Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group, recently wrote about how he gets through his workdays, which involves keeping “on top of businesses in dozens of different countries and industries.” Branson’s secret to success? Delegation.
Branson travels and works with his personal assistant, Helen, who is indispensable to him. In his own words, “With so much going on with my mind, having an extra memory is important. Before I ask her to do something, she can read my mind and know what it is I am thinking before I ask.”
Can you imagine what you could do with not one brain, but two brains at your disposal? With the right help, you could increase your productivity exponentially.
Delegation, done properly, requires finesse. So how does one who is not a billionaire delegate to increase productivity? Here are three tips to get you started.
Think About What You Would Want to Delegate
The first step is to think about the parts of your life that must be done, but that you do not have to do personally. Perhaps there are things in the office that can be done by other people so that you can use your time more productively. Or perhaps it would be more effective to delegate tasks in the home.
Experiment with delegating tasks both inside and outside of the office. People management skills are built through experience, and knowing how to select the right people for the right tasks requires the same type of skill set whether you are hiring an intern or hiring a nanny.
Think About the Parts of Your Life Where Delegation Is Worthwhile for You
After figuring out the parts of your life that you can delegate, the second step is to calculate the benefit of delegation versus the cost. That is, is it worth your time and money to delegate this task?
To put it simply, a person for whom money is scarce will likely find delegation worthwhile only if the extra time is used to make more money. For a person who has a surplus of money and for whom time is scarce, the time that they gain through delegation will likely be worth the money spent.
Delegate Challenging Activities
Remember that when it comes to delegation, one does not always delegate the easy work. In fact, it is wise to delegate the hard work. We do it all the time – hiring doctors, lawyers, and accountants to do things in which we lack expertise to free up our own time.
For workplace productivity, consider hiring a career coach with a strong reputation to advise you on your career. The benefit of an outside perspective can be enormous. Another option is to seek out a mentor. While mentorship is not within the traditional realm of delegation, through mentorship you can ask for advice from a benevolent “extra memory” and have the opportunity to offer your skills and experience to your mentor as well.
Essentially, delegation is sharing work – and increasing productivity through teamwork. That’s why smart people are so nice to the people who help them – they know that their team makes their work possible. Branson is no exception – in his article, he name checks a long list of personal assistants who have helped him over the years.
Now ask yourself: Are you maximizing your productivity through teamwork?
by Christine Arce-Yee