Time management is a skill that does not come naturally to many people. There are a lucky few for whom instinctive control over scheduling ensures that things get done and get done on time. However, a need for control and efficient management of time are two different things. A sense of control can actually hinder more than it helps.

Many business owners or managers naturally want to ensure the work gets done for themselves. For control freaks, time management skills usually involve a little letting go, otherwise known as delegation. Without this essential skill, the time of the company at large is not being used efficiently.

A change of perception

If this is you, the first step is to alter your perception of what delegation means. For some, delegation can seem like an undermining of power. In truth, delegation is not a giving away of tasks but the supervision of them. This shift frees up the delegator’s time for more important tasks that require more skill.

Once this first, internal step is taken, two further things need to be prepared to make delegation work: your team and your schedule.

  1. Assess your team

    Delegation won’t work if those taking on your tasks aren’t capable. You need to be able to have trust in your team. Team performance is usually the best indicator of the abilities of your staff.

    To get a thorough idea of the tasks you can delegate, assess the list of your staff and note the tasks they have taken on previously. These include things like team management, finances, invoicing, customer relations, HR, and anything that is relevant to your business. Assess their performance in these areas. A few workers should stand out as capable and trustworthy.

  2. Prioritise tasks for delegation

    Some tasks can’t be delegated. For efficiency, it’s important to categorise the tasks on your schedule.

    The best way to start is to list your tasks in descending order of importance. The most important tasks will stand out, while the less important ones tend to be added at the end of a list. Next, set this aside to note what those tasks involve. The most important tasks can still be delegated – for example, paying the power bill. Create a list of personal tasks and tasks that can be given away.

    Ignore the importance of tasks at first. Your need to control may lead you to take on easy tasks that you feel are important. Over time, you can ignore the first part of your list completely and concentrate only on the tasks that cannot be delegated.

The final key to delegation is communication. Communicate with your staff about the outcomes you need. From there, you should leave the rest to them, with some pre-defined check-in times.