Real Life Doesn’t Have a “That Was Easy!” Button

But the Four Ds and the Eisenhower Matrix can help

Key Takeaways

  • Making life simpler will reduce your stress and increase your confidence and effectiveness.
  • So many of life’s decisions can be addressed via four simple actions: Doing, delaying, delegating or destroying.
  • Don’t mistake urgency for importance—or vice versa.

Let’s face it. We all have way too much to do. No matter how simple we try to make things, life gets very complex. It reminds me of that commercial in which the frantic fellow on two phones keeps saying, “I can do that, I can do that, I can do that.” And then he moans, “How am I going to do that?” as soon as he hangs up.

From technology to airlines to email to cable television, we have so many different choices and plans to consider. It gets overwhelming. How many of you just want to simplify things and say at the end of the day: “That was easy!” like they do in the office supply commercial?

The Four Ds

Wouldn’t it be great if everything could be done with a simple click of a button? I can’t promise that will happen, but I can give you two things that will greatly simplify your life. The first one comprises The Four Ds:

  • Do it.
  • Delay it.
  • Delegate it.
  • Destroy it.

Here’s how it works. If you have something in front of you, you pick it up and you do it right now. Pretty simple. However, if you have something that’s not important right now but needs to be done at some point in the future, then you should set it aside in a filing system so you can address it later on. In other words, delay it. Next, if you have something that needs to be done, but not necessarily by you, then delegate it to someone else who can get it done. Finally, my favorite, destroy it! If you don’t need something anymore, just get rid of it.

Eisenhower Matrix

I realize the Four Ds aren’t for everyone. You can also try the Eisenhower Matrix, named after the former U.S. president who used to say that the most urgent things are not necessarily the most important things. In the Eisenhower Matrix, you have four quadrants:

  • On the upper left-hand side you have “Important & Not Urgent”—decide when you will do it.
  • On the lower left you have “Not Important & Not Urgent”—do it later.
  • On the upper right, you have “Urgent & Important”—do it immediately.
  • On the lower right, you have “Urgent & Not Important”—delegate it to somebody else.

This matrix can make life a lot simpler, and when we make life simpler for ourselves, we can really increase our confidence.


Speaking of simplification, don’t forget about our annual “Just Shred It!” celebration on Saturday, April 26, from 9 am to noon. We’ll have a truck in the parking lot, plus refreshments. Bring all your old documents, files and statements and see them shredded right in front of you. It’s a great feeling.

Go to our website ( for more information.


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