How to Work Fewer Hours and Get More Accomplished

Most of us are not interested in working more hours. But we spend way too much time doing things that others could do. This leads to a couple of problems. First, our truly important tasks are procrastinated or even ignored. Second, we end up working longer hours in order to get everything done.  How can you get everything done and still be home by dinner?  Delegate. Get started by absorbing the following principles:

Work Fewer Hours

1.  Delegating is a critical skill for every leader

If a leader does not delegate, he/she will always be bogged down with menial tasks and details. This will lead to avoidance of the truly important and to an overworked leader.  As a leader, give away everything that you can. In giving away as many things as possible, you will be freed to focus your attention and energy on the things that are most important. What should you give away? If someone can do something better than you, let them do it.  If someone else can do something as well as you, let them do it. If someone else can do something 80 percent as well as you, let them do it.  If someone else has the potential to do something 80 percent as well as you then train them to do it.

2.  Delegating will not bring you immediate gratification

Ever feel like giving something away takes more time than doing it yourself?  Giving a task or project away often takes an upfront time commitment. But the initial investment will free up a lot of time later. Perhaps a task takes you two hours per week to complete. Let’s assume that it takes you 6 hours to train another person to do that same task. After your initial six-hour investment, you have freed up dozens of future hours. But the initial time commitment is often required in order to free up much more time later.

3.  Delegating does not mean that you get to disappear

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make in delegating is failing to follow-up. Handing something off does not allow you to disappear. After delegating a task or project, make sure to establish a plan to follow-up.

4.  Delegating does not mean micro-managing

The goal of delegating is to hand something off. Micro-managing the person who was given the project will likely cost you the time that you were trying to free up and will frustrate those who work under you.  In delegating, clearly communicate the desired result, but allow flexibility in how the project is accomplished.

5. Clarify a level of delegation

Blogger, Michael Hyatt in a recent Podcast, articulated 5 levels of delegating that are quite helpful.

  • Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do.
  • Level 2: Research the topic and report back
  • Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options and make a recommendation.
  • Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did.
  • Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best.

Though we often start at level one, as a leader my goal is to be moving toward level 5 with those who work with me.

What do you need to delegate so that you can focus on what you and only you can do?

 

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Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.

  1. I really agree with your philosophy on delegation. I think alot of leaders, supervisors, managers are actually threatened by their employees so they keep it close to their chest, not allowing their employees to shine in such a way that the “so called” glory escapes the leader. I’ve worked for managers who don’t give much away because if there’s an opportunity to do an ‘op ed’ or publish an article or present at a national conference, they want to be in a position to say they executed that project. So sad that they’re missing the opportunity to be blessed through observation of successful mentoring. But the saddest reality for these leaders is that their actions are most often motivated by selfish pursuit and even insecurity. Thanks for highlighting this as a value in leadership. Many, even in Christian circles, need to adopt this as a routine practice. In God’s kingdom this is called discipleship.

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  2. […] One thing is for sure. You would become much more effective at delegating. […]

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  3. […] As a Pastor: What are the things that you and only you can do? Train other people to do everything else. John Maxwell once said “You can never overestimate the under-importance of nearly everything.” Did you go to Seminary to design bulletins, put together web pages, and do power point presentations? What can you and only you do? Different pastors have different gift sets so this answer is not the same for every pastor. Spend your time in the areas where you are most gifted and find someone else to do everything else. Not sure where to start? READ THIS. […]

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