Imagine you are shipping something across the country — family heirlooms, a dining set, an old loveseat for your son, the recent college graduate. Now, imagine when the guy driving the truck arrives, you provide fuzzy directions — a town, but no street address, your son’s first name only, no deliver-by due date, no hint of how to get there. You slap him on the back on the way out the door, “You’ll be great, buddy, just figure it out.” Sheer madness, right? This is how people delegate tasks all the time.
By all measures, delegation is a challenging time management skill. People often lament — “by the time I explain it, I could just do it myself” or “every time I delegate something I have to re-do the work anyway.” At the root of blurry direction are usually two feelings, either a belief that your guidance might cramp the other person’s style; or worse, “I don’t know what I want, but I know it when I see it” (fourteen words sure to make anyone with services-for-hire shudder).
Staying vague is costly — you waste bundles of money paying people who don’t produce what you want or need, or redoing the work 10 times, as you change your mind. You also pay in gobs of time — taking over tasks that weren’t on your to-do list, stealing focus and energy you can’t afford.
Whether you’re delegating at the office, bringing on a landscaper or hiring a photographer for your daughter’s upcoming nuptials (as I am), click here for three ways to improve your “guiding” skills on the Beyond Today blog.
New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern is an organizing and time-management expert, business productivity consultant and speaker. Her company, Julie Morgenstern Enterprises, is dedicated to using her philosophies and methods to provide a wide range of practical solutions that transform the way people and companies function.