If you’re running a business, it’s a good bet you’ve felt the stress of not having enough time in any given day, week, or month to complete everything on your to-do list. But it isn’t just a question of having time, it’s also about how you use it.
Being productive comes from working on the things that you do best—that you feel passionate about and light you up, whatever they may be. However, you can’t do those things when you’re running around doing everything else. The solution is learning to delegate effectively.
Start With Yourself
To delegate well, you first need to know some specific things about yourself and your business.
- First, discover what you spend the most time on. Write down the tasks that are critical for success.
- Review that list to see if someone other than you can do them. You can even write that person’s name next to the task.
- Take all the unassigned items and rate them from 1 to 4, where:
1 = tasks you love to do, are great at, and would do all day long.
2 = items you like to do, but they take additional time and energy.
3 = things you can do but don’t really like to do.
4 = the tasks that you dislike and don’t ever want to do, i.e. the ones you keep putting off.
Anything that rates a 3 or 4 should—and probably can—be delegated and removed from your to-do list.
You’ll be left with a list of things you really want to work on, along with the time to do them, and a list of things to hand off to others.
Making Delegation Work
Start by planning exactly who will get the tasks you’re not doing. Most likely it will be someone you trust in your organization, but you can also bring in a qualified consultant or even an intern, depending on the nature of the work. Evaluate your entire to-do list and figure out what you absolutely need to do yourself, and what you should delegate to someone else so you can work less while earning more.
Break down your project into manageable, bite-sized chunks, and create a calendar of action-items to make sure you achieve your goal by the end of this program. From this, develop a very specific outline of the scope of each task and what particular talents and abilities are needed to be successful so the person who takes on the task knows your expectations. If you’re feeling some anxiety, start small and delegate the least important tasks first.
A delegated task still needs to be done well, so create a system that helps you track both positive and negative results. As you evaluate progress, assess whether you need to stay the course, or shake things up for quicker, more powerful results. Be ready to give feedback to correct what’s going wrong and to encourage the positive results to continue.
Finally, pay attention to thoughts or feelings that could be impacting your success with delegation. These can include negative self-talk or believing that no-one can do something as well as you do it. When you identify the situations that throw you off your game, you can implement different habits and develop a new course of action that’s in alignment with your goals.
The truth is that people who are good at delegation didn’t start out that way. It’s not an innate trait someone is born with. It’s a valuable skill that, once you learn it, will reap amazing benefits because you’ll be able to focus on and be valued for the things that you truly do best.
Share your tips on how to let go and delegate effectively!