What I learned about delegating work and gaining time

Editor’s Note: It’s my pleasure to introduce Andy Goldberg as a contributor to the Beyond Startup blog. I’m excited to share his unique approach to entrepreneurial law, as well as his own insights as a fellow entrepreneur. Enjoy!

More Time, Just AheadWhat did you learn about yourself and your business in 2014? For me, in 2014, my first year of entrepreneurship, I learned a lot about delegation do’s and don’ts.

In developing this skill, I had to overcome a natural barrier to delegating. Like many entrepreneurs I did not think delegating was important. If I had even a few extra minutes in a day to get the job done, there was no reason to delegate. Other self-imposed roadblocks included:

  •  I always felt I could do the work better than others; and
  •  It would take me less time to do the work than teach somebody to do it (or maybe I just lacked confidence in my assistant).

However, I quickly changed. For me, I had to delegate to free up my mental energy to focus on tasks truly important to making my practice grow. My mind was full of so many menial tasks to be done, I could not even prioritize;  I had paralysis in starting and doing anything. Other reasons why I now delegate include:

  • I want my assistant to learn new skills (a crucial factor in job satisfaction);
  • It’s a repetitive task I don’t want to keep doing;
  • I can take time to look at the big picture of my practice; and
  • I can focus on only those areas where I add the most value to my business.

Techniques I Learned To Delegate More Effectively 

Along the way, I discovered a few ways to delegate more effectively. First, I stopped telling my assistant how to do the task (which simply resulted in her parroting my actions).  Now, I share past experiences and discuss what has worked and what hasn’t’ and then allow my assistant to accomplish the task how she best sees fit.  It’s the result that matters, not how you get there.

I learned asking someone to do something is much different than telling them what the result should be. Now, I give a clear example of what a good result would look like. For instance, preparing a document with specific information or an action plan, speaking with a client to gain certain information, or putting together specific information in a certain format.

For bigger projects, I break it down into smaller tasks. We agree on specific checkpoints to make sure we stay on track.

I make sure I’m available to give feedback or alter the course.  Assigning a task and walking away in is not delegating, it’s abdicating.

However, there are tasks that I still don’t delegate. These include:

  • Tasks that need immediate attention; and
  • Tasks crucial to the long-term success of my practice.

2015 Goals

I hope you can start 2015 by delegating small, easy tasks. Then, as you can get more comfortable, delegate more complex tasks. Your goal should be to make sure you are only doing that which is most valuable to your business and leads its growth. I hope these ideas make 2015 your best year yet.

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