Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

"It's just easier to do it myself!" I think at times. In the short run, yes. But in the long run, no. It does take time to teach someone else to do the task at hand. But when I do take the time, I am multiplying myself.

For example, if I'm the only one in my organization - whether it be my business, volunteer work, or at home - who knows how to do a certain task, I may be interrupted from something much more important and urgent when someone else needs this task done. To them it might be urgent and important, but to me it may not be.

For several years, I organized the annual women's retreat for our church. At some point, I realized I needed to make this job transferrable. I asked our retreat committee to write up job descriptions for their various functions. Even though I could have written the job descriptions myself, I chose to delegate it, lightening my load considerably.

After writing my job description, I put all the information in a three ring binder. As it turned out, we moved rather suddenly and I was able to pass on this notebook to someone else, so no one had to re-invent the wheel.

Some people feel they must be indispensable in order to keep their jobs. The thinking is, "If no one else knows how to do this, I can't lose my job." Not true.

Sometimes we become possessive of our areas of expertise. Or we want to guarantee that the job is done in a certain way and we think that no one else can do it as well.

This line of thinking, however, leads to being overworked or being inefficient. And if it would benefit others in the organization to know how to do this task, I would be doing a disservice not to teach them this skill. Building in check points insures quality control.

At home I am often tempted to put away the jam myself or wash someone's dish and put it in the dishwasher. There are times when I do these things, but if I do it on a consistent basis, I'm training my family to leave all the work to me. And then I feel taken for granted and angry. Not a nice way to live! I've learned to give gentle reminders and occasionally reiterate what level of cleanliness I expect.

I've also made the time to teach a skill or a segment of a skill, so our girls will be prepared to be on their own some day. If one of our foster daughters has no experience in cooking, for example, I work with her - making sure she reads the entire recipe and measures correctly. I take a deep breath if she spills sugar on the floor and remind myself what is really important. :-)

Something may not be done exactly the way I would have done it, but that leaves the possibility for it to be done better or in a more creative way. As I learned in cross-cultural training, different isn't bad!

What are you struggling to delegate?