Why is it so hard for us to delegate? The idea of getting someone to help us out with some of our tasks seems pretty straightforward. And yet, for some reason, we tend to tackle the work ourselves.

“It’s simpler this way,” we say. “In the time it takes me to teach someone else how to do the task, I could be halfway done with the project.”

For many “one and done” projects – this may be true.  Especially if the project is something that is in your skill set. However, usually we wind up taking on more work than we can handle and stressing ourselves out in the process.

The truth is, delegating is a perfect solution to reduce your work load.

A friend of mine who owns his own business, decided to branch out and start another business.  As he was getting his new car wash off the ground, he was still overseeing the day-to-day tasks of his current business.

Imagine his life .  . . on one hand, he was dealing with a mountain of paperwork and deadlines to meet for the city, and at the same time he was monitoring sales and production for a product he had created.

He was meeting with city officials during the day and packing products at night.

He was spread thin and stressed out.

In a conversation, Wallace shared with me that he was overwhelmed – but considered both businesses “his babies.” There was just no way he could delegate some of the tasks.

By the time he “taught someone to do it his way” he could just do it himself.  (Sound familiar?!)

Sitting outside the situation – I could certainly see how delegating some of the tasks would be helpful.   Emotionally I understood his attachment – intellectually I could see the big picture.  He needed a break to be able to survive running two businesses!!!

So – we quickly made a list of the tasks he was doing during the day – and just brainstormed some ideas of where he could get some help.

  • High school students to pack products
  • A retired zoning official to help navigate the red tape
  • His neighbor, a stay-at-home mom, to answer his email and phone correspondence.

Then we discussed how involved the “training” would be for each position – and what the long term gain might be.

  • Training a high school student to pack products would be pretty quick.  Plus, the cost was fairly low.  However, he didn’t feel comfortable leaving the teenager in the building alone, so he would need to be in the building while the worker was packing.
  • The retired zoning official still had contacts with the city and already had the applicable knowledge.  So, other than Wallace clarifying his vision for the space, the training was minimal.  The cost was a little higher than he would like, however, this worker would only be needed for a short time.
  • His neighbor could answer the calls and emails from home so Wallace would not need to be in the same building.  Also, after a few days of answering emails and returning phone calls together, the “receptionist” would have a pretty good idea of what correspondence Wallace needed to put his hands on, and which she could do.  This position could be longer term if needed, and the rate of pay was within his budget.

Now – I’m sure your wondering which route Wallace took.  In reality – any of the three options would help reduce the amount of tasks on his plate.

Which really is the important part!

OK – I’ll tell you.  Over the course of 3 weeks, he actually implemented all 3.

Wallace started with the high school student.  Then after a week, he realized that while the student was working he could train his neighbor how to return phone calls and emails at the same time.  After a few weeks, he felt comfortable enough to leave both workers on their own.

Then, after an extremely frustrating day trying to get some permits – he “bit the bullet” and hired the retired zoning official.

Is Wallace’s life perfect?  No!  But he is certainly less stressed!

Your turn!  When have you delegated a task?  What were your keys to success?

Are you feeling like you have just a little too much on  your plate?  I’d love to help you figure out why you feel “so busy”.  Let’s chat!  I invite you to attend a no obligation, Strategy Session today.    Mastering delegation is a powerful way to seize control in our lives – and I can help.  I promise!