CoachDeclute Blog

Knowing the Art of Delegation

Posted in Articles by coachdeclute on August 24, 2010

How are you feeling? Is life way too busy and are you still in juggling mode? Are you keeping the balls in the air but feeling drained and full of fear that something big is going to slip through the crack. Are you on the road to burnout? Perhaps you have been trying to get back on track but it just isn’t coming together. Your family and several people who work with you have commented on your apparent stress level. You know they speak from a place of concern but it annoys you anyway! You have always been the one everyone turns to and knows they can depend on. What is going on? What important piece are you missing?

Whether you are an entrepreneur or work for a large or small company, it is important to know your limits and develop strategies for success that don’t regularly include 12 and 15 hour days. In planning your time you have to make room for you….for your health, fitness and overall well being, including family and friends.

Often the missing piece is knowing the “ART of DELEGATION”. I sometimes call it the Fine Art of delegation!

Too often we have thoughts such as:

•    It will only get done right if I do it ….
•    By the time I show someone how to do it, I can have it done…..
•    If I’m not needed for that piece I may not be as important…..
•    It will only take another half hour – I’ll stay and get it out of the way

In the start up phase of your own business, you will be doing everything from telephone answering and scheduling to banking to licking the envelopes to figuring out the marketing plan to doing the bookkeeping to client presentations and then of course you have a personal life too. Well yes there is a time and a place. However, if your business venture is worthy of succeeding now may be the time for change. Your energy and time must go to the work that requires your unique brilliance. To the work that will ensure the growth and long term success of your business.

So let’s say you need an assistant who can handle phones, scheduling, banking and bookkeeping. This may be a part-time need at first but the important thing is that you start to hand over some of the stuff that can be handled by a competent assistant. Perhaps a virtual assistant! To find such a person you can check –

•    Your sphere of influence
•    Network with others in your industry who may know a good candidate
•    Go to such websites as www.workopolis.com, or www.kijiji.com or www.elance.com
•    Use a reliable employment agency

Diligently interview and reference check to find the right candidate.
Get them started immediately. This will be the first step and one of many that will follow.

Sometimes it is scary but before long you will understand how important it is that you begin to build the infrastructure that will allow you and your business to grow!

In an employment situation it is different but the same!

•    There are many responsibilities that a subordinate would love the opportunity to learn.
•    By delegating them you would be able to more quickly advance the company projects that require your specific expertise.
•    The success of your business unit and each of your team members is contingent on everyone on the team contributing using their unique abilities.
•    Again it may be scary to give up certain tasks but your next promotion is dependant on having a successor who can easily and competently fill your shoes

There is another part of delegating that is important. Know how to effectively use outside services and consultants rather than hiring staff. In entrepreneurial ventures it is a critical part and certainly the same holds true to varying degrees with small and large companies.

In specialized areas hire by the project or for the hours needed. Areas such as:

•    Website development
•    Financial and business planning
•    Legal assistance
•    Business trends and market analyses
•    Brand and logo development
•    Marketing and advertising plan/execution
•    Social media management
•    Human resource development

And depending on your personal situation you may have the need for assistance in an endless number of areas such as:

•    Child care
•    Shopping
•    Meal preparation
•    Pet care
•    Vacation planning
•    Social planning
•    Home organization
•    Home renovations or redecorating
•    Wardrobe management

In all arenas of life there are opportunities to delegate tasks so that we can do what we do best and love to do. This also allows us to live life authentically with time to enjoy the most important people in our lives and the activities that keep us in harmony.

Start delegating or delegating more today!

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Where Does All The Time Go?

Posted in Articles by coachdeclute on August 10, 2010

Now how many times in a week do you hear that? Time just slips through our fingers in the most mysterious way…..

If you struggle with the issue of time and effective time management I am going to share some excellent strategies for improving the situation.  Like all worthwhile things it does take a concerted effort. You probably have to change some daily habits and you may need to use the Daily Activity Tracker as a tool in the process. For those not familiar with this tool please send me a note and I will send you one with brief instructions.

It is often easy to think that we are most amazing because we can juggle a ton of things at a time – often referred to as multi-tasking. In any given day we may juggle all of those tasks and never be focused enough to finish any of them. Now how amazing is that? When this happens we sigh and say “Where does all the time go?”

Then those of us who are determined and probably workaholics, work on into the night so we can put a couple of check marks on our TODO list. Important activities outside of work are neglected and we feel tired and unhappy time and time again…

Many of you have heard me speak about being a follower of Strategic Coach where I learned about Free Days, Focus Days and Buffer Days. That learning made a tremendous difference to my life hence my applause for this approach. I also acknowledge that for some people this approach needs some modification – so with many clients I have worked on ways of combining it with another approach that many recommend called Time Chunking.

So here is how to start –

  • Review your goals and the time frame for completion of each
  • Prioritize and make your list for the week ahead ( 7 days)
  • Then divide this week’s items between the fun/leisure stuff, the planning stuff and the action stuff that is your Unique Brilliance Work – the stuff that makes you money or provides you with some other measure of success
  • Decide how much time you will spend on each of these categories (fun/plan/action) and when you will be fully engaged with each of them
  • If any task seems a bit overwhelming, break it into smaller chunks always with the associated time allotment
  • Plan appropriate, but very specific breaks for coffee, lunch, checking emails, returning phone calls etc. Allow enough time and frequency for emails and phone calls so that you will not be disappointing a client or missing a business opportunity.
  • Now you have your week planned and in your calendar
  • Use some tool to keep you focused on time. Easy to do with your Blackberry or a simple Kitchen timer

The importance of committing to your plan for the day and week cannot be overemphasized.

If you are not working with 24 hour time blocking but breaking a day up between “fun” and “planning” for example – adhere to the time chunks you set out. There is nothing wrong with enjoying an afternoon of golf as long as that was the plan.

If you can’t resist a spontaneous invitation to golf with a friend one afternoon, do what I call “a time chunk swap”! That means look at the balance of the week and move the planning you were supposed to be doing (instead of golfing) that afternoon into another time block that was meant for fun stuff. This ensures that you allocate the overall time appropriately. You will get to the end of the week with everything completed as planned – hallelujah!

A few other tips for maintaining focus and improving your time management:

  • Honour your need for concentration and close your office door or seek a private space when work demands it. This also applies when leaving the office to enjoy some fun stuff. Shutting down will refresh and invigorate!
  • If you work in your home, designate specific space and office hours. Explain to the family or others that you need privacy and the ability to concentrate in this space and time. If you have children help them understand that this allows you to be free and completely focused on them and their activities at a specified time. Keep the promise.
  • Turn off the sound on your communication device(s) during focus time and/or if you are in a meeting with peers and clients. Announce at the beginning of a meeting that you will have a break at (specify the time) so everyone can cover emails and calls in a timely fashion. This approach will ensure that people in your sphere of influence respect each others time – and learn about time management too!

I hope you find these ideas helpful. I would love to hear of your success or other strategies you have implemented to effectively manage yourself and your time in the comments below.