Productivity Tip: How to Delegate Work Properly

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Are you overwhelmed with work and want to increase your productivity?Image of phrase, "Do I dare to delegate?"

Have a capable assistant, colleague or team ready and willing to help you out?

The solution to this problem is easy, but can be difficult for many people to solve.

Yep, that’s right. Today’s post tackles the productivity conundrum of (gasp!) delegating work.

Below are some tips to help you take the plunge and become a productive delegator.

Know when to delegate.

I could probably write several long posts and maybe even a book or two about when it’s a good time to delegate a task, errand or project, but for the sake of today’s post I’ll keep things brief. It’s probably a good time to delegate when: you are swamped with work, you physically won’t be able to complete something in a certain amount of time, your efforts could be spend more productively working on another task…and any other number or combination of pressure-filled situations. The first step is to realize you can’t do it all and need help, as much as it might pain you to admit it.

Think before delegating.

While it might be tempting to give someone a random task to “get them out of the way” so you can continue on with your work, the fact is you’ll be wasting a lot of time, both your time…and theirs. Take a moment from your work to really stop and think about what you want to delegate. You’ll save yourself from cleaning up messy communications and improperly done work later on.

Clearly define responsibilities.

Here is your chance to get something of value from someone else, but in order to make the most out of that something, you must clearly define what is it you want back. Be as specific as you can when delegating work. What are you delegating? An entire project? Some research? An errand? When does the work need to be done by? How should it be completed? Where should the work take place? In what format do you need the work returned to you, and so on and so forth.

Practice, practice, practice.

Like anything, it takes practice to delegate well. If you are having trouble delegating work in the first place, you might have to do a little self-reflection on why it’s difficult for you to hand over work to someone else. Think you have to do it all, all the time? Don’t think you’ll have control over a project? Think the work produced will be crappy? Identifying the root of your problem will help you better address your fears and allow you to make practical adjustments to ease your concerns.

Now to you…what difficulties do you have in delegating work to others? Perhaps you have no problems doing so? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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3 Responses

  1. Rosemary
    |

    What a great post! So many think that others are mind readers, and know just what they want and how to do it! With a little pause to actually lay out what is needed, and making time for possible questions makes for a win-win situation!

    • theorderexpert
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      Thanks! Yes, you really can get a great return on delegated work if you just invest a little bit of time to make things clear from the start. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks very much for the comment.

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