So, you’ve decided it’s time to relinquish certain aspects of your business. Delegation is crucial to your overall business success, but I know how hard it can be to give up control and let go of certain responsibilities.
Before you begin to offload some of your work, you’ll have to face another tricky decision: how to decide what to delegate. Sometimes knowing the answer is harder than the act of delegating. Luckily, there’s a simple formula you can follow to make the decision process a bit easier.
The following strategy from Harvard Business Review will help you effectively decide what tasks to delegate, and what you should keep control of yourself:
At a certain point, everything that can be delegated should be; with rare exception. Conduct an audit using the six T’s to determine what tasks make the most sense to offload:
Tasks that are so small they seem inconsequential to tackle but they add up. They are never important or urgent, and even if they only take a few minutes they end up taking you out of the flow of more strategic work. For example, registering for a conference or event, adding it to your calendar, and booking the hotel and flight — on their own each of these things may not take much time, but taken together, they all add up.
Tasks that are relatively simple probably are not the best use of your time. Very straightforward tasks can (and should) be handled by anyone but you. For example, manually inputting a 100-item list into a spreadsheet and color-coding it, or updating the KPIs in your presentation deck.
Tasks that, although they may be important and even somewhat complex, are time-consuming and do not require you to do the initial 80% of research. You can easily step in when the task is 80% complete and give approval, oversight and/or direction on next steps.
Tasks that, although complicated-seeming at first and possibly comprising several smaller subtasks, can be translated into a system and passed along, with you still providing quality checks and final approval. For example, teaching one of your direct reports how to draft the presentation deck for the monthly all-hands meeting, and even how to be the one to deliver those updates to the team.
5) Terrible At
Tasks that not only do not fall into your strengths, but an area where you feel unequipped. You take far longer than people skilled in this area, and still produce a subpar result. For example, the visual design of those PowerPoint slides for the team meeting, or even hiring a professional designer for an upcoming presentation outside of your organization such as an upcoming TEDx talk.
6) Time Sensitive
Tasks that are time-sensitive but compete with other priorities; there isn’t enough time to do them all at once, so you delegate an important and time-sensitive task so that it can be done in parallel to your other project-based deadlines. For example, leaving your iPad on the plan after a flight (as regretfully I recently did); working to recover it before it goes completely missing into the airport lost and found abyss by calling customer service daily (with long hold times). Calling an airline to change seat assignments for the following day while you are in all-day meetings.
One of the central differentiators for determining what to delegate is checking in frequently (if not daily) to examine what’s on your plate and ask: What can you and only you do? How can you delegate the rest?
These tips will ensure key tasks are taken off your plate so you can focus on what matters most.
For similar tips and advice, head over to hbr.org.