The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Are The '4 Methods of Completion'?

There are only four ways to "do" something: Completion, Deletion, Delegation and Deferment. These are called the 4 Methods of Completion.

You can use all four options when going through your to-do list and you'll get more done.

Josh Kaufman Explains The '4 Methods of Completion'

There are really only four ways to “do” something: completion, deletion, delegation, and deferment.

Completion—doing the task—is the option most people think about. If you keep a to-do list, you’re probably assuming that those tasks are all your responsibility to get done. That’s not quite true—completion is best for important tasks that only you can do particularly well. Everything else can be handled in another manner.

Deletion—eliminating the task—is effective for anything that’s unimportant or unnecessary. If something on your task list is unimportant, don’t feel bad about eliminating it. If it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well or quickly—don’t hesitate to get rid of it.

Delegation—assigning the task to someone else—is effective for anything another person can do 80 percent as well as you can. In order to delegate, you must have someone to delegate to. Employees, contractors, or outsourcers can all help you get more things done by completing tasks on your behalf.

In preparing my online Personal MBA business course, Kelsey and I shot the videos, but we enlisted Kelsey’s grandmother—an insanely fast typist—to help us create transcripts for each of the videos. As a result, we were able to complete the entire course in record time, without feeling overwhelmed.

If you don’t have anyone to delegate routine tasks to, working with a virtual assistant company can be quite useful. For less than $100 a month, you can enlist the help of a team of professionals to help you get things done. If you have little experience with delegation, it’s an experiment worth trying.

Deferment—putting the task off until later—is effective for tasks that aren’t critical or time dependent.

Don’t feel bad about putting some things off—the best way to bog yourself down is to try to handle too many things at the same time. Saving noncritical tasks for later is a good way to keep your attention and energy focused on what’s most important.

In Getting Things Done, David Allen recommends keeping a “someday/maybe” list of things you’d like to do someday, but that aren’t that important right now.

Creativity researcher Scott Belsky recommends a similar approach in Making Ideas Happen: create a “back burner” list of tasks that you want to get to eventually, aren’t a priority right now. Periodically reviewing this list when you’re looking for something new or exciting to do is quite useful.

Use all four options when processing your to-do list, and you’ll get more done than you ever thought possible.

Questions About The '4 Methods of Completion'


"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."

Edward Everett Hale, nineteenth-century Unitarian clergyman and writer


From Chapter 7:

Working With Yourself


https://personalmba.com/4-methods-of-completion/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

More about Josh Kaufman →