naming system for emails in your firm, for example a title would be FUR: Audit Preparation Measures. Which for me reads For Urgent Response about the Audit ……etc, now you could have 4 or 5 codes that would let you know do you really need to even open the email; it could be a stupid FYI about something that is happening on another project that you're not interested in or does not affect your life. so you shoud know ahead if you even need to open the email or not, Or if it's not urgent or if it does not require action.

    Hope this helps.
    That is awesome Tamara. And Yes, I was going to talk about that next. Naming conventions. Tips on writing effective emails. What to include, what NOT to include and how it should the layout be. Additionally ways to categorize your emails.
    Thank you very much for the tip (which we already use) But I hope someone would read it and make the best of it
    • #5
    • Dave
    • Windows Internet Explorer
    • Said
    • On: 6/21/2006 1:56:04 PM
    If I received over 200 e-mails a day, I would begin re-evaluating my job.  I just don't want to be that connected.

    I can hear it now..."What do you do all day?"  "I answer e-mail."
    hehe, yah, the 4Ds. It does take 20 years to think of this complicated solution system :-) If I've learned something from my PM days, it's spotting BS, and I've learned that when somebody claims to ahve spent "20 years" coming up with a system as simple as the 4Ds, then he's BSing.

    4Ds didn't help me, because I ended up spending most of my time creating and maintaining priority lists.

    Anyways, I've also noticed that different solutions work for different people, and there's no ultimate-solution for everybody.

    The solution I liked the most was this:
    1- Keep my inbox close to empty - so that I can notice any important new e-mails. (nothing gets burried in old e-mails)
    2- All the "defer" e-mails move them to a folder called "Todo_inbox".

    Usually, I would have Outlook on the Todo_inbox. I flip to my actual inbox just to empty it.

    anyways, as I said, just look for something that works for yourself. I personally hate Outlook tasks.

    Muhammad, 4D's didn't take them 20 years :) sorry for the confusion. (outlook didn't even exist back then)
    But it's rather the system of handling your objectives. Increasing your productivity. Making the best out of your time
    I've taken the old call you took. And I too ended up spending more time in maintenance than I liked. So I ended up back to my mail rules and scripts to better classify mails based on their weight (new concept). Weight is a way to set a priority of an email based on:
    1) Who sends it
    2) The priority of the mail
    3) Am I on the TO list
    4) Does it include "Action, 911, 411, FYI" in the subject
    5) Is it flagged
    6) Does it have a due date
    7) What group is it sent to?

    Based on these my mail has being neatly sorted in a bunch of folders. Unfortunately this is not for the faint hearted. And even though it worked for a while. I became too dependant on the system. I really want to give this new system (not only 4D's) a chance and see if it's worth it or not
    hey..that means if one would like to send you email you would never get to read it among hundreds of mail specialy if you don't know him!!
    heeeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    this is as much as it gets for me:)
    cause my specialities is way far from all that mail that i recieve 20 emails..maximum..
    why bother comment ?!
    ba7eb adeef;)
    deefee deefee ... wala yhemmek ... howweh el kalam bifloos?
    You too can have your Memories Documented

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