Delegate: The cliché “greatest weakness” answer in an interview and the most under-utilized time management tool of all time.
Why do we fear something that can help us so much? We’ll tell you why. Delegating is often thought of as laziness – pushing off tasks to other people and claiming the credit for them when they are finished to perfection. That connotation couldn’t be farther from the truth, though.
First of all, delegating isn’t limited to the workplace. You can delegate from the comfort of your own home, so if it’s nerve-wracking to delegate work tasks to a coworker or direct report, try it out at home with these steps.
Decide What Needs to be Delegated – Simple, but often overlooked. Check-in with yourself to figure out where your time is going and if any of those tasks or responsibilities can be delegated out to other people. Decide if you want to delegate at home, at work, or a mix of both. For instance, maybe you’re tired of cleaning the house every week, and you’d like to invest in a cleaning service. Consider the tasks, both at work and at home, that you don’t enjoy or aren’t particularly good at. Those are the things you should be delegating.
Identify Who Could Help You – Once you know what you need help with, think about who can help you out. Perhaps you’d like someone to mow the lawn for you. You could hire a high school neighbor to mow your lawn, or you could hire a professional lawn service. Take time to brainstorm, and don’t overlook this step. This person will be an extension of you in a way. They will be taking on some of your work, so it’s critical that you are happy with the person you pick.
Automate the Menial Manual Tasks – You can’t automate everything. Otherwise, no one would work a day in their life! But you can automate some things. You can use automatic scheduling software to automatically schedule things like social media, meetings, time tracking, and project management. Heck, you can even automate your personal life, buy having healthy meals delivered to your door. And many online stores now have features where you can automate purchases that you get regularly. Set it and forget it. This step is helpful for those who would happily pay someone to take on tasks they dislike or aren’t good at. Taking advantage of all the ways you can automate your life using the technology we have at our fingertips. Automation is a form of delegation.
Delegation isn’t a lazy way out. It’s about working smarter, not harder. It’s about using the time you have to your advantage so that you have more time to enjoy the life you’ve been given.