How to delegate
Wowcher well this is a big one isn’t it? In fact it is such a big one I decided to break my usual Sunday night blogging habit and put this one off until Monday, usually my most productive day of the week.
Apparently, I am not alone in that either, according to a survey conducted by Accountemps 34% of HR Managers feel that major tasks should be given on a Monday and 39% feel that its best to give them to staff on a Tuesday as productivity drops sharply later in the week. Sure there are a myriad of reasons for that, but for many it is just life getting in the way. Productivity is a favourite subject of mine but I will keep that for another blog another time…
One definite blocker to most productivity is planning and time. That major stack of to do’s which is optimistically written down at the beginning of the week and then never quite gotten around to.
When I talk to prospective clients this is often the biggest hurdle we need to overcome too. That small matter of the huge to do list which cannot, absolutely no way be carried out by anyone else.
Let’s face it if you are drowning in admin work then something must change so what are the choices you must face? Do you want to grow your business? If the yes box is ticked then then next question is how to manage the workload. Do you hire someone? That is a risk in itself isn’t it? Great if the work is pouring in but do you really want to be paying someone for downtime if it doesn’t?
So how to grow your business without growing your payroll? That is when people will occasionally think of turning to someone like me who is happily not a 40 hour a week employee but just someone who does the tasks needed.
All sounds good? More reasons to work this way include:
The work gets done faster. No downtime, no paying someone who’s just scrolling through Instagram while on the clock.
You hire a highly skilled talent who is a specialist in 2-3 areas.
Not having to pay for NI, benefits or holiday pay.
But wait. Here is the big elephant in the room – TRUST
This is the bottom-line of the fears I come across
“Who can really do it as good as me?” or “I’m the one who turns the crank on this business, I’ve got to DO IT ALL or something will drop.”
When we really drill down on these issues trust is often the biggest stumbling block to task delegation. So how do we overcome this? Well this is the advice I give to my clients when they are looking to get some help but are not quite sure where to start. It is all a matter of taking 10 minutes away and breaking it down into steps. I know, I know you have heard me bray on about this one before but us Zebra’s do love a step. So…
Starting the delegation process:
Gain clarity by writing it down.
Set a 7-minute timer and write at the top of your page two columns: 1. Yes Love It and 2. NO I put this one off
Then brain dump, onto paper, every single task you handle in your business. If it’s something you LOVE doing and it totally energizes you, put it in the first column. If it’s something that drains you, feels soul-sucking or depletes your creativity, it’s a NO and goes into column 2. All the answers sit inside you. It’s time to get it out on paper to gain clarity.
Make a choice
Ok, so looking at your NOs, can you bundle these into categories? Maybe like: Admin Work, Social Media, Graphic Design, Website Maintenance, database - writing that wretched Monthly Email to your database.
Right, now rank them.If you could delegate ONE category or task today, which would you GLADLY let go of, right now? Done it?
Congratulations superhero, you now have clarity on what to outsource first!
Keep it simple
The next step is to write up a simple, concise creative brief on that task or project, outlining the specifics on the work. Think bullet points, not research paper. Imagine you’re describing it to an 8 year old. Keep it simple, simple, simple. If it looks like a BIG project, how can you break it down into smaller bites?
Ok so you have worked out what you want done and you have written a communication of how – brilliant. But now when? What are your timelines? No point in delegating out a piece of work without a clear statement of when you want it completed. Ask the question ‘does this now support me at this time?’
Finally and this is the big one
Let it go!
You can actually accept help – it sounds silly, but as a card-carrying Type A Control Freak myself, this one is really important. You could have the ultimate unicorn of a VA, ready to help you, but if you can’t let go (bit by bit) of the nitty-gritty tasks that weigh you down, this isn’t going to work. Face the fear, go karaoke the Frozen song and get over it. Your business is BEGGING you to outsource the boring stuff. Your mental health is whimpering, too. Listen and accept the help!