You feel busy, you know you do a lot of work, you want to delegate, and you even have people who are looking for more work to do but when you try to think about what you can delegate you draw a blank. Sound familiar? That’s probably because you do most of your work on autopilot. You have been it doing it for so long and are so good at it that you have become unconsciously competent. You don’t even have to think about what you’re doing you just do it.
That is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you can do a lot of work without having to overthink it and it’s a curse because you can easily fall into the trap of “It’s easier and faster if I do it myself.” That’s probably true but not delegating can leave you feeling overwhelmed and working too many hours.
Here’s a 2-step process for getting a clear picture of the tasks you’re doing:
Use the Task Tracker worksheet to create a list of your regular, daily tasks. As you go through your day, simply jot down the tasks, meetings, projects, etc. that you do. Do this for a week so you can get a complete list of everything you do.
Now that you have a thorough list of the tasks you do on a regular basis, it’s time to assess each one. Pay special attention to the tasks you do on a daily basis rather than the ones you do only occasionally. Refer to your list and sort your tasks into 3 categories:
- Tasks that belong to someone else. If you were promoted within your department there is a very good chance that you brought tasks with you to your new position that should have been left behind. You probably said to yourself, “It only takes a minute, and I’m the only one who knows how to do it so I’ll just keep it.” These are tasks you shouldn’t be doing anyway so they don’t really count as delegation. This is just putting the work back where it belongs. Remember that tasks belong with the position, not the person.
- Tasks you don’t like to do. Many leaders buy-in to the myth that they shouldn’t delegate tasks they don’t like to do. I ask, “Why not?” Just because you don’t like to do something doesn’t mean other people wouldn’t like it. Take running reports for example. You may not enjoy it but I guarantee there’s a data head on your team who loves to run and review reports. Don’t deprive them of the opportunity to do something they love!
- Tasks you do like to do. I always encourage leaders to spedn It’s also okay to delegate something you like to do. You might do this to give a team member an opportunity to develop their skills or free up time so you can focus on other tasks.
Getting a handle on the tasks that you do is the first step to becoming an effective delegator. You will reap the benefits of having extra time to focus on other priorities and your team will benefit by learning new skills. Giving others the opportunity to grow is one of the most valued leadership traits there is. So do yourself and your team a favor and start tracking your tasks today.