How to delegate tasks

How can delegating tasks make you more productive?

Maggie Pancheva
Nov 23, 2017

Tasks delegating in order to be more productive but in the end all you did was spend more time completing the work?

This is a guest post by Julie Desk.

And of course, your colleagues keep coming back to you to validate and verify certain parts of the task. In the end, you have to do the whole thing all over again. It’s less than efficient and frustrating for everyone.

So what’s the best way to avoid delegating the wrong way? Here are a few tips to help you through it.

Delegate to be more productive

1. What exactly is delegating and delegating tasks ?

Before going into detail about delegating properly, let’s go over what the term actually means. Oxford defines delegating as Entrusting (a task or responsibility) to another person.”

With this definition, the idea of responsibility in delegation is inherent. In fact, when you delegate a task to a person, you give over the responsibility of completing the task, and therefore the ability to make decisions. This is why it’s so important to trust the person you delegate to.

It’s the difference between delegating and managing. When you “manage,” you order someone to complete a task, but are still in control of what happens. Alternately, when you “delegate,” the person taking over the task is fully in charge of the task, from A to Z.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do” – Steve Jobs

You also have to highlight the difference between delegating to save time and delegating to motivate team members or increase their skillset.

Take, for example, a manager who assigns tasks to their team. There is always a learning phase that implies making decisions and taking risks, and sometimes making mistakes (which can be a good thing, as it’s by falling that you learn to walk). It’s the responsibility of managers to increase their team’s skillset by giving them interesting projects. But you have to understand that sometimes that requires reassuring them, guiding them, and giving the person time to understand the task.

After the learning phase, managers can delegate tasks and effectively save time.

2. While delegating tasks, which one is the best to become more productive?

Here are a few tasks that you can delegate to become more productive.

Menial tasks

There are a number of daily tasks (often administrative ones) that are repetitive and time-consuming. For example, filling in expense sheets on excel, organizing meetings and managing your agenda.

You can always delegate tasks to other people, but the best thing to do is to successfully automate them! In fact, menial tasks are often uninteresting, and delegating them to colleagues can transform daily work into meaningless work.

With the arrival of tech, a number of solutions have appeared to automate these tasks and make it so that each employee can focus on what really matters.

Identify the tasks you repeat often and look into automating them in order to save time.

Tasks that you don’t know how to do or that aren’t a part of your responsibilities

Once you’ve identified the tasks you want to automate, it’s important to also focus on delegating the tasks that take up too much time, if:

  • You don’t have the required skills to complete your tasks. Wanting to do everything yourself is a mistake. The goal is to know how to manage your resources in order to achieve the best results. If accounting takes up too much time and you don’t really know how to manage it, then why not hire someone as an internal or external accountant to do it?
  • The task isn’t a part of your usual responsibilities. Let’s take, for example, web developers that you ask to manage your website, even though their main job is to develop the platform sold by your company. These developers add more value to your product by developing it, so you should hire an external web manager to take care of the site.

3. Who should I delegate to?

Delegating requires trust. That’s when choosing the right colleague becomes important.

  • Does the colleague or freelancer know how to complete the task in question?

If you’re dealing with external freelancers, tools, or agencies, check up on their references and experience. Find out if it’s possible to do a test-run to ensure you get a satisfactory result. This will reassure you of their capabilities to complete tasks, so you can delegate with peace of mind.

If you’re dealing with a colleague, it’s important to take the person’s seniority into account – you can’t delegate the same tasks to a junior as you would a senior. A junior can easily take on the tasks for which processes are already clearly defined, whereas a senior team member can use past experience to define and set the processes themselves.

  • Does the colleague or freelancer have the means to complete the task in question?

Have you met people who are unable to say no? Either in fear of upsetting someone or because of their enthusiasm in taking on and completing any task. Whatever it is, delegating tasks to people who are already overbooked can only be counterproductive. Don’t forget that delegating doesn’t mean getting rid of a task: if you give the task to someone who doesn’t have the time to take it on, it’ll fall back on you in the end!

The financial aspect is also important when working with an external freelancer. We have a tendency to focus on the price of the service offered, and not the return on investment. Thinking about whether something is expensive or not is a natural reflex when delegating, but it is only worth it if the time saved is as valuable as the money spent on the service.

To whom should you delegate tasks

4. SMART objectives!

It doesn’t matter what type of tasks you delegate or to whom you delegate them, as long as your project objectives are clear. We often discuss SMART objectives as a good base to make your goals clear and concise. It stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Acceptable
  • Realistic
  • Time-sensitive

In order to improve collaboration and communication, whenever you delegate a task, think about project management platforms. Sign up for a platform with integrated SMART objectives, so that whenever you wish to delegate a task, you can properly describe it so there’s no ambiguity regarding what needs to be done.

Want to be more productive? Ready, set, delegate!

Julie Desk, is an AI-based virtual assistant who schedules meetings for you so that you can focus on what really matters.

Try it for free and change the way you work