This simple, 4 step process will help you stay on top of things and feel better about yourself what ever the outcome.
Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by endless to do lists and a tray full of things to sort out? If the answer to this question is, yes, join the club! Most of us have been there!
I want to give you a quick 4-step process to help you get more organised and, more importantly, feel better about yourself whatever the outcome.
The process has eveolved from the combination of things I’ve learned over the years and the many books. For instance, Life Leverage by Rob Moore and Getting Things Done by renowned expert and bestselling author David Allen.
David Allen’s book is great, well I say great, but I haven’t actually read it! I’ve read bits and pieces and I think it will be a dipper rather than a page turner. It will, however, look great on my bookshelf and people will think that I must be super organised!
My advice to David is, if you write in the book aimed at people who are overwhelmed and can’t get things done,there is no point in writing a 300 page, small print book, with no photos because no one will ever finish let alone someone who is disorganised! How will they ever get round to it? Your book will end up in that pile of unread books and things to do and cause them more stress!
Before I start, over the years I have observed hundreds of people, many of whom I have employed in my businesses, and I have come to the conclusion that there are two types:
Organised tidy desk person (OTDP)
Disorganised messy desk person (DMDP)
Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s the way it is.
Incidentally, I have a messy desk. I really do envy those OTDPs who can breeze into work on time and looking fresh and just eat admin, get everything done and then leave the office with a completely tidy desk, other than a photo of their loved one and their favourite personally washed clean mug! Bang on leaving time, they smile and wave goodbye to everyone, pick up their gym bag and walk out of the office knowing they have finished the jobs they set out to finish and some more.
Invariably, I have found that if you want to employ someone in an admin or an office based role you better make sure they are an OTDP.
When it comes to getting things done, how do you feel about things matters more than you imagine.
If you are already stressed about a task or hate doing that task, the chances of you getting on with it are slim. Invariably, you will leave until the eleventh hour and do it badly or miss the deadline altogether.
There must be a better way of going through life than being stressed all the time - becasue there will ALWAYS be things to do, problems, grass growing under your feet and so on.
Have you read the book, 1000 places to see before you die? How on earth can you say 1000 places all over the world? It might well be called 1000 places you probably won’t see before you die, so get over it! I started reading that book a few years ago and at first it was great. There I was, highlighting the places I had already seen and would be visiting in the near future. But then it started to become a little overwhelming. How was I going to get to all of these countries in the time I had available? Even if 5 years off and went backpacking around the world I never get to all the places. Most people only have one or two main holidays a year where they travel abroad, so that's about 80 places you might get to in a forty year working life!
Back to getting things done and feeling good regardless. Here are my 4 Ds:
- Do it
- Delegate it
- Defer it
- Ditch it
1. Do it
Sometimes you’ve just got to knuckle down, lock yourself away, turn off the TV and get it done! Sorry, but nothing moves without action, so you may need disciplin or a kick up the arse from someone or yourself.
Things stop us getting things done are fear and not knowing how to do them.
Fear is easy to overcome - just get started.
Not knowing how it's done is easy to overcome. There is a very simple way to learn how to do almost anything nowadays - Google it. You can now google almost any task on earth and quickly find out how to perform even the most technical things in minutes. When a friend of mine was locked out of her Porsche Boxster because the battery had gone flat. We got the door open and then realised that the boot lever was electronic and needed battery power! The battery was in the boot and the boot lever needed a full battery.
After searching the manual in vain, I googled it and within minutes I was watching a video of how to get the boot open with a flat battery. It worked!
If you really can’t get things done you might need some help or you might need to go to step two
2. Delegate it
Delegation sounds obvious, but so many people fail to master it or think they are the only ones who can do the job right.
You have to learn to let go, recognise your strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks you don't like doing or don't do very well.
I don’t like admin and things like tax returns and forms. This is why I delegate it to a PA, accountant or bookkeeper.
I also get no fun out of cleaning and mowing the lawn, so I hire people at £10 an hour so I can either do things I enjoy doing or tasks that will earn me more than £10 per hour.
You can also delegate thousands of tasks using the millions of freelancers listed sites such as Upwork.
If it’s a job you cannot delegate you may need to go to step three.
3. Defer it
Deferring something will not cause the stress by not doing it and worrying about why you have not done it.
In other words, you’re making a deal with yourself to say, I can’t do this right now, but I will do it at a future date. Pop it in your calendar. Stress over.
It’s ok to have a “someday Isle” list of things you may or may not do.
If you can’t do it, delegate it or defer it you know what comes next.
4. Ditch it!
This can be the most liberating step at all, but I would suggest you go through the first three steps before you start throwing everything away!
Ditching it can mean that you just tell yourself that you’re not going to do a certain task and you’re not bothered about it. You could still go back to in the future, but in the meantime it’s not weighing on your mind.
At the end of the day you can lower the high standards of efficiency you mentally set for yourself in many areas of your life. It's fine to have a messy garage or unpacked boxes from the last move. Don’t worry about it.
When I ran a business, I would have a good clear out of old papers every once in a while. It was amazing to find that many of the things that hadn't been done or responded to months back had not made any difference to my life. So many seemingly important things to do, which I thought were problems and caused me stress and worry at the time over time actually 'went away' by themsleves. I could have ditched those things at the time and never had to worry bout them.
I'm not suggesting that you ignore problems, but do apply the 4 D process to them.
Mark Twain once said something like, I’ve had many problems in my life, but most of them never happened.
Check out my Podcast version, "The 4 D’s Of Getting Things Done And Feeling Better " from Money Tips Daily by Charles Kelly, former IFA and author of on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/charles-kelly/episodes/The-4-Ds-Of-Getting-Things-Done-And-Feeling-Better-e1mrtf