Delegate effectively to take back your time
There’s not enough time during the day…
I have too many other priorities to get to that right now…
It’s just easier for me to take care of it…
Have you ever found yourself saying one of these phrases or something similar?
Worse yet, have you ever felt the overwhelming pressure of literally having too much on your plate to even see the other side?
I know I have throughout the various operations leadership positions I’ve held in my career and even throughout my entrepreneurial journey.
For me, the one thing that I do to get that feeling of relief is use the delegation system that I created years ago.
The goal back then was simple: create a system that would not only help me take back my time but help me help others on my team grow in their roles.
Today I’m going to walk you through that system that’s helped me delegate effectively, develop people on my team, and provide a bit of breathing room to work on the projects I know I need to complete but can never seem to find the time to get them on my schedule.
Step 1: Track Your Time
This isn’t the most glamorous part of the system, but it is critical. Many people tend to put a half-hearted effort into this because of “being busy” but the truth is that if you don’t commit wholly to this part, you might as well not implement the system… that’s how important this part is!
I recommend tracking your time for a minimum of two weeks. The increments you use can be ones that are most meaningful to you and your tasks. I recommend tracking time in no shorter than 15 minutes increments, especially when you’re first starting out with this system.
In terms of tools, you can use whatever is most readily available to you and what you feel comfortable with. I’m a huge fan of pen or pencil and paper on this one but you can just as easily implement a SAAS tool like Tyme. Click here to get a free Time Tracking Worksheet.
Step 2: Analyze Your Time
This is where you get to learn about and make decisions on the tasks you love to do and the tasks that drain you of energy. Here are the 3 questions you should be asking:
- What tasks do I love doing?
- What tasks are time wasters?
- What tasks do I hate doing?
You want to take all the data you have gathered at this point and look for patterns while you’re asking yourself those 3 questions.
Create a list of items that you hate doing and that are time wasters for you. These will be the easiest and fastest to start delegating.
Step 3: Delegate
This is the step where I often see leaders fail to become effective and I’d say the biggest reason is due to two things:
Your ability to delegate effectively starts by identifying who you will delegate to. This is the reason why it is so important to put the work you have into steps 1 and 2 above. That work will give you a deeper understanding of the tasks themselves and combining that with what you know about the people on your team, becomes a powerful tool to identify the best person to delegate to.
I mentioned that training is the biggest reason for failure when it comes to delegating. The reason is because as leaders, we are often so familiar with the tasks that we don’t take the time to provide proper process documentation and training for people who we plan to delegate tasks to.
My favorite training method is the TWI Job Instruction Method.
Finally, when it comes to delegation effectiveness, I often hear from leaders that it’s easier to do it themselves versus following up on individual tasks and projects. That’s where tracking tasks comes in.
The goal here is to create a feedback loop so that you as the leader know that a particular task has been completed. This will be different for each of the tasks you delegate but ask yourself, what type of cue would I like to see to know this has been completed?
This step removes the need for constant follow-up and creates a signal to you that something has been completed.
Learning to delegate effectively is key to freeing up your time and helping people grow on your team. If you feel bogged down with work, take a step back and assess what you can delegate to others on your team. It may feel daunting at first, but the benefits and relief you’ll feel as you implement this system are worth it.
That’s it for today.
See you all next week!
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:
- Operational Excellence Navigator: Get actionable insights with an independent, on-site or virtual operational excellence audit.
- Operations Accelerator: Elevate your operation with our small group cohort to create systems that enable consistency.
- Let’s Collaborate: Optimize your operation with an engagement tailored to achieve your specific business objectives.