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Don’t Delegate? You Are Moving Too Slow.

This is a lie: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” It should be, “if you want to stay put, do it yourself.” If you are a business owner, leader, hell if you are just focused on growing, then this old pearl of wisdom is actually a hunk of concrete tied to your ankle.

Are you someone who says this? Or worse, knows it’s probably not best, but still low-key believes that you are the best one to complete all the tasks.  I mean if we are just talking amongst friends– we are just faster, right? Better, right? Oh I get it! I’ve been there. And it held me back too.

But there is some truth to the awesomeness of how you get things done, amiright?

You’ve got a certain way you want things done, a certain je ne sais quoi about the way you do your do. And the proof is in the pudding You’ve gotten to where you are by hard work, grit, and maybe even doing it mostly yourself.

But here is an old pearl of wisdom that is still true—what got you here won’t get you there (imagine me gesturing towards the distance ahead). You, the skillset you have, the time you have, the grit you’ve used, got you here. Yay you. But grinding your gears for the next push won’t get you to the next level.

So, what’s the fix?

DELEGATION, my friend.  I know, I know. Who’s got the time?

Hear me out before you roll your eyes and close out this screen. I will break down some myths around delegation and give you 6 simple steps to help you delegate like a pro. The result will give you back your most precious non-renewable resource – your time.

Myths and Misconceptions

Do these thoughts often trickle into your mind, especially in the 11th hour?

“No one does it as well as I do.”

“I don’t need help.”

“I can do it quicker myself.”

Now, I get you. You’re a dynamo, a firecracker, a force of nature, a real chest banger. But here’s the thing:

Getting to the next level of success isn’t about doing everything yourself.

It’s about building a kickass team and harnessing the power of collective effort. And yes, even when at first it slows you down. For massive growth, you need to embrace delegation – and you must also trust the delegation to work.

If you are still worrying about something you delegated, then you have not truly delegated.

It’s still chipping away at your capacity.

The Real Cost of Not Delegating

Here is when I saw what others won’t– you’re more than capable of doing everything yourself. I want to say that upfront because no one else wants to tell you that part. I will. Come to April, she’s gonna be straight with you…

I remember for years people would tell me “But you can’t do everything yourself!” And I was like “what the hell do you think I’m doing right now?!”

I was doing everything myself, for years. But it cost me. I paid a big price, and yes it even cost me speed, money and success. Go figure.

The cost of not delegating is too great and in the long run its slowing you down too. You’re burning through valuable time and energy.

Let me give you a tangible example of what I see today as a Business Adviser. I see so many small business owners managing their own financial books.

Now that’s fine if you run a CPA firm. If you are wildly passionate about spreadsheets. If you dream in P&Ls.

But most business owners’ dreams don’t involve formulas. They hate managing the books. When I asked them why they do it—“well it will take too long to train someone else.”

Now this idea they have on it taking too long, has largely gone untested for years. They just keep doing them. Maybe once they tried to teach their niece how to do it. She messed them up, it wasted a bunch of time and ultimately made Thanksgiving awkward after firing her. (spoiler alert, don’t hire family to run your books… hire and ACTUAL bookkeeper for this).

But here is the stone cold truth, delegating at first does take more of your time.

The first time. The second time, and even maybe the third. But- if you are doing it right, eventually that time commitment goes down. Eventually you free up more and more of your time. And by the way- its not just the time you are getting back from doing the actual task (in this instance bookkeeping), it’s also the time you’ve spent dreading doing the task.

This is what I call occupying mental real estate.

You are thinking about it. Dreading it. And your brain isn’t free to do the cool stuff that only you can do because your Boardwalk property is occupied with low-value tasks. Boo. Go straight to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 100 dollars.

Know Your Dollar per Hour

What’s an hour of your time worth? Here’s a quick-and-dirty formula: Take your gross annual income, divide it by 2,000 (a rough estimate of working hours in a year), and voila! That’s how much you’re currently worth an hour (remember this is quick-and-dirty calculation- I could change your “dollar per hour rate” in just one phone call). Once you have your rate, the cost of not delegating suddenly becomes more apparent.

Ready to Delegate? Get Your Flippers, & Dive In!

Let’s break down the steps for effectivedelegation. Picture a task you’re ready to unload. The first step is finding the right person. Don’t limit yourself to your immediate circle; consider looking for an independent contractor or a dedicated service to do the task.  Bonus if they are reoccurring tasks (like bookkeeping). Less training for you upfront, more long term and predictable benefit from the delegation.

6 Factors for Delegation

Now, here’s where the rubber meets the road: Setting expectations. When you delegate, you must be clear on these 6 factors.  The what, who, where, when, why, and how. This isn’t about micromanaging but giving enough detail for the delegate to understand and own the task. For them to claim the mantle of Task Destroyer. Have them take notes as you’re delegating so they can refer to the notes if questions arise. If they come back for questions and they didn’t review their own notes first- that is a redirection moment for you not a failure in delegation.

Here’s a simple template I call 5W1H:

Who: Who’s in charge? Who can help get this done faster/better?

What: What needs to be done?  This is the actual task.

Where: Where will the task be carried out?  Is it a physical space- ex. the conference room in the office. A digital space- ex. we have the needed docs in Slack.

When: When does it need to be completed?  Give them a due date even if there isn’t one. It’s okay to be generous with the timeline, it’s not okay not to give one.

Why: Why is this task important?  This part a lot of people skip. It’s not only about the tactical steps you give them, its the Why behind it. This information is important because without it, they can’t make on the spot decisions. If you simply give them 5 steps to follow, but they don’t know why– then when something doesn’t go according to plan- which it often doesn’t- then they can’t improvise. Without it, they come back to you and takes more time.

How: How should the task be carried out?  If there is a specific preference to how you like something done. No you don’t need to tell them EXACTLY how to do it each time, but if you are particular about something- let them know you are particular about it.  For example, my team knows when I delegate anything with the written word on it— if there is a grammar mistake- I lose my ever-loving mind. I am, eh-hem, particular about the written word. I’ve been a writer since I can remember, and I am particular about those pesky words on a page.  Meaning- if you are sending over something to me, even a rough draft, I want the language to still be precise. I know, I know, I’m untenable. A monster. But we make it work. So this should be included in my How. “Rough draft but avoid mistakes in language or I’ll hyper focus on that and drive everyone nuts.” Something like that.

Now once you’ve worked with someone for a while, the details you need to provide are less and less. They get you. They know where the files are. They know you like to stay at Hilton properties ideally in walking distance from the speaking event, etc. But until then, invest time upfront in the delegation process to save yourself and them time on the backend. Without the 5W1H method it can put undue stress on the delegatee and- they come back and ask you more questions! The very thing you are trying to avoid.

Example- this could be an email or Asana task I send:

Who: Doria the Task Destroyer!

What: Book me a hotel for my speaking event

Where: Dallas near the convention center

When: Dec 5-7th

Why: I have a keynote, but I want to be able to walk to the event and not uber

How: Use my Hilton points, I like 2 queen beds so I have a an extra bed to lay all my black outfits out even though I pick the same one each time, and I prefer a room with a view.

Remember, you don’t have to answer every single one in enormous detail—but you do need to give enough information so that the person you have delegated to is set up for success, doesn’t fail, and doesn’t have to keep coming back to you.


Two things to do right here, right now:

1.     Identify one task you can delegate this week and write it down.

2.     Apply the 5W1H framework to your task.

Protip: I don’t suggest starting with your spouse and the dishes—it’s a guaranteed disaster.

Don’t skip the execution of this article. What are 2 things you can delegate today that move you closer to your goals? Don’t let this article become just another piece of content you’ve consumed – I don’t want to distract you, I want to help educate and execute! Then you’ll feel lighter, move quicker, work smarter, and have more time for what truly matters. You’ve got this!

Last thing, if this article helped you- please forward it along to someone who could use it. We’d also love to have you join us on the podcast April Garcia’s PivotMe released every Thursday. Now go forth and ROCK THIS!

This article first appeared on April Garcia’s LinkedIn profile:–pzdcc/


#Aprilgarcia #pivotme #delegation #timemanagement #smallbusiness #5W1H

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