This week ICAP had its monthly book discussion, and we chatted about the book Essentialism. Part of the conversation was around what you should be doing as opposed to having someone else do it. Many people have massive to-do lists and don’t stop to think about whether they should be the one doing everything. And, you cannot do it all, as much as you might like to think you can. The problem is, if you are, for example, a pattern designer and are busy doing things like shipping and answering emails, you are not working in your brilliance. What happens is that you become frustrated and your business suffers as a result.
Not delegating for some is really about giving up control. It is hard when you know how to do everything correctly. (Do you really?)
And, you think that by the time you show someone how to do it, you could have done it yourself. Yes, it does take time initially. The end result is worth it.
For others it is not knowing where to start — what to delegate, who to delegate to, and where to find this person you will delegate to.
Here is a system that has worked for me and my clients.
- For the next couple of weeks, write down all the tasks you are doing. And, I mean all the tasks. Even personal tasks.
- Go back and identify the tasks as Entrepreneurial/Managerial (tasks you must do) or Administrative/Technical (tasks that could be done by someone else). You might even find tasks that are really unnecessary and should be deleted.
- Next to those that are Administrative/Technical and assign a dollar amount that you think you could pay someone for doing these tasks.
- Sort the tasks by category. You might find some related to your website, some to social media marketing, some to personal items, some to bookkeeping. This will help you identify the type of person — their qualifications — you need to hire.
- Identify potential resources where you might find help. Possibilities include assistu.com; ivva.org; odesk.com; elance.com; craigslist.com; your church; your neighborhood; the local shelter; arts groups or guilds you belong to. Once you start thinking in this direction, you will come up with other ideas.
- Start with the lowest cost items first or the ones that are most frustrating to you. For many people, bookkeeping is the first task they delegate. Set up expectations for the task, create trainings/procedures for the person you hire, and develop a system to be sure that things get done.
Yes, this takes time, and should be something to revisit on a periodic basis. It is easy to slip back into doing it yourself instead of teaching someone else to do it, especially if the hire does not work out as you expected.
What are you doing now that takes you away from working in your brilliance? What should you be delegating that you are not? Who are you going to hire? And, when? Share what one item you are willing to let go of in the comment section below.