The 4 D’s of Prioritisation
For club managers, prioritisation and time management skills are important aspects of working in an environment where you can find yourself switching from one urgent task or crisis to another. And given clubs are such busy settings, with a lot of ‘bodies in motion’, it’s no wonder that one of the most often asked questions is “How do I fit everything into my day?”
Practising the 4 D’s of prioritisation is a great way to help you to manage your time more effectively and efficiently. It is a process that starts by categorising your tasks into four areas – Do It Now, Do it Later, Dump it and Delegate it.
Do it Now
This is sometimes referred to as the one-touch rule – if a task can be completed immediately and quickly, then complete it! I also like to call it the Nike rule – Just Do It!
However, remember you have other options. It may be better to do it later (defer it); dump it (delete it or not do it at all); or delegate it (pass it on to someone else). Consider whether the task is important to do; if you should do it; and if you have the time to do it properly. If so, then get it done.
The natural tendency as a club manager is to focus on the ‘big ticket’ items. After all, as a manager, these are the tasks you are expected to tackle. However, this can be counter-productive and unsustainable and the ‘Do It Now’ principle promotes an all-encompassing approach utilising the following techniques.
Handle the little things that reduce concentration and cause anxiety, like the clutter on your desk and the incomplete jobs. Whilst, these tasks may not be considered high-priority or ‘big-ticket’ they can be worthwhile doing. By doing the quick and dirty tasks immediately you can reduce stress. The crises in our lives are often the result of not handling the little things or not reacting to a niggling feeling that something is wrong. Ignore a little toothache and you wind up with a root canal!
Another technique is to handle the worst things first. We create more stress and anxiety, and waste more time and energy, over the things we least like to do so why not just do them?
When things feel overwhelming, break the task into smaller steps and then start. Like the old adage says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
The other advantage of completing a task ‘then and there’ is you avoid wasting time having to refocus on a task previously started. Each time you start a task or pick it up again, it takes time to think through what needs to be done. If you don’t complete the task then you need to spend time to calibrate your thinking when you get around to finishing it off.
Do It Later
Some things can wait! There might be a better time in the day to do it (e.g. reading a club management journal as a break from a project), things that are waiting on others input (e.g. clarity on the club’s marketing plan before you get too far down the track) or things that are just not as important as other things on your list (e.g. having that catch-up coffee with your CEO can wait until Monday).
Maybe a task is not a current high priority or can’t be done quickly and as such, it can be deferred. Sometimes tasks that are put into the ‘Do It Later’ category can become unnecessary and move into the ‘Dump It’ list.
A nicer way to say this is ‘delete it’. Get rid of or cross-off the tasks you don’t need to do. This will take some practice and a hard-nosed approach especially if you have a tendency to hang on to things.
Ask yourself if this particular task is worth your time. Is it necessary to spend any of your time on it? Remember the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) and that often people spend 80% of their time on activities that are a waste of time.
If you decide you can’t ‘dump’ a task, the next question is – should you be the one to do the task? If it’s not your responsibility to do the task then you should pass it on to the team member who is responsible. Even if you can ‘Do It Now’, it should be delegated.
When you are responsible for the completion of a task, it may still be appropriate to delegate it. When there are others more qualified or adept at completing certain tasks, they may be better positioned to complete them. For example, you may be responsible for the financials that go into the monthly board report, but the club’s accountant or financial officer may be better placed to compile them. However, the buck still stops with you.
This may apply to more common tasks. Often, we choose to do tasks because they are easy, keep us busy or we take on to avoid getting to that really tough job. When really, we should be delegating them.
When tasks are delegated it is important to put measures in place to ensure the task has been completed appropriately by the person who has been asked to do it. Delegation is not abrogation. You should also empower the individual to do the task and give them licence and latitude to do it their way, being comfortable if this may not be your way of doing it.
A great way to implement the 4 D’s of Prioritisation is to use your to-do-list. Spend some time to review your list and consider which of the 4 D’s applies to each one. And, as new tasks come to you, get into the habit of immediately analysing them against the 4 D’s. One thing you may find is that some tasks stay on your list moving on to the next day and then the next. This may be a sign that the task isn’t really important for you and can be ‘dumped’ or ‘delegated’ – a real time saver. Alternatively, this task may be one you are procrastinating on. If so, you can ask yourself what is it about the task that prevents you from ‘doing it now’?
The Club Managers Association of Australia (CMAA) has been supporting and developing club managers to achieve high levels of leadership and management ability for many years. The training and development of knowledgeable and motivated leaders that are capable of achieving greatness on behalf of their clubs is a passion of the CMAA. To this end, they offer the professional certification - the Active Certified Club Managers Award (ACCM).
Individuals who hold the ACCM, have demonstrated that they possess the skills, have the range of knowledge and can model behaviours that drive premium results for their club.
The foundation stone of the ACCM is the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, an online, training course, delivered by elevateB (a specialist training company) and independently endorsed by Australis College (a Registered Training Organisation)
The Club Managers Leadership and Management program has been modelled on the Diploma of Leadership and Management, ensuring it covers a full gambit of management and leadership topics. Importantly, it has been tailored and contextualised for club environments and day to day club management situations. To successfully complete the program, participants are required to demonstrate required knowledge, skills and abilities through application and activity submissions.
For more information on the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, click here.