Women make up almost half of the work force in the United States, and women own close to 10 million businesses. Not only are there more women joining the workforce, the working mother has become the norm, with 70% of mothers with children under 18 participating in the work force and 75% of those are employed full-time. Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40% of households with children under 18, with these numbers projected to increase over coming years.
With numbers like these, it is increasingly important for women to find the proper work-life balance, while also investing in themselves as business women. It is also vitally important for women to know when and how to delegate tasks when their plate is full.
1. Know your needs
In order to effectively delegate, you must have a clear picture of where your time is being spent. Additionally, you should have an even better idea of where your time may be wasted. You can do this by tracking your time and tasks throughout the day.
Take a few days and track everything you’re doing, and how long it takes—you may be surprised which tasks are the biggest time drainers. This exercise can help you identify a potential list of tasks to delegate or eliminate from your day.
2. Have a prioritization system
After you review where your time is being spent, try to recognize which items you can delegate and which you can’t. This may take some trial and error to nail down—and that’s perfectly okay. When you detail your day, mark which items are considered high priority for you personally. For example, high priority for may be something like watching your child’s soccer game. These are the things that only you can do, and outsourcing it to someone else may cause bigger issues. Being present in your kid’s life is something only you can do—hiring a nanny won’t always be the solution.
On the other hand, you should make note of those that tasks are low-priority for you personally. In other words, those tasks that need to be accomplished, but don’t necessarily carry the same weight if they aren’t completed by you. An example of low-priority tasks may be home repairs—these need to be completed, but won’t cause issues if you don’t do them yourself. Let someone else complete those low-priority tasks so that you can put your full effort into those higher-priority tasks.
3. Put your faith in others
One of the biggest barriers to successful delegation is not trusting that other people can complete a task as well as you can. This limits your overall ability to delegate and can lead to the inability to delegate at all. Remind yourself of the reason you’re outsourcing in the first place. Understand that, in the long haul, trusting others only serves you. When you put your faith in others instead of doubting their ability, you’ll find that it usually turns out okay.
4. Stop expecting perfection
When you delegate, try not to have a clear-cut expectation of the outcome. Assume that the task may get completed in a new way—and try to realize that’s not a bad thing. You may be surprised how great it feels not having to worry about the task at hand. Someone else’s process may be slower and their strategy may look different. The important thing is that the task is done well. Perfection can blind you to what’s truly important and will only make it harder to focus on the priorities that matter.
5. Communicate well and often
When you start delegating, be sure to set clear expectations and goals early and often. Don’t be afraid to spell out exactly what needs to be accomplished. If you don’t take the time to do this from the start, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Make sure your instructions are clear and concise. If something needs to change, communicate with people. Keep in mind that other people can’t read your mind. If you want something done differently, be open and honest about it.
6. Trust the process
Understand that when you first start delegating tasks, it may be harder than completing it yourself. It will take time to fully communicate your needs, and other people will need time to get comfortable taking on the project. It may seem overwhelming at first, but trust the process—you may find that your life becomes more meaningful and balanced.
About the Author: Paige Mitchell