If you are a business owner, chances are, you have done everything by yourself for many years. However, it gets to the point when you become so preoccupied doing everything yourself, that you lose sight of how to achieve or plan for even greater goals because you’ve simply run out of capacity.
Further, your daily tasks take you away from your unique talents, areas of work which you naturally excel at and are passionate about. These areas are typically the ones that you used at the beginning of your career. If you can get back to what you are most passionate about then you will naturally tap into the area of your vision that will financially grow your business.
When I delegate, nothing gets done right. Why is that?
Prepare to delegate. This should be taken seriously and not as an afterthought.
- If you don’t take the time to explain the task and think it’s easier to just do it yourself, then you will always have too much work on your plate. Take the time upfront to explain what needs to get done and in the end you will free your time up. Research shows that employees become disengaged and unmotivated when managers don’t delegate effectively.
- Understand that employees will make mistakes.
- If you are a perfectionist. Be aware that you need to manage yourself first. It is rare that another person will do a task exactly the same way as you, but focus on the outcome and not always the process.
Does it take more time to delegate than to do it myself?
If you delegate and the work is not done correctly, ask yourself what kind of communicator you are. A great delegator has to be a great communicator and you need to know what to delegate.
- Delegate the tasks you have to do all the time. If you understand them well and know what the outcome is, then it will be easy to communicate that to your employee.
- Delegate a less-than-essential task that requires skills you don’t currently have. Learning new skills takes time, if your employee has the right skills to complete a task, then hand it over for them to do.
- Delegate tasks that don’t have immediate deadlines. Researching materials for blogs, newsletters, interesting report that pertains to your business are all good examples.
- Delegate a task to an employee who has shown a particular interest in it. If you have an employee that has a degree in a certain area or an expertise from past work experience, then give them an opportunity to show you their stuff (as long as it pertains to your business).
- Delegate a task to an employee who needs to develop a skill in that area. If you have an employee who has lots of potential and want to grow in his/her career but is weak in an area, then delegate tasks that could help them to develop a new skill that will benefit them. (i.e. running a meeting, calling on customers, etc)
What is a delegation agenda and how will it help my business?
A weekly meeting on the same day each week where you go over the prior week’s delegation tasks and you get and give feedback from your employee. Use a delegation worksheet (below) and create a binder to put it in, so you can track weekly progress.
- Write an agenda of all the tasks you want accomplished.
- Set deadlines that you both agree upon for accomplishing tasks.
- Explain what you want done, how you want it done and when you want it done.
- If they need authority, give it to them and let the other employees know that he/she is responsible for the project and needs their cooperation.
- If they need a budget to do a task, give them spending authority and all the other tools they may need to finish the job.
How do I get honest feedback from my employee(s) that they understand and can do what I am asking of them?
Weekly meetings, these meetings provide the time for your employee to work with you one-on-one to get questions answered and to receive positive feedback as to what is going well and what needs to be improved upon.
Delegation is about improving your work/life balance and developing employees. This is truly a win/win situation if done right.
Working long hours and allowing interruptions all day long can reduce productivity. Need to be more productive? Just say “NO”
Time management takes discipline, control and repetition. Sadly, the odds are overwhelmingly against us and we will likely fail several times in our attempts to master it. But this is a good thing! Why? Because you have to fail first at something before you can master it.
The recent Wall Street Journal article, “For Some Executives, Doing Less Means Getting More Done“, has determined after much research that the key to unlocking your greatest productivity is to just say “no” – say “NO” to interruptions, “NO” allowing your email to distract you all day, “NO” to working on tasks that could be delegated. The article also states that by doing necessary tasks without allowing for interruptions can increase your productivity and reduce your stress because you don’t have to constantly be switching thought patterns around. Research has shown that every interruption can cost us 25 minutes in lost productivity. For example, if you are working on a project and need to focus, answering a call and focusing your attention on the call and then attempting to refocus on your work will likely take 25 minutes out of your day.
8 Tips to Be More Productive
1. Work in offline mode in Outlook®, when you are working on specific tasks until they are accomplished, turn off email notification.
2. Check your email every two hours. Schedule the times in your day when you will check and respond to email (try, 9am – 11am – 2pm – 4pm).
3. Close your browser. Keep web browsers closed when you are working on completing a project.
4. Silence your phone. You will have more than enough opportunities for phone time if you schedule it into your calendar. It’s ok to leave it on for emergencies, but if it’s just to chat with someone it’s probably going to be a huge time waster.
5. Shut the door. If you work in a busy office environment, you may want to consider shutting your door when you need to get work done. Don’t let others manage your day. Practice the fine art of saying NO to interruptions. As you train yourself to be more disciplined you must also train those around you. There used to be an aphorism that everyone who has an office should have an “open door policy” meaning, ostensibly that they were “approachable.” Everyone should be as approachable as possible in the workplace – provided, however, that this approachability does not subjugate the office holder to having other people control their day. Close your door. You will not be a negative influence; you will be someone who gets things done and telegraphs to others in the workplace the need to do so.
6. Understand your time saboteurs. What are they and how can you address them.
7. Wear noise cancelling headphones or put on headphones with low soft music to keep yourself from being distracted from outside noise.
8. Say “NO” to doing work that can be delegated. This will save you tons of time in the long run even if it seems daunting at first.
These 8 steps will help you stay focused and save time. If you want to be more productive at work, reduce your work hours.