Stress Management Series – Section 8 – Delegate!
Jack Welch didn’t empty the trash cans at GE. Steve Jobs doesn’t answer all of Apple’s emails. And I bet Meg Whitman never wrote a single piece of code for eBay. Instead, these high-flying execs knew that in order to take their companies to the top, they needed to delegate and outsource.
Put simply, if you try to do it all yourself, your head is going to explode. Why not accept that fact upfront and consistently focus on the parts of your business where you bring the greatest value?
Though delegating will save you tons of stress in the long term, in the short term it can be a little anxiety-producing. Here are some tips if you’re just starting down the delegation path:
Choose time limited tasks.
The best jobs to start delegating are those that have a concrete beginning and end. It’s much easier to ask someone to reproduce CDs and mail them for you then it is to ask them to “improve your inventory program.” Start with tasks that you could easily create a checklist for and that have a start-to-finish quality.
Set measurable goals.
Define what “completion” looks like for you, and share that picture with the person to which you’ve chosen to delegate the task. For example, say “When you’re done, all the CDs will be reproduced, packaged, labeled, and shipped, and you’ll have a receipt from the shipping company for me.” The more specific you are in the end result you desire, the more likely it is that your helper will do a satisfactory job.
Focus on the outcome, not on the process.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when they delegate is they micromanage the process. Every step of the way, they’re looking over the helper’s shoulder, making sure everything is done “right.” This is going to cause multiple problems and is just so WRONG. You’ve heard the saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” While I hope you’re not asking your helper to scalp poor Fluffy, it’s still true. Worry less about HOW the work is getting done and focus on the end result. You’re not saving time if you’re managing every step of the process. Remember, you’re trying to make less work for yourself, not more. Trust your judgment – you chose someone you could depend on, so now depend on them.
Focus on “good enough” not “perfection.”
This is a tough one for work-at-home entrepreneurs, who tend to be of the “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself,” school of thought. To save yourself time and stress, you’ve got to let go of that expectation. Some jobs don’t need to be done perfectly – it’s fine if it’s just done at all! There are no awards for the person who does the “best” job of mailing your CDs because just getting them out the door on time is good enough, right? How much better can you get?
Evaluate the efforts and fine tune as necessary.
There’s always room for improvement – on both sides! Ask your helper where you could have done a more effective job of managing the process, and be open to her suggestions. Then if you see some ways she could work more effectively, suggest them in a constructive manner. Make sure your review of the process is OUTCOME related, not PROCESS related. You’re worried about the bottom line here!
Now that you’ve gotten over the fact that you can’t do it all and are delegating some tasks, you’ve got a few minutes to breathe deep and take a look at yourself. Have you been eating right and exercising? Are you sleeping well? Do you take any time at all for yourself? Perhaps you never thought you had the time to take care of yourself. Maybe you never thought it was important to take care of yourself.
That’s all going to change. You have a lot to lose if you don’t take care of YOU first and foremost. Let’s explore the reasons why and the ways how you can start on a path to better overall health and fitness.
Stress Management Series
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I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California.
Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis