Stress: Bad .. Delegation: Good

Are you buckling under stress and a demanding workload? Are you constantly in a hurry and worried about not having enough time? Are you trying to do everything yourself?


You may think that doing everything yourself ensures that it is done on time, and done well, but you are mistaken. The truth is that by trying to do it all yourself you are not only burning yourself out, but you are also more likely to make mistakes, because of stress.

Delegation is an essential part of leadership, but it has to be managed properly to get the best results.

Do Only What Matters the Most

How much of what you do each day must be done by you? Not everything, even if you believe so. Most of your time should be spent on tasks and projects that really matter; tasks that move you towards your goals, grow the business, or increase revenue. Doing the filing, paying the bills, or sending out thank you cards to clients might be relaxing and somewhat enjoyable, but is it an essential part of your role? No, it is not. That is why you contract with a virtual assistant.

Help Others to Grow

Think of delegation as an opportunity for other people to grow and develop, even if you are delegating to a virtual assistant. By delegating tasks to other people you are giving them a chance to learn something new, or to improve a weak skill. It also helps to have someone to operate most of the business should you ever be off ill, something that cannot happen if you never delegate.

We often say, “If you succeed, then we succeed,” and this cannot happen unless there is some delegation of tasks.

Train and Explain Before You Delegate

Two common reasons for not delegating are that you don’t believe someone will be able to do a good job, and that you don’t have enough time to train them. Without giving someone an opportunity they will never be able to grow and perform as you want them to.

Start by delegating simple tasks that don’t require any training. Explain clearly what needs to be done, and what outcome you expect. Follow up afterwards by reviewing the results, adjusting if necessary, and discussing what aspects you weren’t happy about. This gives the other person an opportunity to improve next time, with them receiving constructive feedback rather than just criticism. If you are handy with video, use it as a training tool. Proficient with Google+ Hangouts? Use a combination of video chat and screen sharing features for training purposes.

As they prove themselves, and continually improve on their results, you can begin delegating more complex tasks. Where necessary schedule time in advance to train the person if necessary, while also giving them enough time to complete the task. If you are able to complete something within two hours, don’t expect the same from them the first time.

Create a System for Highly Complex Tasks

Some tasks only need to be done every few months instead of daily or weekly, and this poses a different challenge. Use any free time you have to begin compiling a list of instructions for these tasks, outlining the steps you usually follow. Instead of delegating this task the next time it comes up, work with your colleague or virtual assistant, explaining each step as you complete it. It will make it easier for them to attempt on their own the next time if they have seen how you approach this specific task.

Delegation is a slow process. Don’t attempt to suddenly delegate everything, but rather delegate a new task every week, remembering to review the results on the first few occasions. You aren’t trying to get rid of all your work, you only want to lighten your load allowing you to focus on more important projects.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: Stress by Bernard Goldbach | CC BY 2.0