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03 Apr

First who, then what

Datum: 2014-04-03 11:41

The sit­u­a­tion for many peo­ple is as fol­lows: They obvi­ous­ly have too much to do and the amount of works does not appear to be decreas­ing any­time soon. They need to del­e­gate some tasks to oth­er peo­ple, but it just does not seem to hap­pen. They work away but are bur­dened by the heavy work-load and keep think­ing that if I can just fin­ish this, it will feel bet­ter and get eas­i­er” (but it nev­er does).

I rec­og­nize cer­tain aspects of this. When I think aout what I do dur­ing my work-days, what my tasks and assign­ments con­sist of, I also think of myself as the doer of these tasks. It demands extra effort by myself to deter­mine what could be done by some­one else (“since they are my tasks and I am the one who knows how they need to be done”) and when I am the most bur­dened by my work-load I tend to feel reluc­tant towards putting in that extra effort.

The secret is to del­e­gate more
I recent­ly did a fol­low-up on how a group of par­tic­i­pants from one of my open cours­es had pro­gressed. The mar­ket man­ag­er Christi­na said Since I last saw you I have got­ten a new col­league who I can del­e­gate tasks to and sud­den­ly I have thought of plen­ty of tasks I can now be releived of!”.

This is a com­mon response to the issue of del­e­ga­tion. If we look at the sheer amount of things we need to do, we tend not to see the for­est for all the trees. But, if we address the mat­ter from anoth­er angle entire­ly and instead try to clar­i­fy who we could del­e­gate to, it is often eas­i­er to think of things we could delegate.

Try this

  1. Take an emp­ty piece of paper, a white­board or the emp­ty space you most pre­fer work­ing with.

  2. Make a list of all the peo­ple you could see your­self del­e­gat­ing some­thing to.
    These might for instance be:
    • Your clos­est colleague/​s
    • Your employ­ees
    • Your boss
    • Oth­er par­tic­i­pants in the project you are work­ing in
    • Staff work­ing with your supplier
    • Your con­tact at a client’s office
    • Oth­er peo­ple work­ing for your client
    • Your con­tact at the trav­el agency
    • That nice man you met at the par­ty last week, he who works at a staffing agency
    • A col­league work­ing in anoth­er part of your company
    • Col­leagues employed at your com­pa­ny but work­ing in anoth­er city

  3. Skim through the list and stop 30 sec­onds for every name and think about what you do today which this per­son could do instead.

    If it helps, skim through your to-do-list (where of course every­thing you need to do is list­ed) and look for a task that could be appro­pri­ate to del­e­gate to the per­son in ques­tion, and which would feel great to trans­fer from your to-do-list to the list of del­e­gat­ed tasks.

  4. Alright. I am guess­ing you have found at least one or two tasks which you can get rid of by del­e­gat­ing (per­haps you even found many). If so, do what you must to be able to del­e­gate it, for instance define what the task is and what mate­r­i­al you need to com­plete it, ask the per­son you want to del­e­gate to if he or she feels like doing the task, et c.

Free up valu­able time
If you clar­i­fy who you could del­e­gate tasks to, it will become eas­i­er to iden­ti­fy things you could del­e­gate and hence make it pos­si­ble for you to decrease your work­load. This way you will have more time for what real­ly mat­ters in terms of reach­ing the goals you are respon­si­ble for in your busi­ness, and only you know what this is.

What is your way?
How do you del­e­gate tasks you want to be rid of quick­ly and effi­cient­ly? Leave a com­ment to share your tip!