Take the 30 day challenge to improve your delegation skills and use your own time wisely
“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the Earth.”
Use Tools and Time
It’s ironic that when leaders become stressed and busy, they forget to use the one tool in their managerial toolbox that will unbury them the quickest: Leverage.
Leverage effectively multiplies the time at their disposal by better accessing the people that report to them. For personal time, there are many techniques for leverage: time management, prioritization, and focus (check out the Pomodoro Technique for a quick tip that can change your life, productivity-wise).
But, what about everyone else’s time? What is the most effective way to take advantage of that? The answer is “leverage through delegation.”
Whether you have 10 employees or 1,000 you already delegate. The questions are:
- Is it possible to delegate more?
- Is it possible to delegate more effectively?
- What’s holding you back?
Let’s begin by tackling what’s holding you back from doing better. It could be a visceral reaction against the idea in the first place – “yes, sure, delegation, I’m already doing it a lot and the rest just can’t be delegated.” Or, it could be a fear of others messing it up, “I’ve tried it before and it just doesn’t work if I don’t do it myself.” It could be as simple as habit. “Yes, I spend too much time filling out my expense report, but how can you delegate that?”
The real roadblock here is to overcome the low value many put on their own time. “I know other presidents delegate collections calls, but I believe my customers wouldn’t accept that. And, besides, it’s only a couple of hours a week.” Those are valuable hours! First, there is the value of your time. More important, is the value of the alternative activity. To change you mindset, you need to place a higher value on those tasks only you can do. A collection call can be delegated whereas strategic planning, attending your child’s concert, or going to the gym cannot. Desire isn’t everything, but it sure helps.
Delegating More: 30 days to more time
Most people make the mistake of starting with “to whom” they should delegate. The most important first step though is to determine “what” to delegate.
- Borrowing from the best practices of the weight loss industry, create a journal of everything you do for a week. Write down what you did, how long it took, and whether it energized you or drained you. Jot it down as you complete each task.
Whether you use a paper notebook or Evernote, (of course there’s an app for that…) it’s critical to capture it all. Waiting until the end of the day to write it down will sabotage your efforts. You will almost certainly forget some of the tasks that could be delegated.
- When your week is complete, review what you did. With the dual goal of a) delegating and b) improving your delegation skills, pick something small but reoccurring. It will allow you to practice and experience a quick win before you move to more challenging delegation.
- Now determine the value of delegating this task. Time is an easy way but there are qualitative values as well. For example:
Task to Delegate – Reviewing the Daily Sales Report
Time Spent (annual) – 41 hours (10 minutes/day * 250 days / yr)
Qualitative Value – Reduced my anxiety on the details
Next, determine who to delegate to and the change to you. For example:
Delegate to – Sales Manager
Change req’d by me – Review weekly instead of daily. Save 33 hours (10 minutes / day * 200 days / yr)
Finally, determine what you will do instead. For example:
New task – Leave the office 30 minutes early on Tuesdays
To read more about controlled delegation, check out this blog post.
Conclusion: your 30 days starts right now!
So….what if you just delegated one task a month? One task. Big or small – just one task. What would that make room for in your own life? Could you catch your child’s soccer practice? Could you call three clients to get their perspective on your company’s place in the market? Try the thirty day challenge and make more room for the things most important to you.