Think the 4Ds

By Paige Trevor,

I love fresh inspiration for old stale problems! Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management, from the Inside Out offers up the 4Ds as a way to handle overwhelm. I love it as parenting tool. Let's review!

Think the 4Ds for time management and parenting challenges.

Think the 4Ds for time management and parenting challenges.


  • Time Management—Hosting a dinner party? Diminish the overwhelm by getting part of the food pre-prepared. Diminish the overwhelm by not using your fancy china, and still use the fancy wine glasses. Think "How can I get the essence of a fancy party without going crazy?"
  • Parenting—Devices, Hello?! Screens are here to stay. Can we diminish the impact by having house rules on bedtime and wake-up time? Diminish by allowing screens in only the public part of the house. Diminish by having one "Device Free" day a week. Diminish by turning off the router at a certain time each evening.


  • Time Management—Just don't do it. Say "no" to volunteering for the awards ceremony unless you love it. Say no to the Memorial Day potluck if it doesn't bring you joy. Say no to the annual family reunion if it brings only stress.
  • Parenting—Fighting about shorts that are too short? Either delete the shorts (take them out of their room) or delete the fight (you decide not to care about it). Trouble cleaning the playroom? Delete 80% of crap/stuff in there. Yes, 80%, you will thank me!


  • Time Management—Need to clean out the garage? Yes! And we don't have time for that during the end-of-school-year insanity. Note your calendar, hire an organizer, and schedule the task for a couple of days in late June, before it’s too hot out.
  • Parenting—Child asks if they can go to an edgy concert. Here’s a fabulous phrase I learned from the Parent Encouragement Program: "If you need an answer now, it's no. If you can wait until tonight (or until I talk to your Dad, or until you bring me more information), the answer is maybe."


  • Time Management—Mulching the yard before our welcome to summer backyard party goes to our tween. We know we can do it better, and we are grateful for the mediocre effort the tween does. Delegating means we appreciate help and we act like we appreciate the help.
  • Parenting—Sometimes we all need a little help. We can't really delegate parenting, but we can take breaks to re-energize. Hand off to a spouse (without a spreadsheet of instructions on how to do it our way). Hand off to a reliable teen. An hour to yourself, alone in your house while children are outside at the park can do wonders for you, your child, and that teen! In a time management or parenting pickle, think the 4Ds!

Please email me in Glover Park if you have any parenting/organizing questions.

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