get more done in less time

Get More Done in Less Time

by | Feb 3, 2010 | 0 comments

Don’t we all want to get more done in less time? Would it not be wonderful to have someone else to do those things I would rather not do? I could delegate, but that seems overwhelming also. And, what if I have no one to delegate to?

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons/walknboston [/featured-image]


Delegating work and chores can really add some horsepower to our productivity – for those who are entrepreneurs, as well as those who are working for the man.

When to Delegate

I write this now because I struggle with delegation both in my personal life and in my companies. I want to do it all myself, because I want to get it done my way and the cheap way.

However, I recognize that often I am NOT the best person for the job. Then other times when I do delegate, I wish I had not. So what is the secret? Here is what I have determined that seems to work pretty well.


How to Delegate

1. Define the desired outcomes

Knowing what I expect is the biggest mistake I make. Before you start to delegate, clearly define what you expect the outcome to look like. In fact, this should be done with ALL projects. In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen explains that many companies fail to decide on the desired outcome of the projects they undertake. This key element can really help you avoid many mistakes.

2. Decide who should do it

This is critical! Who you give the work to means how much or little frustration you will have during the project. Resist the temptation to delegate or contract work to a friend, relative, or other person who you know unless they happen to be an expert. Helping someone go into business or just make a few bucks is not a good way to get your work done. You will likely spend more money and have greater frustration. Instead – find the right person! I like to use Elance for a lot of electronic work I need done – I can check people out to see what they have done and what others say about their work. But always ask for references.

3. Communicate the desired outcomes

If you are like me, this is an area of many struggles. I assume people can read my mind – and they cannot (I really am thankful they can’t!!!).  We need to clearly state what we want the resulting work to look like. Best way I have found to do this is to attempt to be clear and then have them tell me what they heard. I do this until we both are saying the same thing. I do this even if it is written instructions. After all, many a lawyer makes his living trying to determine the intent of written documents.

4. Follow-up

Yes – you must follow-up. If it is a long project you need to set some dates (and put on your calendar) to check up on how things are going on the project.

And what if you have no one to delegate to? Try it anyway! Even in your day job – can you delegate some of your work out? For a wonderful exploration of this concept see Tim Ferris’s book The 4-Hour Workweek.

[reminder]That is my view of what works – a pretty simple outlook. Do you have anything I am missing – I am always looking to learn more.[/reminder]

About the Author

Dale Callahan

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