The 3-D Approach to Productivity


Article by Joan FriedlanderThe 3 D’s for greater productivity are defer, delay, and delegate. I read, with great glee, these words in Brian Tracy’s Time Power. My work is all about getting focused on your priorities so you can stop, doing, doing, doing — the other 3 D’s. Now I’m happy; Brian Tracy is saying it too.

What if procrastination, done with deliberate intention, is a good thing?

Have you ever noticed that when something you think you want — or want to do — doesn’t materialize, there turns out to be a good reason for it? What if you were to embrace procrastination as a positive strategy for getting the most important things done? Consider this: What you don’t do is just as important as what you do do, perhaps more so.

The usual approach to increasing productivity is to figure out how to become better at getting more things done. People most often strive to do more, not less. What if that’s all wrong? What then?

Try this on for size. You will always have more to do than you have time for. You really have to stop for a moment and think about the truth of this statement. Most of my clients are idea people. When you’re in business for yourself, and you are inspired by your work, you’ll always have more ideas and projects than time. So stop trying to get it all done and figure out what really, really matters.

The 3 D’s take us right back to the 80/20 rule, Pareto’s Principle. Figure out which 2 things out of the 10 on your task list will have the greatest impact on your purpose and objectives today. Do them, and defer, delay, or delegate the others. I suspect that most people work their list from the other direction. The more common approach is to get the other things “out of the way” and then work on the important things. Does this sound like you? Do you do the 8 other things first, and then get to the 2 most important things?

I know people who feel badly when they don’t get everything done on their never-ending task lists. I also believe that a lot of these same people would really prefer to focus on what’s most important to them and let go of the rest of the stuff. So, I wonder what makes such a simple and desirable approach so difficult to execute? Here are my thoughts about what that might be:

  • Guilt – arising from promises made that may have to be broken
  • Feeling less than worthy – an outcome of the Puritan work ethic (you are what you do)
  • Fear of being disliked – overly concerned about other people’s opinions
  • Confusion – not knowing what to focus on

Successful Procrastinators Wanted Here

It’s time to stop telling yourself procrastination is a bad thing. Defer. Delay. Delegate. Embrace your inner procrastinator and use him or her for good.

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