“It’s just easier to do it myself!” you may think at times. In the short run, yes. But in the long run, no. It does take time to teach someone else to do the task at hand. But when you do take the time, you are multiplying yourself – whether at work, at home, or in other arenas.
For example, if you’re the only one at work who knows how to do a certain task, you may be interrupted from doing something much more important and urgent when someone else needs this task done. To that person, it might be urgent and important, but to you it may not be.
Are you guilty of feeling that you must be indispensable in order to keep your job? Your thinking may be, “If no one else knows how to do this, I can’t lose my job.” Not true, especially in these days and times.
Have you become possessive of your areas of expertise? Or do you think that no one else can do it as well? This line of thinking, however, leads to being overworked or inefficiency because you have to do it all!
If it would beneficial for others in the organization to know how to do this task, it would be a disservice not to teach them this skill. By building in check points as you delegate, your desire for quality will be satisfied.
The same concept works at home, as well. I am often tempted to put away the jam myself or wash someone’s dish and put it in the dishwasher. There are times when I do these things, but if I do them on a consistent basis, I’m training my family to leave all the work to me. And then I feel taken for granted and angry. Not a nice way to live! I’ve learned to give gentle reminders and occasionally reiterate what level of cleanliness I expect.
It’s also important to train our children in life skills in order to become independent one day. Even though it may not as convenient or as well done as when we do it, it’s necessary for their growth. It would not be fair to them if they don’t know how to do their own laundry, have some basic cooking skills, etc., when they leave home. The task may not be done exactly the way we would have done it, but it also leaves the possibility for the task to be done better or in a more creative way.
Delegating has a place in other arenas, as well. For several years, I organized the annual women’s retreat for our church. At some point, I realized I needed to make the various functions transferable. I asked our retreat committee to write up job descriptions for their various functions. Even though I could have written the job descriptions myself, I chose to delegate it, lightening my load considerably.
After writing my own job description and collecting the others, I put all the information into a three ring binder. As it turned out, we moved rather suddenly and I was able to pass on this notebook to someone else, so no one had to re-invent the wheel and the retreat continued seamlessly.
Delegating is hard to do at times, but it pays off if done well. It allows us to spend time on our priority tasks, to develop leadership in others and it keeps us from over-responsibility. Take some time to ask yourself, “Can someone else do this?”
Beverly Coggins is an organizing expert, speaker, and author of the 1-2-3 – Get Organized series. She also writes a daily blog on organizing your office, time, and home. Contact information: 330-922-0755.
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