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Seize Your Day: The 4D’s of Increasing Productivity & Motivation

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

In the movie Dead Poet’s Society, John Keating introduces the term “Carpe Diem” - Latin for “seize the day.”

This momentous scene where he tells his students to make their lives extraordinary opened the hearts and eyes of fictional schoolboys and movie viewers alike. John Keating’s words of wisdom are certainly inspirational and moving to say the least, but he misses out on a myriad of questions that may follow. That is, how exactly do we go about our lives to make it extraordinary? How do we constantly find the motivation to stay alert and push ourselves, but not to the point of exhaustion?

Before you dive into your more specific goals and tasks, set yourself a grand milestone, with a twist - ask yourself why you want to embark on this mission or goal. What do want to gain from this experience? Motivational speaker and author, Simon Sinek, talks about how successful leaders start to inspire action by answering “why” they do what they do. They then move on to answer “how” they do it and “what” action plan (or in the case of a profit organization, what product or service) achieves their goal.

Apple, a company that has built a massive fan-base and enjoys great brand loyalty, does exactly this. It starts its pitch with “why” it exists as a company, packaged neatly into Apple’s slogan: thinking different and challenging the status quo. It then moves on to “how” it achieves this - through its beautifully designed, user-friendly, and easy-to-use devices. “What” does it happen to do well as a result? “Make great computers.”

Ask yourself the fundamental reason behind your aspirations and rekindle your passion for achieving those goals.

Next is the "how" part of the process - make a list of workable tasks that are clear, specific, and easy to follow. Assign due dates for each of your smaller tasks and make sure you hold yourself accountable so that you push through. The 4 D’s of productivity - do, defer, delegate, delete - come in handy when you’re unsure of how to prioritize your tasks and goals. It helps you determine which tasks are urgent and important. Which are your immediate needs, and which can you afford to put on a temporary hold? Going through each of these four steps can help you maximize your productivity and level of engagement.

1. Do - Try to get into the right head-space and straight to work! This category is for tasks that you believe to be urgent and important, such as a project with a deadline, an email response, and other lists of work activities that contribute to your long-term goals and are time-sensitive. Let's say you're an aspiring YouTube Creator planning content for your first video. Your immediate to-do tasks would include creating a channel, choosing your target audience, and doing research.

2. Defer (Delay) - Set some time in the near future for tasks that are important to you but not necessarily urgent, so that you can work on them when you’re less overwhelmed with immediate responsibilities. Going with the same example - you as a YouTube Creator would have to allocate some time in the future to analyze your channel performance and keep track of your brand sponsorship.

3. Delegate - Delegate tasks that you feel are urgent but not essential for you to take on. If you feel like the task will consume too much time out of your schedule, or that the area is out of your expertise, reassign the task to others! If you aren't too comfortable with video editing, you can outsource the video editing work.

4. Delete - Getting rid of menial tasks that are non-essential and non-urgent is the best way to achieve your important goals. For instance, you wouldn't need to engage with your followers every five minutes or compare your progress with others on a daily basis. Check for inefficient and harmful habits that bring or slow you down!

Using Dreamfora, you can reflect on your motivation behind your aspirations and set a long-term milestone with realistic time frames. Dreamfora’s 1-tap goal feature outlines milestones as well as important tasks, habits, and expert advice that are here to assist you in reaching your dream goal. Keeping the 4 D's in mind as you outline your goals is definitely a plus!

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