As a society that's obsessed with efficiency and productivity, it's no surprise that business owners and executives alike are obliged to cram their schedules full of meetings and work that lasts all day. Unsurprisingly, we tend to think of productivity in an individual sense, overlooking the big picture altogether. While we're searching the internet for solutions, trying every productivity hack or app in sight, the biggest driver for larger productivity is actually the delegation of work. "How does telling someone else to do my job count as a boost to productivity?", you might ask.
Although it sounds counter-intuitive, productivity is defined as getting more work (read: quality work) done in the same period of time. That means that delegating work does help speed up the process and free up any bottlenecks that may occur because there's just so much a pair of hands alone can manage.
While it makes sense to do everything at the start when you're bootstrapping and don't have the funds to outsource, there'll come a time where expansion is needed and it just doesn't make sense to do it all on your own. Growth in the business should bring more stability and enjoyment, not chaos, dread or worst - burnout.
The mantra of "move fast and break things" might work in some instances but you can't really move all that fast if you're being held back by too much work. Even if you're a manager or an executive in a traditional setting, delegation can also be the key to increasing your efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace.
Now I'm not suggesting you push your responsibilities to an employee and expect it to go well on auto-pilot. You'll need to have the skills to identify selectively who takes on the task or project based on the individual's skillset, expertise and interest.
We can be masters in every single area of business and that's why we end up hiring individuals with particular skillsets to fit those positions. That's the beauty of it. The ideal individual should be an expert and can quite possibly produce even better work than you can.
If you got it right and picked the right person for the job, all you need to do now is to provide quality control. Treat this process as collaboration where you see what has been done and add/edit the work as needed. Under no circumstances should you consider micromanaging. Being able to delegate shows that you can trust your employees to do good work. Otherwise, why did you bother to hire them in the first place?
Remember the times you were having breakfast and simultaneously replying to an email and checking on your newsfeed, all the time listening to your favorite podcast? You must be an amazing multitasker, right? Wrong! There's no such thing as multitasking. All you're doing is switching from one task to another fairly quickly. You might think you have a handle on it, doing multiple things at the same time as to squeeze in as much as you can within a short period of time. It may seem fast to you but that's not really the case.
All you're doing is hampering the quality of your work while doing LESS work as compared to finishing 1 task at a time. Yes, that's right. Less! Your brains need time (on average 15-minutes) to reorient itself to the task at hand before picking up speed again. Efficiency can drop as much as 40% during this switch. That's why delegation is important. You'll have more time to focus on what's important and to get more work done in the process.
If you truly care about your startup, business or department, it makes sense to delegate. Prioritize what matters the most and gives you and your team the most benefit. Work on those items while delegating the rest to your team. This shows them that you trust their judgement and they're doing what they were hired for. The only thing separating you from the shop next door is the culture you build within your office space. To get a great company culture, proactively find ways to bridge the gaps with trust and to concentrate on building a collaborative workplace.
Considering the bulk of work that needs to be done in a day, it's entirely up to you how much you can delegate. Whether it's presentation designs, cold calling, appointment setting or even data entry, there's always someone that can do the work for you. These are the tasks that need to be done but won't affect your margins directly.
How will you start delegating to improve productivity? If you're looking to outsource some presentation work, we at Mad Creative Beanstalk are at your service. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org