It’s happened to all of us. You’re overwhelmed, overworked and the inbox just keeps on getting bigger and bigger. In it there are a bunch of “little” tasks that will “only take a minute to do”. But you just can’t seem to get that minute. You think about delegating some of the tasks but it just seems like it would take longer to explain them to someone rather than do it yourself.
Delegating can be really difficult. It can seem like just too much work, but in the long run you know that it will save you time, week after week and month after month. How do you start? Well here are a few hints.
What should I delegate?
Choosing what to delegate is a great place to start. This can be a tricky decision but generally you should delegate those tasks for which you are not directly responsible and your technical expertise can be used more effectively elsewhere. Also, a task is best delegated if it has clearly defined objectives. For example:
- responding to client enquiries
- screening email/making appointments
- data entry
- bookkeeping/invoice production
- creating standard correspondence such as thank-you cards
- presentations, websites, promotional material
By having clearly defined objectives for the project you can increase the likelihood for success on completion.
Some tips for delegating
- Clearly define the outcome you are anticipating. A clearly defined task will produce clearly defined results.
- Establish a routine for monitoring the progress of the task. Knowing the deadlines within the project will allow your assistant to control their workload and ensure success of your task (remember they have an inbox too).
- Don’t micro-manage. There may be more than one way to do a task. Your way might not be the most efficient method for someone else.
- For larger projects, start with a small piece. Starting with a small part of a larger project will develop a trust between you and your assistant. Once one part of the task has been mastered, you will feel more confident to delegate more.
- Ensure your assistant has the appropriate resources. Have you provided all the passwords required for the job? Is there background information about the client that might be helpful to complete the task? Can you provide examples of how you completed the task previously which will help with style?
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Many people are afraid to ask for help. They may feel like they’re not doing your job or that they’re not good at your job because they can’t get it all done. On the contrary, they are a better manager because they delegate tasks thus allowing them to do what they are technically best at.
Good luck at delegating! It will help on your way to Work Smart, Not Long.
A few good resources