The 4D’s To Getting Stuff Done


from guest author helen butler

Staying on track in business can be tough right?

You have this idea of how your day, week, month or year is going to look and you work valiantly toward this vision, checking your goal list constantly to keep you on track and focused, so at the end of the year you can look back and say “Wow, look at that! I achieved so much!!”.

This all sounds amazing – but we all know, in reality, that working toward those goals on a daily basis is tough, particularly if you’re doing the mum juggle with kids, work, and home to manage as well.

On a good day in your biz you sit at your computer and work like a mad woman, ticking so many things off your to-do list that you’d put an event planner to shame. Of course, this can only happen when all the stars align – kids are healthy and entertained somewhere else (ie school or childcare), you’re healthy, you’re partner’s healthy and all is going well in your world.

On a different day in your biz you sit at your computer, all the stars are aligned and you’re on a roll when all of a sudden – BAM!! – chaos reigns down on you like a sudden storm, washing your focus away and turning you into a whirling dervish.

{This of course might happen before you’re even sit down at your computer – and then the whole day’s gone to pot!}

Sound familiar?

Yep, it does for me too.

The great thing is that when life throws you lemons you can turn it into lemonade – if you have the will power and the recipe (aka the strategy) to make it happen.

Follow this recipe on good, bad and in-between days in your biz and you *will* get to the end of the year, look back and know you stayed on the right track for you.

1. Delete Tasks

OK, so I know as a biz woman you feel that any task you set yourself you have to follow through completely, from start to finish … right?

I’m here to tell you that’s complete hogwash! Of course you don’t!

If I counted how many times I said I was going to do something in my business but then decided I shouldn’t do it because it didn’t feel authentic and right and “me”, you would wonder how it is I am a business owner in the firstly place.

I’m not saying to throw the baby out with the bath water.  What I’m saying is there are some tasks you should not do – at all – in your business.

These are tasks that don’t serve you or your business and don’t move you in the right direction – for you. 

Maybe I’ve been in business long enough to know that somethings are right for me and somethings aren’t. But by giving myself permission to completely delete whatever these tasks are that don’t serve me, don’t lift me up, don’t help me *love* my biz, I know I’m doing the right things for me.

If there’s one thing you can use right now to help you delete tasks – learn to say “No”.

Ask yourself: What am I doing in my business that just shouldn’t be there? What can I delete today that isn’t authentic, isn’t “me” and just doesn’t feel right for my biz?

2. Diminish Tasks

How are the systems looking in your business? I mean the day-to-day stuff that you do regularly that either takes you a lot of time because you have to reinvent the wheel every time you do it – or ones that make your day easier, allowing you to get through your mundane tasks and onto the fun stuff!

I love systems but for me they also have to be fluid enough to deal with creative outbursts and support my “I don’t want to feel hemmed in” approach to just about everything.

Setting up good business systems will give you more time to focus on what it is you really want to do in your biz.  Sure setting up systems takes a while (especially if you really don’t know where to start) but once they are set up they will free up so much time you’ll wonder what to do with it all!

Ask yourself – Where do I need to set up systems in my biz? What kind of systems do I need? Who can I ask for help to create the right systems for me?

3. Delegate Tasks

I read a message from a friend on Facebook yesterday saying she spent her public holiday doing her finances. Now this would be all well and good if she was a Bookkeeper and was doing someone else’s books, but she’s not.  She’s an IT gun who should spend her time doing IT gun-type things. The best thing she could do for herself is find a good bookkeeper, delete this arduous and difficult task from her to-do list and give it to someone who loves working with numbers all day.

For many of us the difficulty is working out who to delegate to – and if you’re a solopreneur there isn’t much choice!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t delegate. You just need to know what tasks to delegate and who to delegate to.

When you run a business there are so many areas to stay on top of, including your social media strategy, your product and service offerings, your marketing strategy, your operations strategy – the list goes on. 

Do you really want to do everything in your business – or would you rather focus on the reason you started a business in the first place?

Ask yourself – What am I going to delegate off my to-do list right now (hint: it’s usually the thing you hate doing the most)? Who’s going to do that task for me? Where am I going to find this person? When am I going to hand this task over?

4. Delay Tasks

This strategy alone has saved my sanity many times over. And I have used it already, starting this morning when I sat down at my desk.

This week is pretty well planned for me. I have written down what I wanted to do each day, meetings I had scheduled, projects I needed to work on – everything from work to exercise is written on this list. But as I said at the start of this article things can come from left field and throw us off course – and it’s when this happens that we need to make a quick decision and rethink what we had planned.

This is exactly what I’ve had to do today. I had a huge, personal BAM hit me last night which completely knocked me off course – and this has forced me to relook at my beautiful plan and delay some of the tasks on it so that I can travel and focus on what’s important.

Delay ladies. That’s the key to surviving in business – particularly if you have a family on board. 

Delay doesn’t mean procrastination or self-sabotaging or excuse making.

Delay means – “I can’t do this right now. I am giving myself permission to reschedule this task/project to a better time when I am able to give it my full attention.”

For me this is the biggest sanity saving strategy I use in my business – without it I would be a frazzled mess.

Ask yourself - What is on my to-do list that I can delay because now just isn’t the right time to do it? When am I going to delay it to? (Scheduled it in your planner)

(The 4D’s, Julie Morgenstern, Time Management from the Inside Out, 2004, pp 211-226)

I love the 4D’s. They’re one of the best strategies I know to get on top of your time and to-do list – and just get stuff done! They will literally help you prioritise what’s important in your life and business – and keep you sane.

Make them your mantra if you like – I do!

Owner and Director of Clutter Rescue, Helen Butler is an Accredited Expert Professional Organiser who works with Mums to organise and declutter their space and time. Visit the Clutter Rescue website to sign up for the FREE five-day mini organising course, designed to help you look (and feel) more together, give you more time and an organised space so you never have to grovel for help again (or hire a live in housekeeper).