4 Ways to Get Better at Time Management

Picture of by Ros Jones

by Ros Jones

Business coach and author

Do you find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? Or feeling like you’re meeting yourself coming back? Time management is one of the biggest challenges for business owners and is the biggest barrier to achieving the elusive work/life balance.

In this article, I’m sharing a very simple tool to get better at time management that I call ‘The 4 Ds’. You may have heard it before, but I urge you to read on because the chances are you know about it but are not implementing it, otherwise time management would not be such a big issue.

The 4 Ds


  1. DO

The first of The 4 Ds is to get on and do the most important tasks on your list. These may be the things you keep putting off because you don’t really want to do them. Maybe it’s a phone call you have to make, a conversation you need to have, or a cash flow forecast you have to look at.

Your most important tasks have to be done first. The best way to make sure this happens is to schedule them into your diary – and stick to that diary.


Next, you’ll find through analysis of what you do each day that there are some things you need to stop doing – immediately.

These will be things that hold you back from doing the most important tasks. Maybe you’re prone to procrastination, spending too much time scrolling mindlessly through social media for example, or reacting to incoming emails and other distractions.

You need to build your self-awareness to realise you’re doing these kinds of activities and use self-discipline to stop doing them.


The third D is delegation. This is something many business owners struggle with, especially those who used to be sole traders and have grown their business from there. It’s common to believe that there’s no one who can do a job to the standard that you can or that it’s just easier and quicker to do it yourself. But as your business grows it’s essential that you get good at delegation. Doing everything yourself is just not sustainable.

You can choose to outsource particular tasks or train a member of your team. The most important thing with delegation is to systemise the task, document it and train the individual/s to whom you’re delegating.

The ultimate aim for many business owners is to delegate just about every task so that they can reap the rewards of their hard work and risk-taking and leave the running of the business to the team.

  1. DELAY

The final D stands for delay. This is when a task is not a priority so doesn’t have to be done now. It can be delayed.

Tasks that you’ll want to delay will probably be the tasks you’re prone to do in place of the top-priority tasks that you deliberately avoid doing (see 1 above).

You may be familiar with the rocks, pebbles, and sand analogy. This is where you’re asked to fill a container with a finite space with a pile of rocks, pebbles, and sand. The only way you can achieve this is to put the rocks in first, ie complete the top-priority tasks first. Next, in go the pebbles, the less important tasks that you need to delay doing in favour of the rocks. Finally, you can sprinkle in the sand so that it trickles into the spaces left between the rocks and the pebbles. These are the small tasks you can complete every time you get a 5 or 10-minute gap in the day.

By delaying the lesser priority tasks in favour of the high priority tasks (that you often put off doing) you’ll fill the metaphorical container quicker and be so much more productive.

In Summary


To summarise, ‘The 4 Ds’ stand for doing the high-priority tasks first, deleting stuff that’s just wasting your time, delegating low-value, routine tasks to someone else, and delaying the least-priority tasks until the top-priority tasks are completed.

Go ahead and start implementing this time management tool today and see how much time you save yourself. Let me know how you get on!


Scroll to Top