Back to Listing

How to get 4 Ds in time management

04 July 2012

Katrina Webb is a former Paralympian sprinter: 100m, 200m and 400m, and blogs for the Ruby Connection.

She runs her own training solutions business, Silver to Gold, and suffers the effects of Cerebral Palsy (CP), which has left the right side of her body weaker than her left. 

In 1995 as an elite netballer attending the Australian Institute of Sport, Katrina says she knew her CP – something she had kept hidden from everyone her whole life – was going to stop her reaching the top in her chosen sport. Competing in netball as an able bodied athlete, she was approached by the Paralympics to consider classification and trying out for the Australian Paralympics Track and Field squad. 

It was a difficult decision requiring her to ‘come out’ about her CP and her disability in a very public and confronting way. It also meant doing a sport at which she admits she wasn’t a natural: “I wasn’t a sprinter but I trained hard and became very good at it. At the 1996 Atlanta Games I won Gold. In 2000 at the Sydney Olympics I won Silver and Bronze. That was an extremely disappointing result and I spent the next 4 years working my way out of the ‘wilderness’. I knew then as I know now, I lost Gold because I didn’t have the right mindset, the right process and people in place and I wasn’t able to say ‘No’ when I was asked to do things.”

Between her Atlanta success and her “flop” in Sydney, Katrina had trained, she’d also studied for her physiotherapy degree, cultivated her business relationships, spent a great deal of time delivering keynote speeches about CP, her life experience and story as an athlete both in the able bodied and disability arenas, as well as say yes to any other events or roles in which she was asked to take part.

Her successful opponents at the Sydney Games cut back on everything extraneous to their bids for Gold, focusing on their training, their process, mindset and attitude.

Following the Sydney Games, Katrina clearly defined her goals and priorities. She then sat down to define the process needed to achieve those goals, got the right people on board to run that process, and looked at all her commitments and linked then to her goals and priorities for the next 4 years. She then applied the 4xDs of time management to each of them.

Do the ones that are going to make the difference

Delay the things that can wait

Delegate to others what you don’t need to do

Delete the unnecessary

“By taking these steps,” says Katrina, “I was able to clearly define the time I had available and what it was I needed to do. By measuring what I was being asked to do against what I needed to do and the time available, I had a strategy for learning to say No. It’s one I still use.”