Demand Management : The Four D’s

Demand Management : The Four D’s

This is a popular “time management” technique that helps you to categorise your tasks by urgency as well as importance.

For this activity, you need to list your tasks in a quadrant, like the image below.

 Four Ds

Tasks which are urgent & important.

Tasks which are not urgent, but are important.

Tasks which are urgent but not important.

Tasks which are not urgent & not important.


Now let’s decide what to do with those things:


Urgent & important.Do it now.

How do you decide which to do first, they’re all important and urgent?

Some will be obvious, like a temp who calls in 30minutes before their shift starts to tell you they can’t work and you’ve got to find a replacement in record time.

But with the others do the quick and dirty tasks first. These are the little things that reduce concentration and cause anxiety: the clutter on your desk, the incomplete jobs.  This is actually the opposite of prioritising.

Once you’ve handled the quick ones, do the worst ones next; the tasks you keep finding excuses not to do, until it’s almost too late. We create more stress and anxiety, and waste more time and energy, over the things we least like to do.  Why not just do them? Get them over and done with.

Not urgent, but are important.Decide when to do it.

In an ideal world, we would be spending our whole working day doing tasks that fit into this quadrant.

The reactive nature of recruitment, particularly temp, doesn’t always give us the ability to live in this space constantly, some daily and weekly planning will assist you to live here the majority of the time.


Urgent but not important Delegate it.

Don’t waste your time doing things that somebody else can do, especially if they can do them better than you.  Save your time for those things which you are uniquely qualified to do.

You might have a candidate pop into your office to say hi, because they happened to be walking by. It’s urgent because it’s they are there right now! But it’s not necessarily that important. Can someone else have a chat with them? Can you ask them to schedule a meeting or coffee another time?


Not urgent, not important – Dump it.

You’ll know these tasks by the fact that doing them doesn’t achieve a goal. A great example we all fall accidentally into is time on social media that is not directly related to marketing, industry knowledge or sourcing.

Tasks that fit in this category will either sit in the back of your head annoying you as something you need to eventually do (therefore giving you no peace of mind or ability to focus) OR it will get in the way of you doing other tasks you should be doing.

Put your tasks into these quadrants at the beginning of each day

As you get new tasks, add them in.

If you find you can’t do the associated action with it – such as an unimportant and non-urgent task that can’t be dumped, or an urgent but unimportant task that can’t be delegated – you will need to re-categorise it into the correct quadrant.

 Stay tuned for more Demand Management tips coming up!

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