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The Keys to Delegation

Stephanie Shalofsky




Many of us face time management challenges daily, but few are aware that February has been named National Time Management Month. With our extremely hectic schedules and constant need or desire to be connected, dedicating the focus of an entire month specifically for the purpose of sharing tips and information that will enable all of us to better manage our tasks, calendars and lives is very valuable. One especially important time management skill to acquire is the art of delegation. Though email organization tips and advice on organizing paper clutter can help shave off a few extra minutes here and there, delegating larger tasks on your overflowing to do list is the key to truly managing your time effectively.

We have all experienced those days (or perhaps weeks) when there are far more tasks to be done than hours in the day to accomplish them. While it would be so much healthier to address the situation when your plate is full and overflowing, this is typically not the case for most people. Many times, we only consider sharing our workload once we have reached our breaking points. In any event, once you have decided to delegate some of your work, a review of your to do list needs to be done.  Here are some keys to delegation that will allow you to manage your time efficiently.

1. Prioritize. Determine which tasks must be done that day or week and which can be handled in a future week, month or possibly not at all.

2. Find the right person. Once the essential tasks have been identified, the question becomes who will do the work. You should retain responsibility for those tasks that only you can do. As for the rest, it is time to selectively assign responsibility so that the work will get done by the required deadlines.

3. Trust your staff. You really need to be able to depend on staff, co-workers or family members and to recognize that they will also be able to get the job done correctly.  When you ask others for assistance, you are giving them the opportunity to learn, contribute and be involved…. you aren’t just dumping a seemingly undesirable task on them.

4. Utilize strengths. One of the best candidates for the tasks that you would like to delegate can be a co-worker with the specific skill set needed to quickly and efficiently complete the task. Or it could be a colleague or family member who is familiar with what will be needed, so no further explanation is necessary and they can jump right on it. You can always delegate a task to a less experienced staff member and give them an opportunity to learn and shine. While some training may be required for them to successfully do the job, the investment in them is well worth the time spent as the next time there are tasks to be delegated there will be one more qualified candidate to take on additional work.

In order to be a successful delegator, you must first recognize when it is time to delegate some of your work. Take a few minutes to identify those tasks to be delegated. While organizing the paper clutter in the office may not be easily delegated, shopping for ingredients for that night’s meal could be. Find the right person for the job and then explain what needs to be done. These tips will save you time and will allow your office to work more efficiently.

Stephanie Shalofsky is the founder of The Organizing Zone, whose mission is to help small companies and individuals transform their combat zones into comfort zones.

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