Because of the pandemic, you probably find yourself with more time on your hands. Or perhaps it’s the opposite– you have even more on your to-do list! You’re working from home, and home life is bleeding into your work life.
I’m here to tell you something important– don’t stop delegating. It’s so tempting to do all you can, because you’re at home anyway or because you have time on your hands. But no. Don’t stop delegating.
Are you delegating enough?
In my previous Six-Minute CEO podcasts, I’ve talked about delegating more. And it’s true, you need to delegate more!
And now, in this time when businesses are learning to pivot, it’s even more important. Are you delegating enough? And if you have started delegating, keep doing what you’ve started!
Let go of perfectionism
Perfectionism makes the idea of delegating hard for us, doesn’t it? We’re natural perfectionists. Our profession demands perfectionism. As a result, we have this incorrect belief system that no one can do anything as well as we can. And if it wasn’t up to our standards the first time, we’d better just do it ourselves.
I’m here to tell you those thoughts are completely incorrect.
There are many talented people who can do things as well as you can, and there are some people who can do them even better than you can. They’d even be faster and more efficient at them.
I know that it’s hard for us to accept this, especially when it comes to our legal skills, but it is really powerful once you do acknowledge and accept it.
It is really powerful to say, “Other people can do this as well as I can, and I’m going to let them do it.”
How to delegate
Perhaps your days are different now you’re working from home, or with your entire firm going virtual.
So the first step to start (or restart) delegating is to observe your day and take note of everything you do.
Examine the tasks you’re doing each morning, afternoon, and well into the evenings.
- Break it down. See what’s taking up your hours.
- Every time you get up from your desk to do something, take note of what you did, even if it was to feed the dog.
- Every time you open a new browser tab on your computer, take note of what site it was and what you did, like checking or replying to your emails.
Once you have this list of tasks, ask yourself. ”What can I delegate?
Are you prepping packets? Do you find yourself writing a brief? Writing a brief is something that someone else could do for you. So could answering simple questions over the phone.
There are a lot of things that most of us do in a day that someone else could do, so I really encourage you to start by looking at how you spend your time and examining what you can delegate.
Give extremely clear instructions
What I often see happening– and it happened to me too– is once we delegate, we say, “Don’t talk to me about it. I don’t want to deal with it again.”
If you think delegating it means you don’t want to touch it again or answer questions about it, you’re setting it up to fail.
When you delegate, give extremely clear instructions. Be prepared to do so. You can document the task with bullet points, or screen capture it with video.
I know it can become frustrating sometimes, having to give instructions. Your brain will start saying, “Oh my gosh, I could have done this myself by now instead of explaining and/or creating this instructional video.”
Don’t listen to your brain’s complaints and frustrations. Remind yourself that it’s faster for you to delegate with specific instructions than it is to delegate and say, “Figure this out.”
If you do that, I guarantee you’re not going to get the results you want, or you’re going to get interrupted with questions at some point. So the clearer you can make the instructions, the better.
Manage your expectations
Again, remember to curb your perfectionism. And I mean this as it applies to you, not your assignee. You’re not going to be a perfect delegator the first time you do it. And yes, your assignee won’t nail your task perfectly the first time either.
If you delegate a task and it goes awry for some reason, and it doesn’t get done the way you wanted, you felt like you weren’t clear enough, or you felt like your assistant didn’t follow your instructions, don’t throw in the towel.
Realize that this is a skill. There is going to be trial and error. There’s going to be some frustration when you get started, but you are setting yourself up for success later if you keep delegating.
The more you delegate, the better you get at it, because you get to know yourself and your staff. As you progress you’re able to set up a system of what works best for you, and how you can delegate even more.
Ongoing tasks take ongoing refinement
If you’re going to delegate an ongoing task, like your email organization, it’s going to take some time to be completely set up and run completely independent of you.
But while you continue delegating, you also learn what it takes to delegate tasks efficiently.
You gather instinct and experience on what types of tasks need to be covered in written instructions and what needs to be documented on video whenever you delegate something.
Still, you have to accept the fact that delegation takes trial and error, and even though you have gotten good at it, the task might still end up with someone who turns out to be the wrong person, or not the best one, for that task.
You have to be aware of that and just keep delegating. Get to know your team’s strengths. Reassign if you must. But don’t stop delegating!
Definitely hire an excellent writer for your briefs. There is absolutely no reason why you need to write your briefs. Especially if you own your own law firm, you have a lot of other tasks that you should be completing instead!
Have time on your hands? Use it well. Market. Focus on your clients and growing your law firm. Most everything else can be delegated.
If you can believe it, I have even more knowledge to share on this topic! If you’d like to learn more about delegating, sign up for my Six Figure Solo program! Six Figure Solo now comes in three tiers – Executive, Solopreneur, and CEO. Sign up here!