Written by Maren Kate, co-founder of Zirtual.
The average person looks at their day as a zero-sum game. They see a 24 hour pie and then deduct slices for work, sleep, family and play, eventually they are left with zero hours to burn.
The problem is that our days aren't pie with only so much yummy-goodness available to squeeze out of them. Instead each 24 hour segment can stretch exponentially if you leverage the power of delegation & integrate 3rd party help into the picture.
The worst part of this delusion is that so much of that pie goes towards basic tasks that someone else could easily do for you. Think of all the little things that come up during the day that sink your time without producing significant result:
- sorting email, regurgitating recurring responses, unsubscribing to lists
- organizing your schedule, coordinating with people you'll meet during the week
- planning travel, searching for a cheap airfare, finding an open hotel room on a holiday weekend
- researching for a blog post, power point presentation or report
- planning out meals for the week & writing up a shopping list
All of these tasks suck up good chunks of your day but produce little value in comparison to the epic time sink they demand. There must be a better way, right?
This is exactly how I felt when I stumbled into the world of delegation, virtual assistants and outsourcing. One day I was simply overwhelmed by the amazing amount of low-level tasks that simply had to be done, but that provided me with so little gratification. I started researching ways I could delegate these tasks to other people, in order to regain my independence and refocus my time on the big picture things that mattered.
This is when I discovered the wonderful world of outsourcing & delegation. Instead of spending weeks learning how to tweak and edit my Wordpress blog I hired a virtual assistant in the Philippines who for $6 an hour would do it for me. Instead of spending endless hours researching different marketing tactics for a client I found a virtual assistant in Florida who'd do the same work for $20 bucks.
Delegation is a simple concept really, it means handing off a task you need done to someone or something other than yourself with the express intention that they'll complete it.
When you wash your clothes you delegate the task of hand scrubbing each blouse to a washing machine. When you turn over 20 reports for reading, editing and summarizing you've effectively delegated what would amount to hours of your precious time to someone else.
The beauty of delegation is that it suggests a specific price that each hour of your time is worth. Think of it this way, if you make $100 an hour as a graphic artist then every time you do something else (say deleting 250 twitter followers in 30 minutes) you just wasted $50 of time on a task that could be simply delegated for $5.
Delegation also frees up more time for you to be creating, earning & adding to your business and life. Time that wouldn't exist if you were stuck doing the menial but mandatory tasks our world is filled with.
So next time your facing a pile of work that you not only don't want to do but know won't add huge value to your life - pass it off to someone else via delegation. There are plenty of people in the world who would happily take your boring work & turn it into an income stream for themselves.
Remember the old saying: one man's tasks are another man's treasures.