Whenever your time is being eaten up by a stack of e-mails, a stack of paper, a stack of voice mail messages, or just stacks and stacks of work, the 5 Ds work especially well. You will drastically cut the time you need to get through the stack, and you can then get to the other high-impact activities that make the best use of your time.
The 5 Ds stand for:
Do It. Stop pushing around a task and do it now. Use this for any task that takes fifteen minutes or less.
Delete It. There are some things that do not require your response. Just because someone sent you the message/document/suggestion doesn’t mean you have to reply. If an item doesn’t advance a relationship or achieve an important goal, get rid of it.
Delegate It. As often as possible, pass a task on to someone else who can handle the job. They don’t have to do it better than you; they don’t even have to do it as quickly. They probably won’t. But unless it’s a top priority or specific result that you and only you can deliver, you’re not the right person to do it. Pass it on.
Decide On It. No more moving items from one stack to another, telling yourself, “I’ll get back to that.” Will you attend the meeting or won’t you? Will you agree to that request or won’t you? Make a decision. Move on.
Date It. Choose when you will give big-ticket items your undivided time and attention. Figure out how much time you need and block it out in your schedule. You can forget about it until then.
The 5 Ds will save you time, and potentially a lot of it. Before you fill up that time with more meaningless tasks, give some thought to the most powerful way you can use the time you save.