How to Decide Which Tasks to Delegate

Many of us know the benefits and aim of delegation — to build teams that can share the workload so that you do the highest expression work that only you can do. But in practice, we hoard and bottleneck out of a variety of fears: the work won’t be done up to spec; it will take me longer to assign than quickly complete it myself; this is the work no one wants to do; it will cost too much; what if this person can’t be trusted; and so on.

At a certain point, everything that can be delegated should be – with rare exceptions. The skill is learning how to delegate; even better than you do right now. Even if you think you already delegate effectively, to an extent, you still have room for even greater efficiency which will result in peace of mind, whether on the home or work front.

So how to decide which tasks to delegate? Conduct an audit using these six T’s to determine what tasks make the most sense for offloading:

Tiny: 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.

Tedious: 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.

Time-Consuming: Tasks that, although 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 the next step.

Teachable: Tasks that, although seem complicated and possibly comprise of several smaller subtasks, can be translated into a system and passed along, with you still providing quality checks and final approval.

Terrible At: Tasks that not only fall into your area of weakness, but an area where you feel unequipped. You take far longer than people skilled in this area, and still produce a subpar result.

Time Sensitive: Tasks that are time-sensitive but compete with other priorities; there isn’t enough time to do them all at once, hence you delegate an important and time-sensitive task so that it can be done in parallel to your other project-based deadlines.

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?

The team at Actuate Business Consulting, a knowledge based management consulting firm in India, believes that even if you’re not sure on who to delegate to, or even how, start by capturing the what. Over the course of time, make a note of tasks that fall under the 6 T’s described above and delegate, then watch as your mind magically starts creating solutions for next steps from this new vantage point of space and self-awareness.

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