A few days ago I shared how my client (we’ll call her Berry) started to create new habits in her life using routines.  I’d like to visit another piece of the “what’s working now” conversation we had – and focus on the success she has created recently through delegating.

Like many of my clients, Berry is a complex individual balancing many roles  . . .

mother                                 grandmother

wife                          educator

landlord                                  business owner

musician                              spiritual guide

transportation supervisor                     friend 

to name a few :)

One of the areas she wanted to work on was creating time in her day-to-day schedule to make room for the activities she is passionate about.  But, when balancing all these roles (and the activities that are inherent with each role) how could she possibly create the block of time?

When I work with clients on delegating, I suggest following a 3 step approach.

  1. Build Awarenesswhat activities are you currently doing?  What are some possible resources to delegate to?  How do you want the finished product to look?
  2. Implementation – Decide on an activity to delegate, a person to delegate to, then DO IT!
  3. Evaluation – How well is the process working?  Were you clearly able to communicate your expectations to the other person?  Do you need to tweak the activity?  Do you need to tweak your idea of the expected outcome?  Did you chose the right person for the job?  Are you using the “found time” to pursue your passions?

Current success for Berry looks like this . . .

  1. Build Awareness – Berry looked at the activities she did each week, and focused on the ones were causing her to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious.  Two activities that came to mind immediately were preparing meals and cleaning the house.  Then she took a look at her resources – she has two teen children living in her home as possible delegation resources.  Finally, she decided what she wanted each outcome to look like.
  2. Implementation
    • With meal prep – out of 21 meals each week, she decided to delegate the prep work and implementation of 4 of the dinner meals.  She also decided that each member of the home can create their own weekday breakfasts and lunches,leaving her responsible for 7 of the 21 meals (and one night is take-out night!). 
    • Similarly, with household duties – Berry assigned specific days of the week for everyone to complete their own laundry (thus allowing each member of the family to plan ahead for when the washer and dryer would be free).  She also delegated cleaning the common areas to her other teen child.  They each described with “clean” looks like – so expectations are similar.  Now, Berry is responsible for cleaning the master suite, completing her personal laundry, and completing the grocery shopping.
  3. Evaluation – During our phone conversation Berry confirmed that she chose the correct person for each job.  Her one teen is very interested in food prep and nutrition and enjoys researching and preparing meals.  The other teen is more productive in a clutter-free and clean environment, so performing the house cleaning duties is actually a task he enjoys.  Berry is feeling much less overwhelmed by the cooking (she felt she was in a rut – cooking the same meals over and over) and actually feels some of her creativity in the kitchen returning with fewer meals to focus on.  She is also feeling much less stressed regarding the house work.  Previously, she felt that “as soon as she finished one area, it just got dirty again and she couldn’t keep up”.  Now that someone else is responsible, she no longer feels the area needs to be “perfect”.  A “lived in” look is ok!

As Berry and I were talking through the evaluation phase – we noticed that her original focus for delegating these tasks was to create room in her schedule to work on her passion.  However, what we realized was that she still hadn’t spent any time working towards this goal.  Did this mean that delegating meal prep and household duties was unsuccessful?  No!  What she realized was that both of these activities were creating additional stress and anxiety in her life – causing her overall and day-to-day quality of life to suffer. She now has more ENERGY to pursue her passions.  She now has more TIME to pursue her passions.  She will now make it a priority to schedule the time in her calendar (or create a routine) to work towards her dreams!

What benefit can delegating an activity bring to your life?  Will you?  I’d love to hear your comments below!