A few weeks ago, I received a call from one of our regular clients with a very simple task. She needed someone to go to her mother’s house, pick up a diamond ring, and bring it to her so she could wear it for a special event.
A simple task, but with high stakes. Let’s just say the diamond ring wasn’t purchased for a few hundred bucks at a pawn shop. That’s why I decided to handle this errand myself.
There are certain tasks that you need to do yourself. Others can be delegated. But when should you delegate, and when should you do it yourself?
From an economic perspective, some will say it pays to delegate when you can make more in the time you save than the amount you pay the person who saves you that time. That could mean hiring someone full-time, part-time or per project.
In other words, if hiring someone for $100 allows you to make $200, you delegate.
But the decision to delegate isn’t as simple as managing time and money. That’s why so many people struggle with delegation.
For example, if you choose not to delegate and end up in a lousy mood all of the time because you overwork yourself, wouldn’t you say it’s worth it to delegate more often?
In the example I mentioned previously, my client couldn’t be bothered with that kind of task. It takes her away from her job and adds to her stress level.
From my perspective, I didn’t decide to pick up and deliver that diamond ring because delegating would have cost me money. I did it myself because the stakes were high and I felt more comfortable taking care of it myself.
In this case, delegating would have stressed me out.
Of course, some people take this too far. They try to do everything by themselves because they’re incapable of turning over any kind of responsibility to someone else. Maybe they’re impatient, they were burned in the past, or they believe in the old “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” mantra.
The problem with that thought process is that it’s difficult if not impossible to break the do-everything-yourself cycle because you never make any progress.
These are my general rules of thumb for delegation:
From a business standpoint, if you devote too much time to simply keeping the lights on and not enough time on strategic growth initiatives, you need to delegate.
Day-to-day administrative tasks and maintenance should not prevent you from growing your business. Also, keep in mind that delegation enables employees to gain experience and expand and improve their skills. The more they learn, the more responsibility they can assume, and the more value they bring to your company.
From a personal standpoint, if your to-do list is so long and time-intensive that it prevents you from doing the things you enjoy and seeing the people you love, you need to delegate. What makes you happier, going to your child’s soccer game or grocery shopping for your elderly parents?
If you need to delegate a task or errand, or you need help deciding which tasks and errands should be delegated, contact us at Time Well Spent. Our goal is to help you make every minute as valuable and enjoyable as possible.