One question I receive quite often is; how are you able to get so much done when there are so few hours in the day? I usually answer with; I don’t waste any time sleeping. There will be plenty of time to rest when I am dead. While yes I do spend many hours working on all the different hats I have in the ring (usually about 16 hours a day), I spend little time being non-productive. I don’t waste much time watching TV or reading fiction. If I do watch TV or read it is usually something non-fiction or based on factual information that I can use to improve an aspect of my life. However, even though I do have a few weaknesses for mindless TV entertainment, I try to keep the time sitting in front of a TV to a minimum and am still trying to cut it out completely so I can gain a few more hours a week of productive time. I have often wondered if there has ever been a study done that correlates the relationship between hours of TV watched and a person’s average income and/or success. If anyone does know of such a study please share it with me, I would love to look at that research.
Now don’t get me wrong and please don’t start posting that I am missing out on life and family. Part of what I call productive time includes personal and family time that I schedule in the same as any other important tasks. I spend a lot of time with my family and several hours a week on myself. I have always tried to keep a well balanced life. But enough about how I schedule my time, let’s get to the meat of this article.
One reason I am afforded the luxury of being able to accomplish so much in short amounts of time, is because I don’t major in minor things. I have a phenomenal team around me, whose talents are exceptional. I have made it a point to surround myself with the best team in the industry and I know they have my back and the company’s best interest at heart. So I make sure that I delegate many things to this team and allow them the opportunity to shine. By empowering my team I allow them to feel the experience of hitting the homeruns and keep them striving for more. Also, by delegating tasks it leaves me more time to focus on places that I feel need my special attention.
So how should you decide what gets delegated? Good question! I don’t claim to have the perfect formula, however, I will share my method of deciding what to delegate. While there may be many more reasons, below are the three basics that I have used over the years to decide on what needs to be delegated.
- Don’t do any job you hate doing. You will only get frustrated, put it off until the last minute, and do a bad job once you complete it. Delegate it to someone who loves that job and is an expert. They will enjoy doing it and the end product will be exceptional.
- Don’t waste time doing something someone else can do. Too many times I have seen examples of executives spending time on tasks that anyone can do. You should only focus on things that require your level of expertise and experience. Just the other day I was speaking to a VP who told me he was delivering materials to the job site. This is a perfect example of wasted talents.
- Is what you are working on going to improve your business, the customer experience, or your team’s work environment? If it doesn’t encompass these areas then you are getting involved in the day to day operations and spending your time doing the job of your operations manager. If you spend time working in your business, no one is working on your business.
While I realize that these rules apply to business owners, the same logic can be used for whatever position you hold. You need to understand your role and make sure your time is invested in the tasks required to be successful in that role. Unless the job you are doing can only be done by you, you should consider delegating that task and focus your time on efforts that require your special skills.
Over the years I have had many managers that didn’t want to delegate tasks. In part they felt they had better job security if they were the only ones who knew how to do those specific tasks. I can tell you from a senior manager position, that is extremely frustrating and the easiest way to get on my bad side. Nothing in a business should be dependent on one person. As I have mentioned in previous articles, you need to have cross-training built into your standard processes. Your ability to properly build and implement a solid succession plan will gain more value than anything else you can work on when it comes to internal structure. It will also take a lot of pressure off your team and give a clear career path to each team member, which in turn, will make for a better work environment and better team morale.
So don’t get caught up in fear and stop putting the weight of the world on your shoulders. I believe that the true sign of a great manager is the ability to know what and when to delegate. So if you want to be successful and still have time for balance in your life, then you need to learn when to delegate or not to delegate, that is the question!