Do you ever feel overwhelmed by everything on your plate? It seems like you’re hit with a new task every few minutes. You can barely keep up, much less get ahead. And worst of all, you can’t get free to focus on your high-leverage work.
It’s even harder when you don’t have a staff. With no one to delegate to, you fall further and further behind. Trust me, I know the feeling. Even though we have a good-sized staff now, it wasn’t always that way. But whether you’re a solopreneur or simply not in management, it is possible to delegate, even if you don’t have a team.
Here are three ways to do just that, so you can focus on your most important work:
- Negotiate out of previous assignments. This might seem counterintuitive, because follow-through is important. But there’s an opportunity here if you consider the interests of the person who gave you the task. Let them know you’re willing to complete the assignment, but state why you think it might be best for them if you don’t. Maybe there’s someone more qualified within your organization. Maybe someone else can do it faster because you’re so backed up. Offer solutions that keep their best interests in mind, and then help recruit a replacement for yourself.
- Ask for some volunteer help. If you’re not sure who the right match is to take on a task, ask for a volunteer. People love to make a contribution. There might even be someone around you who can exercise a hidden skill they don’t get to use very often. Be careful not to dismiss the value of this ask. People really want these opportunities.
- Use variable-cost alternatives. You might not be able to hire an additional full-time person right now, but you don’t have to in order to get the help you need. There are all kinds of on-demand services available, whether it’s for getting your groceries or completing administrative tasks like processing your expense reports. It doesn’t have to be an ongoing commitment; you can either pay a one-time flat rate or an hourly fee. Whatever the task, ask yourself, “What’s it going to save me if I don’t have to do that?”
You can delegate things off your plate, even if you don’t have a staff or team around you. But it starts with your mindset. It’s easy to shut ourselves down before we give ourselves room to think of other possibilities. So think outside of the box. Pick one of these ideas and begin applying it. You’ll be blown away by the results as you start gaining control over your workload—and your life.