Are you drowning because you are doing too much?
Are you drowning because you are doing too much and having difficulty letting some of it go? Finding enough time to meet all of the demands of work and family life is a challenge for most of us. If only there were more than 24 hours in a day, maybe we could get it all done. Or could we, really? Is time really the issue, or is it more about our focus and beliefs? Successful people place the greatest priority on activities and actions that move them closer to their professional and personal goals. They let the rest take a backseat until later, or they delegate it, or they say “no” to it all together.
So how do you keep your head above water? Start saying “no” to things that don’t move you closer to your goals. Consciously ask yourself before taking on a task, “If I do this, will I be a step closer to achieving my goals?” If the answer is “no,” then don’t do it. This sounds simple, but many people find it difficult to say “no” especially to customers, friends, family and co-workers. Think about it in these terms: Saying “no” to ______ means saying “yes” to ______. Saying “yes” to ______ means saying “no” to ______.
Do you need a life preserver? Be clear about the things that only you can do and find a way to delegate or outsource the rest. Delegating effectively requires not only trusting in others, but also in trusting ourselves to do it effectively and to be able to let go of control – and this is scary for most of us. Others may not complete the task exactly in the manner that we would do it, but if it gets done to the level of satisfaction that we requested, then it’s a job well done.
To delegate effectively we must be clear about:
- What we want done
- To what level of satisfaction
- Who should do it and who’s accountable for it
- What’s needed to complete the task
- What happens if it doesn’t get done
- The deadline for completion
- Our expectations for how often they should check in with us on the status of their progress.
Delegation takes time upfront, but it pays off big time in the long run. By taking the time to teach others to take on some of our duties, we free ourselves up for more of the things that move us closer to our goals and prevent ourselves from drowning in tasks. We also give others an opportunity to grow. Being successful and effective does not mean we have to do everything ourselves.
“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and Wisdom to know the difference.”
– Serenity Prayer