April 30

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Delegation is key to maintaining focus

By Ralph Varcoe

April 30, 2020

productivity hacks

1.8   Get Someone Else To Do It

Productivity hack no.8 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


In this productivity hack we'll look at delegation - how and when to do it.


In the previous sections 1.6 and 1.7  we talked about delegating your urgent but not important tasks.

It’s really easy to say that but how do you do it in practice?

Remember how we talked about a sense of guilt when saying “No” to people because you may naturally be a people pleaser, or just used to saying yes. You’re probably going to feel a similar level of guilt about getting someone else to do the thing, whatever that is.

There are three ways of getting someone else to do the task:

1.    It is their job anyway

Imagine you are asked to put together a report for your boss giving an overview of what your sales team has been up to. You could build this all yourself from what you know already and ring around the team to get their updates, or you can provide them a template and get them to fill it in. Your job is to consolidate it or better still, given you are becoming a delegation god(ess), ask one of the team to consolidate it for you. It’s already the team members’ job to update you so why not get them to do all the hard work for the report?

2.    You appeal to someone’s good nature

You have a deadline for your work (your work/your goal) and this other, now urgent, thing needs to happen too. Can your spouse or partner do it for you? Would your friend be able to do it instead? Most people are happy to do favours for each other but it is a two-way street, so remember that when you do have time you can offer to do something for them, even unprompted (see Section 6.5 for more ideas on this).

3.    You pay someone

Your friend or partner is unlikely to want do your tax return for you. But your accountant can. It’ll cost you but this specialist help will ensure it is done right and on time, leaving you with the time to focus on what’s important for you.

Always ask someone politely and with good grace. Don’t demand they do it for you. Don’t tell them you want them to do it because it’s not important to you (how great would that make them feel?).

Do let them know that you would do it but have some pressing commitments that you need to complete, but this other thing needs to be done and ask if they would do you a favour.

Then, at some point in the not very distant future, do something unexpected and helpful for them.

You’ll be surprised. Most people are only too happy to help. If you ask nicely.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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