Tuesday Time-Wasting Tip-Off #11: How You Delegate Every Day But Do Not Realise It

Welcome to the new Tuesday Time-Wasting Tip-Off, several hours late because I spent my entire day designing and building cabinets and bookcases as part of my “enforced vacation time” away from the office.

This week, delegation of your crap to someone else.

Perhaps I should take my own advice someday and delegate the building of bookcases to someone with fewer thumbs and more skills than I possess.

Pay Someone Else To Clean Up Your Crap

I have too much crap to deal with. You have too much crap to deal with. We all have too much crap to deal with. We have so much crap to deal with it is a wonder that anything ever gets done at all.

Well there is plenty of opportunity to have someone else take care of your crap for you. Chores, cleaning, organising, home improvement, anything and everything can be outsourced.

Okay, not everything, but most stuff.

Learning to effectively delegate tasks is one of the hardest skills you will ever learn. It ranks right up there with flying a jet fighter or filing your own business taxes. The number one fear that almost everyone has might well be “public speaking” but I think I speak for many people when I say the number one concern of “delegation” is “loss of control.”

00335 But we delegate almost every day of our lives, ”Take out the trash,” “Pick up the dry cleaning,” “Get lunch from the deli,” “Appointment at dentist,” “Pick kids up from piano practice,” “Call gardener about problem weeds,” “Call accountant about yearly extension” and “Book baby sitter for Saturday.”

How many times did delegation take place back there?

They were all examples of delegation; they were all examples of having someone else deal with your crap for you.

There are so many reasons to have someone else deal with it.

You can have someone organise your stuff, whether it be at home or office, and not only that, but catalogue it as they go for home insurance purposes. And, you can even have them partially sort your stuff too; deciding what to keep and what might need to be thrown out. Having someone else do this for you, rather than doing it yourself, means less emotional attachment to the items being organised and sorted. Once your stuff is better organised you can figure out what in the discard pile can be tossed out a lot easier than you can right now.

Hiring a home organiser, a house cleaner, a gardener, a baby sitter, a dentist, an accountant or any other person for a chore or task you can delegate means that the person doing the job is concentrating solely on the task you have assigned them. They are not distracted by Fark.com (or least, if they are on your dime, they had better not be), the television, some other household chore, or the unread magazine that you really wanted to read. You gave them a task, you wait for the results. Magic happens in between those two points that takes care of the problem.

I bet, when you have to do a chore you would really rather not, you have a tendency to cut corners. Nobody will know you missed sweeping out behind the washer and dryer, nobody notices if the bathroom sink was given a quick wipe down instead of a proper cleaning, nobody will care if your bed is not made when they come to visit so long as your bedroom door stays closed. But the person you hire is a professional and being paid for the service, they are performing, because of this they are less likely to cut the corners you would to save you a few extra minutes. Hypocritically but fantastically, you can hold the people you hire to deal with your crap to a higher standard than you hold yourself. You are paying for it, demand that it be done correctly. The professional you hire will want your business again (if they do not, they are not professional), they will be unlikely to cut corners, and they will aim for customer satisfaction to get your business again.

Repeat tasks and chores, such as yearly taxes, laundry, housecleaning or vehicle maintenance ensures that whatever needs to be done at regular intervals actually happens when it is meant to, not when you get around to it.

Whatever it may be, we are all better at something than someone else is, or at least, I hope we all are. Dentistry, dry cleaning, cooking, housecleaning, auto maintenance, software development, graphic design, writing, the list goes on. But, whatever it is you are good at, you are equally poor in some other area of your life. Hiring experts can fill in that knowledge gap. Frankly, I know jack about the mechanics of laundry and dry cleaning and fluffing and folding, nor do I care to learn, so I get someone else to do laundry for me.

Hiring the expert laundry person, dentist, auto mechanic or web designer allows you to concentrate on the areas where you can be successful and productive and deliver value to other people and let everyone else concentrate on their area of expertise to deliver their value to you, easier, cheaper and more effectively than you can do so yourself.

There are some chores and tasks, such as auto repair, that just requires specialised equipment not generally available at reasonable cost to the common layman. I do not have room for a hydraulic vehicle lift in my driveway no matter how much I actually want one. Similarly, I do not see much point in spending $1,000 or more on a really high-end, professional steam cleaner. A steam cleaner that I will use twice a year, and find it a chore that I will avoid doing regularly and properly after the first time, when I can just pay someone else to bring their cleaning equipment to my home for 1/20th of the cost and have whatever cleaning needs to be performed, done quickly, cheaply and expertly.

Without realising it, we delegate all the time, we believe we suck at it, we think we are afraid of it, we avoid it whenever possible, but every day, we delegate, and we do not even know it.

Once you have delegated some of your daily crap to someone else you can dedicate your newfound free time to something far more valuable and productive, like, reading that magazine that has been on the coffee table for the past five months.

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