Can you delegate?
Have you ever woken up with a sense of dread because of your workload? So much to do at home or the office and wished you could clone yourself? Well I have, many times!
In reality, that’s not possible so what is the next best thing that we can do?
We can delegate.
“I don’t have time to show someone how to do it”
“They won’t do it right”
“It's just a couple of little jobs”
“The job only takes a few hours”
I have heard this so many times and believe me sometimes I have even said them myself but whether you’re a small business, a stay at home mum with a business run from your house, a sole trader or an independent contractor delegation is a skill that you should improve and embrace.
So what does delegate actually mean?
entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person. "she must delegate duties so as to free herself for more important tasks"
Though the dictionary explains it concisely there is a little more involved than just ‘entrusting’ a task to someone. Handing over a project or task is one thing, but handing it over and getting back a high quality result is another altogether.
So keeping this mind let’s look at a few rules to help you delegate.
1. Choose what you are willing to delegate.
Though you may think this is an easy thing to do, it is the very foundation of being able to delegate successfully. Don’t fall into the trap of only passing on the jobs you no longer want to do but take your time choosing the tasks that would be more productive for you if completed by someone else. So start off by making a list ( yes, that list again) of all the tasks you might want to give out and highlight all of the ones that should stay with you.
#Tip 1: Start off small and with tasks that don’t have an urgent deadline. You want to make sure that you and the person taking on your tasks will work well together, this will contribute to consistent high quality work. When you are comfortable then you can start scaling up the size and complexity of their work.
2. Find the right person.
When you have decided which tasks you are going to delegate it is time to find the best person for the job. Get this bit wrong and you will give yourself more stress, get poor quality work and probably end up doing the work again yourself. So it makes sense to take your time and put in a bit of effort to find the right person rather than fixing the mistakes afterwards.
3. Check in, but don’t take over.
Having to ‘let go’ of a task or idea is one of the hardest skills any person has to do. Mastering this skill when delegating is important because knowing when to keep an eye on the job and when to step away makes all the difference.
Obviously you need to make sure the task is going in the right direction but interfering too much means you are wasting money, time and you might as well be doing the task yourself!
#Tip 2: Learn to trust and accept that no one can do the job like you but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t do it as well as you
#Tip 3: Learn to check in at the right time. Have it in your mind at what place in the task you would like feedback or chance to proof read, then step away.
4. You don’t just delegate the easy stuff.
One mistake people make is believing that they should only outsource the easy or manageable tasks as the complicated stuff is best completed by themselves.
For example, how often have you looked at your ‘to-do’ list, either at work or home, and decided only you can do the complicated jobs on it because only you know how it is done. I bet you recognise yourself there, don’t you?
Delegating can be useful because you can bring in people with skills that you do not have yourself. The more you do this, the more productive you will be with your skills and time.
5. Once you have discovered it works, continue to delegate.
Get into the habit of automatically sending tasks straight to your chosen person from the moment you realise they are there. This will allow you space to decide what things you can do yourself and because you want to do it rather than you have to.
Another way to look at this is that if you can get used to handing off one or two things, you will eventually be able to hand over five or ten things. You are in charge of your own life balance, you can be as involved as you want to be but remember it is possible to hand over most tasks and it is an option you can benefit from at work and home.
Finally remember not to get stuck
There are times your ‘to do’ list will be massive and finding the time to delegate can actually become another thing on the list. Just remember that one task at the beginning will save you a lot of time further on so it’s best to just do it.
Now, as with any skill, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.
So off you go and delegate, you have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.
Bizzybee, otherwise known as Erin, is a remote personal assistant based in Cheshire. She works with different kinds of businesses from small office based businesses to solo entrepreneurs working from home. As a virtual assistant she is able to work all over the united kingdom from her very own office.