Why you need to use this tool this week: The 4D Reset Framework

Simon Breakspear
18 June 2024

The idea: Overloaded? Use the simple 4D Reset Framework

When you’re being pulled in multiple directions, it can be hard to know what to prioritise. Here’s an easy framework you can do in 10 minutes that can help you filter out the noise and focus on what really matters.

30-Second Version

  • In our line of work, it’s not uncommon to feel overloaded and overwhelmed.
  • There’s a tool called the 4D Reset Process that I use with leaders which helps you to pause, reset and create more bandwidth.
  • The tool involves separating your priorities into four categories: Dump, Delay, Delegate and Do
  • Once you’ve triaged your workload into these four buckets, you’ll be able to prioritise what really matters, and regain momentum, clarity and focus.


The Full Read

In our fast-paced and demanding work environments, it’s not uncommon to feel overloaded and overwhelmed. As a coach working with school and system leaders, I often encounter individuals who feel like they are on the wrong side of a lot of good work! In such situations, we need an approach that allows us to pause, reset, and create more bandwidth to make meaningful progress on the things that matter most. That’s where the simple 4D Reset Process comes in. Let’s explore this framework that can help you regain momentum, clarity, and focus in just 10 minutes.

1. Dump: Letting Go of Non-Essential Tasks
The first step in the 4D reset process is identifying tasks that can be dumped altogether. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean dismissing the value of these tasks entirely. Rather, it involves assessing whether they are essential at this moment. For example, look at your calendar and consider recurring meetings or commitments you could potentially step back from, gathering relevant information through minutes or action items instead. Be honest: are there cases where you find yourself over-functioning for others, where it could be beneficial to let them take ownership instead? By identifying tasks to dump, you’ll create bandwidth for yourself and free up valuable time and energy.

2. Delay: Strategic Timing for Optimal Results
Humans are excellent at handling tasks sequentially, but we often struggle when faced with an overwhelming number of parallel responsibilities. The delay aspect of the 4D reset process encourages us to recognise that certain tasks may be better attacked at a later time, or during a different season. Whether it’s a task on your own plate, your team’s to-do list, or within your organisational plan, it’s crucial to give yourself the freedom to strategically delay certain initiatives. Take some time to step back and consider where it might be more advantageous to delay work. By embracing thoughtful delay, you’ll improve your overall effectiveness on the essential tasks you will choose to focus on.

3. Delegate: Empowering Others and Creating Opportunities
Delegation is not about offloading pressure onto other team members, but rather recognising opportunities to utilise the pressure you’re feeling as a trigger to provide opportunities for team member growth and development. Consider tasks that others in your team could take on to lighten your load. This could involve planning and running professional learning sessions, facilitating team meetings, or managing compliance and system requirements. By empowering others and providing them with the opportunity to experience and understand aspects that you have traditionally protected them from, you not only create space for yourself but also foster their professional growth.

4. Do: Identifying Essential Actions
The final step in the 4D reset process is to identify the essential high-leverage actions that are uniquely yours to push forward. By focusing on these key tasks, you can maximise your impact and progress. Take a close look at what adds the most value in your role and cannot be dumped, delegated, or delayed. Clarify your priorities, and commit to taking meaningful action over the next two to four weeks on those identified areas. By bringing essential tasks into focus, you gain clarity and highlight areas where you can actually make the most significant contribution.

Set aside 10 minutes, put a timer on your phone or stopwatch, and give yourself an opportunity to pause and explore alternative approaches. Start working through each of the four dimensions: dump, delay, delegate, and do. Open up your calendar, identify tasks to let go of, strategically delay your efforts, empower others to take on responsibilities, and commit to essential actions. I’d love to hear how you go with it!

Challenge → Implementing the 4D Reset Framework
Download the 4D Framework tool now and have a go at using it to triage and refine your workload. It can be done on your own, with a trusted colleague or as a team.

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