I’ve been thinking about what it is that stops us from delegating. Recently we decided it was time to overhaul our back garden. We wanted to lift up our old decking and lay a new patio. You can imagine the amount of work this was going to be! My partner was happy to do the work himself, but I was worried about the amount of time and energy it would take for him to complete the work. In the end we decided we should outsource the work to a contractor. Yes, it would cost more money, but this way we would be using skilled labour who could efficiently complete the job in a day or two, rather than the weeks of back-breaking work my partner would have to do to get the job done in the same manner.
When it comes to delegating our work, there is often hesitation, but you know that you have way too much to do and are buried deep within layers of work; it gets so bad that there seems no way out from under it. You know that delegation is important and will save you time and yet it is sometimes so hard to do. So, what is stopping you?
You are not sure what to delegate
Take some time to work out all the tasks that you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Would additional help alleviate any of the pressure from you? To start you off, some of the tasks I regularly perform include diary and email management, invoicing, travel arrangements, reports, proofreading and other generally administrative tasks.
It is quicker and easier to do the work yourself
This may be true, but would your time be better spent on doing something else? Is it essential to the task that you do it yourself? Delegation may take some time upfront to demonstrate what needs to be done, but once you have set up the right processes and built a relationship with a virtual assistant who you trust, you’ll value the time you have given back to yourself. And remember, by delegating work to a VA, you are transferring it to someone whose skills are most likely to be a better fit for that task.
They can’t do the task as well as me
Establishing clear communication will help to dispel this fear. For example, on weekly calls with my clients I update them on the various projects that are ongoing, confirm what has been booked into their diary and what is outstanding. Getting a daily or weekly summary of tasks performed and what is outstanding will provide peace of mind that your work is getting done.
It is not uncommon to think your way of doing certain things, e.g., compiling an expense report, is the best or only way to do it. However, delegating tasks means accepting that your admin support’s style may be different, and they may also introduce greater efficiencies into the process.
Fear of failure
What if the person you delegate to can’t do the work? When you work with a VA, we provide you with a highly developed skill set. Initially you may want to oversee the work done, but if we are any good, we’ll happily take the reigns up quite quickly and work away in the background completing the tasks you need to the standard required.
What will clients think if work is completed by someone else?
These days using a VA is commonplace because it is such an efficient way to manage your workload. Most business people are used to dealing with us, and as one client of mine advised, “It makes me look like I ‘work smart’ by having assistance.”
How to delegate
This circles back to having great communication between everyone involved. For example, if an enquiry comes in to one of my clients, they will reply to say that I, as their assistant, will now take over with the confirmation of meetings and to confirm next steps. By reporting to my clients on a regular basis we can discuss the tasks they wish me to do, and how best to proceed.
Usually, this is key stumbling block to delegation. However, ask yourself this: is your time well spent handling admin tasks, or would it be better to outsource these to free up your time to focus on your clients, and to earn more money for your business?
Ultimately, delegating well improves the efficiency, productivity and time management of your business. It gives you the time and ability to focus on higher-level work to give you and your business a competitive edge. You just need to decide what needs to be done, then contact us at JMVA and tell us what you need assistance with. We’ll work with you to ensure all your tasks are executed proficiently and professionally.
I’m off to relax with a cup of tea on my new patio!