Busy Isn't Better

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Striking a work/life balance is like finding the line between a client’s ultra-modern taste and the reality of their historic site. There’s a bit of give and take necessary to make everything amenable to all involved. Likewise, finding a better way to work that isn’t just . . . busy. Because, busy isn’t better.

To effectively manage a business, you must learn to delegate responsibilities that don’t have to be handled by you. And, like it or not, there’s a lot of them!

Most of the arguments about “It’s just easier for me to do it myself,” or “I don’t have time to train someone else to do what I do,” are absolute lies.

  1. It’s not easier because you’re pushing yourself to the edge every day and something will eventually give. Find time on your calendar for explaining and training. Then, stick with it.

  2. You’re all full up on “don’t want to”.

And who can blame you? It’s hard to let go of things that you’ve worked on so hard, for so long. But, to make room for the more strategic planning and high-level tasks that come along with business growth and success – you’re going to have to hand off some other tasks.

Start small.

This is easier for you and for your staff. Perhaps there’s a piece of internal communication that needs to go out? Or, perhaps it’s time to assess your inventory needs and assemble a wish list of new items to stock? Look at your weekly to-do list and find something small that you can reassign.

Identify and apply the necessary skillsets.

When you’re delegating, consider the skillsets needed by the project/task at hand, as well as those possessed by your employee. Ideally, the skills needed/skills expressed are in alignment (or at least agreement). For example, if one of your staff members is more tech savvy, put them in charge of updating your product data with Amber Engine. For those who have a numbers bent, analytics. Be deliberate about your assignment and play to your employees’ strengths for the best possible outcome.

Establish a priority system for the new project/task.

Give your employee(s) a firm grasp of where this new assignment falls on the scale of importance in their day-to-day execution of tasks. Perhaps it’s an L1 or Red . . . or it’s a 3 or C. Whatever system you choose, be consistent with the priority level labels you apply to help reduce frustration from staff members given a new project/task.

Communicate both instructions and preferences.

People don’t know what you don’t tell them – even if the project/task seems straightforward. Be sure to include the following project/task details:

  1. Performance standards

  2. Privacy level

  3. Budget information for both time and money

  4. Where the employee can get additional information/answers

  5. Deadlines

Review and deliver feedback and guidance.

Schedule time to look over the work completed by your employee as the project/task progresses. This allows for course correction and feedback before things get too far off course. Plus, it ensures satisfaction on both sides of the desk, because the expectation is set, and the standard is communicated and demonstrated.

If you’re having trouble delegating, be patient with yourself. Being “busy” is a comfortable and quite popular place to be. At best, it’s mindless. At worst, it’s a productive form of procrastination against the real work that you have ahead of you. Consider whether your roadblock is dedication, perfectionism or the ego/fear and act accordingly.

As you weigh the decision to delegate tasks, consider the benefits and keep the one that spurs you to act in a visible place. If you bring yourself to delegate a task or two, you’ll:

  • Have more time for strategic planning and other high-level tasks.

  • Be free to devote more of your time to the things that matter most – professionally and personally.

  • Help others develop new skillsets and grow professionally.

  • Develop trust within your organization.

Don’t be surprised if delegation is harder than you expect. And keep in mind that patience is key – with yourself and your staff. After all, there is a learning curve on BOTH ends.

What are the tasks you plan to delegate to your team this week? Do you have tips to make it easier to release tasks to team members? Leave a comment in the section below. We want to hear from you!