If you’re a fellow “type A” personality, this time management skill is likely to cause you to shiver in your boots. Although, I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept. We tend to be perfectionists and take ownership (sometimes too much ownership) over our projects, which can be great….but it can also be detrimental to our own time management.
Sometimes, there are things which need to be done, but are not the best use of our time – for whatever reason. Perhaps, you don’t enjoy doing it, you don’t have the proper skill set, or it’s just not as important as something else you could do. However, you can see the value in the completion of the task. It’s perfectly okay to hire someone or to ask a friend, colleague, family member, employee, or contractor to do it for you. In fact, proper time management protocol sometimes demands it.
My Delegation Lessons of Time Management
When I first became a corporate manager, I was concerned over the cost of delegation. (I’m not talking about expense.) Delegating would mean I don’t have control, I’m not “in the know”, I’m not learning a new skill or I lack immediate answers to questions from my management team. After trying to hoard all of the important tasks (and failing miserably at keeping up) I realized if I was going to be successful as a manager, leader and employee, I had to get more efficient at time management.
My next internal obstacle to overcome was that I felt I could do the job better than someone else (I am a perfectionist, after all.) Sometimes, that was true….and in others, it was not. I found the answer to this dilemma is building the right support team – people I trust who have unique abilities, which form a complete skill set in the big picture. By the time I left my corporate management position, my team was an excellent mixture of high integrity personalities all possessing different strengths. This allowed me to feel good about delegating, thus creating space for my time management to flow more effortlessly without fear or guilt.
Venturing into my own business, my excuse was finances. I’d left my corporate job and was just starting to build a client-base. It was evident I couldn’t possibly do everything myself, but how was I going to pay for all of the things I needed done? The funny part was….it took me a long time to even look into the possibility. (Well, it’s funny now.)
Once I finally took the leap of investigating other resources, I found in many cases, it was much more inexpensive than I thought. Many times, simply by asking, I received help and advice at no cost. Other times, I found someone who was willing to trade. I would provide some sort of value or training for them and they would do the same for me. Time management is all about utilizing all of your resources in an effective way. It’s amazing how much progress you can make when you aren’t afraid to ask!
A little example of how I resolved two of my time management concerns:
You may feel you could do the project better and make it more polished, but it’s going to take you 10 hours of research – maybe watching YouTube videos, reading blogs or books, interviewing experts – to figure it all out. Your other option is to hire someone who already has the knowledge required for perhaps $50 to $300 (depending on the task.) If your billable time is worth $75 per hour, you’ve just spent $750 of your time doing what you could have paid someone else $50 to $300 to do. Are the minor details of how well you did it worth the $450 to $700 difference? Nothing says you can’t go back and tweak it later. What’s really cool is that more often than not, a hired hand will even provide some level of training, which means you have improved your time management on two levels!
How do we decide what to delegate?
To become effective at time management, it’s best to direct our energies to those three activities or less that bring us the most income AND the highest level of enjoyment. We tend to be best at those things we enjoy doing.
1. List everything you do in a day, which occupies your time – including business, personal, social and volunteer activities. Be sure to represent even the smallest tasks including errands, filing, and cleaning out your car.
2. Locate those few things that you really enjoy and that utilize your greatest strengths – circle them.
3. Now, locate those few things that bring you the most income – put a star next to them.
4. Those items that are both circled AND starred are where you’ll want to concentrate the majority of your time.
5. If you can, bundle the tasks left over into similar topics or skill sets.
6. Make a list of people (either by name or by the kind of service such as “bookkeeper”) who possess the skill sets required to complete those tasks. In some cases, you will be able to think of family members or friends. In others, you may need to find professional assistance.
7. Now, it’s all a matter of asking! Try to think of some ways you could offer assistance in return. Maybe your brother was recently laid off from his job, has some extra time and just happens to love your cooking. Ask if he’d be willing to run some errands for you in return for a good, home-cooked meal. You could simply strike a deal with a bookkeeper who is struggling to grow her business. While she does your books, you could give her free coaching. Really stretch your imagination! Heck, you could even share your newly developed time management tactics!
The key to effective delegation as a means to better time management is finding the right people.
It can be a bit of a process to find someone with the right skill set who lives and works with integrity, someone you can trust, a good communicator who gives you the information you need to make the right decisions for you. However, finding them and training them, if necessary, will pay off in the long run.
With the right support system in place, it’s time to trust them to do what they have agreed to do.
Micro-managing defeats the whole time management process. Yes, you want to be up to speed enough to have a good grasp on progress and to guide them. However, keeping a finger on the pulse of a project does not require you to know every little detail. This is where a lot of otherwise very intelligent folks fall short at improving their time management through delegation.
Not only does checking in every hour chew up your time, it portrays a feeling of distrust to your staff or expert, which can only turn against you. You hired them or asked for their help for a reason – to save you time and money. If you don’t feel confident allowing them to do their work because you don’t trust them to get it right, you have either not properly trained them or you have not found the right resource.
If you are struggling with time management and would like assistance deciding how to delegate, reach out to me through my contact page. It would be my pleasure and honor to help you.
Also, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, I recommend a book I contributed to:
Here is an excerpt I appreciated from one of the reviews:
“…reading passages from this book touches something real, something deep and meaningful in me. Life is ripe with challenges and we often get stuck focusing on the external details and circumstances of them rather than turning inward and reflecting on the deeper lessons. This book is full of stories from authors who’ve had a range of struggles and went deeper to experience shifts within themselves and their lives, some subtle, some powerfully distinct.
Reading the stories made me feel even more so the connection of humanity. We share similar experiences, doubts, worries and fears and while sometimes it feels like we’re going through our struggles alone, there are others who are silently going through similar experiences. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of connection to these authors as I read their own intimate stories and caught a glimpse of myself in their words.”