On about half of our potential client calls, we hear the same thing: “I know I need help, but I don’t know where to start.”
Your first step is to audit your time to sort out what you should be doing from what isn’t a good use of your time. Everything that falls into that second category should be delegated.
If you ever question whether you should delegate something, ask yourself these two questions:
- Why am I doing this?
- How is this contributing to my bottom line?
If you can’t find a good reason for doing something in both of these answers, it’s time to delegate!
It’s at this point our clients say, “Great, let’s delegate so I don’t have to do this thing that makes me crazy anymore. How do I do that?”
1. Do It Once Yourself, Then Document the Process
The first thing you need to do is understand exactly what needs to be done. Trust me—telling someone your end goal and then asking them to figure it out will only end in more back-and-forth that wastes your time. Plus, if that person ever moves on without telling you how they do what they do, you’re going to be scrambling to pick up pieces you didn’t even know existed.
Start by doing the task yourself once. (If you’re delegating, there’s a strong chance you’ve already done it before anyway!) Record or write down the process, and then hand that information off to someone who can do it more efficiently than you for less than what your time is worth.
2. Establish Trust and Release Control of the Details
A lot of people who do everything for their business until they physically can’t anymore have trouble letting go. Remember that you don’t have to release full control, but you will have to release control of the small details within a big project. Provide an outline or some background, give them the process, and then let them handle it.
So often, executives are scared that someone else won’t do it as well or with as much care as they would. And you know what? They may not do it as well the first time. But after a bit of feedback and practice, we’ve come to see that person who takes on these delegated tasks often starts to do them better and finds new, faster ways to get to the same result.
The key to this is to look for team members who are curious and always learning. This is one of our core values for a reason.
We need people on our team that are flexible, love to learn and master new tools, and are always looking five steps ahead to anticipate needs or roadblocks. Start with a solid foundation of amazing people, and it’s easy to develop trust in them in order to release control of the small details.
3. Check On Your Team
Another way to establish trust is to use your project management system to check in on your team. If you’ve given them a process for your delegated tasks, this process should fairly easily convert into a template store inside your project management system.
Instruct your team to check off the tasks assigned to them in that system, always. That way, if a deadline is looming and you want to be sure it’s met but don’t want to nag the assistant, all you need to do is look at the task in your project management system and see what progress they’ve made.
4. Check On Yourself
If you still find yourself struggling to keep your mind from wandering to the tasks you’ve delegated or find yourself waking up out of a dead sleep at 3:00 a.m. wondering whether a task was completed, it’s time to check in with yourself.
Remind yourself of the priorities you’ve set for your time, your ideal schedule, and your unique qualifier. You should quickly see that these delegated tasks don’t fit into a life where you’re living out those three categories successfully. And if you’re still struggling with trust, you may not have the right team member to get the job done.
Finally, we have just a few additional tidbits to keep in mind when attempting to delegate:
- Don’t confuse tasks “only you can do” with tasks you don’t trust others to do.
- Try to predict patterns in your schedule and build off of them.
- Focus on creating small efficiencies instead of a major overhaul.
- Set realistic intentions and align them with the new time you’re creating for yourself.
If you’d like to start this process but need some help along the way, consider our Interactive Operations Audit. It might be just what you need to get out of your own way.