One of the quickest ways to burnout is trying to do everything yourself. You need to be able to recognize what is absolutely necessary for you to be doing, and what you can give others to do. In fact, good delegation can result in improved productivity, efficiency, and reduced stress.
In what follows, are tips for delegating.
#1 – Always be very clear about what you expect
If you do not do this, then the work that gets done is surely not going to match your expectations. Be very specific. For example, if you want someone to write a letter for you, be sure to tell him that you expect an introduction, a conclusion, tips written out in point form, saved in doc format, and so forth. You may even want to give him an example of another letter so that he can see what you are talking about.
At home, if you are delegating some of the chores to your children, be sure to provide them with a checklist that reminds them of everything that you are expecting them to do. For example, if one of your children is responsible for cleaning the bathroom, then be sure to list all tasks that need to be completed such as wiping down the countertops, cleaning the sink, changing the hand towel, etc. Otherwise, without this list, something is sure to be forgotten.
#2 – Create standard operating procedures
If you plan to delegate use of a particular type of software, for example, you might want to document step by step how to use it or what you need done. An affordable program that would allow you to document procedures is “Clarify”, as it allows you to take screenshots and add text explanations.
#3 – Do not over-delegate
You need to recognize the difference between the tasks that require your input and those that do not. In other words, delegate those tasks that do not require your expertise, but you do the work that requires your skills and expertise.
An example might be an Occupational Therapist working in a nursing home. The Occupational Therapist is the only one with the knowledge and expertise to prescribe the right kind of wheelchair and cushion for a resident who is leaning severely and is at risk of long-term postural issues, but it is not necessary for that Occupational Therapist to be fixing the wheel locks on the wheelchair when that can be delegated to maintenance, a Rehab Assistant, or the equipment vendor from which it was purchased.
#4 – Continue to be involved even when you delegate
Do not expect just to hand off a task to someone, and expect it to come back to you a month later exactly as you wanted it. To ensure that the work gets done the way you want, be sure to check in on a regular basis with the individual that you are delegating the work to. This will ensure that if there are any problems, you catch them early so that they can be corrected. In saying this, you also have to be careful that you do not micromanage everything either. Otherwise, you are setting both of you up for frustration and failure.
#5 – Show your appreciation
People want to feel appreciated, and like they are valued for their input. Be sure to say “thank you,” and show your appreciation to those you delegate your tasks.
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