If you want something done … delegate - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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If you want something done … delegate

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Posted: Saturday, April 16, 2011 7:00 pm


"It's easier if I do it myself."

"No one else can do it as well as I can."

"I don't have time to teach someone."

Do any of these sound familiar? Everyday people add more tasks onto their "To-do" lists. Then they find that the day (or week, or month, or year) has slipped by, and they haven't gotten it all accomplished.

The results?

• Feeling overwhelmed or out of control.

• Build-up of stress and anxiety.

• Procrastination because of too much to do.

• Lack of advancement or promotion.

There have been many articles in the news recently about the exorbitant pay of some CEOs. Why might some of these CEOs be earning 10 times to 50 times more than the average business employee does? Is it that they spend 10 to 50 times more hours at their job than that average employee? Of course not. Everyone is using the same 24-hour day.

What are they doing that is different? For starters, if one looked at their "To-do" lists, you wouldn't see them involved in the minute details of their business operations. Their job is to look at the big picture, figure out how it can be done, and then those steps are delegated. They have to rely on others who have been trained in specific areas of the operation.

Not everyone is in circumstances that enable them to afford multiple assistants. However, there are still ways we can learn to let go of some things. Consider the resources you might have at hand:

• Office assistant: Many times they are only given the most mundane tasks, and the result is that they are not challenged. Give them a chance to grow in experience.

• Spouse/children: Let them all share in the home chores. It teaches responsibility and will produce more "together" time. Self-employed people can also hire their children to assist with routine office work.

• Outsourcing: If in-house staff isn't available, explore hiring experts, such as bookkeepers and web designers, to help. For clerical assistance, look into an area high school or community college for student interns.

Just as the major CEOs do, look at the big picture in your business and in your personal life. What are your goals? What are the important tasks that will help you to achieve those goals? In deciding if your can delegate a task or project, ask yourself:

• Why am I doing this?

• Is there someone else capable of helping?

• Is there someone I can train to do this?

Once you have identified the tasks and projects that can be reassigned, use these guidelines:

• Be explicit about what it is you want done.

• Check to be sure they've understood.

• Set a completion date and get their agreement.

• Hand over the authority that goes with the responsibility.

• Identify benefits for the person doing the task.

• Be available to handle questions but don't check up too many times.

When time is taken out to get organized, that time spent is gained back within days, and then you are working ahead. Delegating is one aspect of getting organized. It may take a little time to train someone to do an activity the way you want it done, but then you no longer are handling that work in the weeks and months ahead. It is worth the small amount of time to train and to delegate. Don't procrastinate in taking the next steps.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is author of "Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey." She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. For more organizing and time management tips, visit www.keyorganization.com.


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