4 simple but key D

In a meeting with shareholders, Tim Cook, who became the CEO of Apple, shared something fascinating. He said, “Saying no to bad ideas is fairly simple. Saying no to good ideas is very hard, but this is what we have to do every day to be successful, so that we can put enormous resources, time, and effort behind the few things that we choose are the most important.”

In this video, I want to share a key principle of high performance.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many leaders around the world. These are super smart people in large businesses, and they’re never short of things to do. They receive countless emails, juggle numerous projects, and have a never-ending list of priorities. Sometimes, I wonder if the word “priority” even means anything to them anymore. As a result, they spread themselves too thin, struggle to make progress on the truly important things, and end up feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

Prioritising is usually about deciding what you’ll do. But just as important, it is deciding what not to do.

Here’s a simple way to apply this principle. Every week, I sit down and plan my week ahead. For those who know me, you know how crucial this weekly planning session is. It’s relatively easy to choose priorities for the quarter, but the real challenge comes every week when there’s so much to do and so many demands on your time.

Each week, I look at everything I have to do and think about what I should do, what I want to do, and what I must do. This is where the 4Ds come into play:

Delete: Every week, I make tough choices about things I’m not going to do. Deleting means deciding that something is a no, not just something I’ll do later.

Decrease: Sometimes, I’d love to spend hours on certain tasks, but I can’t. I have to decrease the time I spend on them.

Delegate: I look for tasks I can delegate to someone else. Even if I need to spend a bit of time briefing them, it’s still less than doing it all myself.

Defer: There are things I really want to do, but I push them to next week or later.

By focusing on these 4Ds, I can limit and reduce the number of things I want to do, ensuring I have more time for the things that really matter.

So my question for you is: Are you challenging yourself enough to delete, decrease, delegate, and defer, so you can spend more time on the fifth D, which is DOING the things that really matter?

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. Have a wonderful day.

Have a lovely week.

A bientôt,


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