About Lisa Crilley Mallis

Lisa Crilley Mallis works with focused, successful business owners who still want to achieve more without giving up their nights and weekends. For more than 15 years, she has provided customized, practical solutions to everyday challenges as the owner of Impactive Strategies, located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. To learn more, visit www.ImpactiveStrategies.com.

Learn to Delegate: Determine Which Tasks You Can Let Go and Concentrate on Your Zone of Genius

You have 168 hours each week to design your life. You use some of the hours for sleeping, some for exercising, some for eating, some for showering, some for work, and some for family—but when you run out of your 168 hours, you are out!

Time is the one commodity you can’t create more of. Once it is gone, it is gone. You can always make more money; you can’t make more time. Or can you?

You are limited in what you can accomplish each week by the mere fact you only have 168 hours. However, there is no limit to what can be accomplished each week if more people pitch in to help.

When you effectively delegate some tasks, it’s like adding 10, 20, 40, 80, 800 hours to your week. It’s almost as if you are creating more time each week.

When I work with clients, one of the first things they share with me is they just aren’t sure what they can delegate. They admit that delegating, in theory, makes sense. However, they aren’t sure how to apply it to their business.

There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to the delegation challenge. However, there is a process you can follow to find a solution that works for you.

Use the Acronym A.W.E.

You can determine which tasks to delegate by following a three-step process represented by the acronym A.W.E.

  • A—Awareness. What are some of the tasks currently on your plate?
  • W–Work. How do you decide which tasks to delegate?
  • E–Evaluation. What worked and how do you do more of it?

Get ready to delegate! The following exercise will take about 20 minutes to complete–and the payoff is you’ll gain a minimum of three hours of you do it effectively. That’s pretty good ROI on 20 minutes, wouldn’t you agree?

Awareness: The exercise begins by defining what is important and determining what is on your plate.

Step #1: List your top 3 goals.

Step #2: What is your Zone of Genius? That is, list the things in your life and your business that only you can do. (Hint: If you are honest, this list should be pretty short.)

Step #3: Next, list all the things that you “don’t have time to do.” What are the tasks you put off because you don’t like doing them? What are the tasks you are waiting to start until the “timing is right”?

Step #4: Pull out to-do list out from the last week and your to-do list for next week.

Work: At the next stage, you can start to narrow down the tasks you can delegate.

Step #5: Look at your to-do list and your “I don’t have time to do this” list, and for each task, ask yourself, “What goal does this task support?” Write the corresponding goal next to the task. (Hint: Writing the goal down ensures you don’t just skip this part.)

Step #6: You are almost finished with the exercise now! Put a smiley face next to all the tasks that line up directly with your Zone of Genius.

Step #7: Circle the items that relate to a goal, but do not have a smiley face. These are the tasks in your business or life that can be delegated. They support a goal and they are not in your Zone of Genius. They don’t need to be done by you to be done effectively. (Bonus tip: If a task doesn’t directly support a goal, why are you doing it?)

Step #8: Delegate at least three of these tasks.

Evaluation: Determine how effectively each task you delegated was completed and how much time it saved you. Do more of what works! When you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, life becomes much easier. Yet many people forget to slow down long enough to think through what is working. Take 10 minutes to check back at the end of the week and ask yourself these questions: Who was a great delegating resource? What tasks were easy to let go of? What tasks do you want to outsource next? Where were the struggles? How can you fine-tune the process?

Congratulations! You have at least three tasks circled. Start delegating and start increasing the number of hours you have available each week to accomplish your goals.

Remember, this process is not a one-and-done kind of thing. To be effective, as your tasks and goals change, the evaluation process becomes more important. Regular process improvement means you are always on task for your Zone of Genius!

Overcome Procrastination in Three Easy Steps

You are a dedicated business owner. I know this because you are taking time to increase your professional development by reading this magazine and this article.

Because you are a business owner who is dedicated to success, it would make sense that you don’t procrastinate—right? You can quickly and easily accomplish all the important tasks and projects that help move your business forward. Your taxes are completed ahead of time. You are never up late at night looking for data to complete an estimate. You never have to redo tasks because you made errors as you were trying to finish by the deadline.

Before you stop reading in frustration, know that according to Tim Pychyl, author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle, everyone procrastinates. So, you are not alone!

The question really becomes, how do you overcome your procrastination? There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to the procrastination challenge. However, there is a process you can follow to find your solution.
Use the acronym A.W.E.
A – Awareness. What are some of the tasks you procrastinate on most often?
W – Work. What are some strategies to help put yourself in motion?
E – Evaluation. What worked and how do you do more of it?

The Three-Step Process

Let’s start with awareness. What are some of the tasks that typically cause you to procrastinate? Do you avoid invoicing clients? Or posting on social media? Or sending estimates? Or evaluating employees? Or doing customer service follow-up calls? Or meeting with your accountant? Or creating a marketing plan? Or creating a business plan?

Start to really think about the tasks you put off. Now that you have a good idea about what those tasks are, it’s time to create a strategy to overcome procrastination. This is the work phase.

According to Pychyl, we procrastinate when we find a task unattractive. The more unattractive, the more we procrastinate. Unattractive tasks have one or more of the following traits. They are:

  • Boring
  • Frustrating
  • Difficult
  • Unstructured or ambiguous
  • Lacking in personal meaning
  • Lacking in intrinsic rewards (not fun!)
  • Which trait corresponds to your task? Do you procrastinate when it comes to invoicing clients because you find paperwork boring and frustrating? Do you put off evaluating employees because you find conflict (or perceived conflict) difficult? Have you decided that you’ll do a marketing plan next year (or the year after that) because the whole idea is ambiguous and you don’t even know where to start?

    Once you can identify the trait that’s holding you back, you can create a strategy to help move yourself into action. If a task is boring, make it fun. (OK, maybe paperwork won’t ever be fun, but it can be less boring.) Play music loud, challenge yourself to finish the task in under 20 minutes, and reward yourself when it is done.

    If creating a marketing plan seems ambiguous, add some structure to it. Talk it out with some colleagues. Consult with a marketing professional. Do some reading on marketing plans. Decide what your goals are for the plan. Figure out just one step. Once you’ve identified even one step, it becomes much easier to move into action.

    Finally, evaluation. When you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, life becomes much easier. Yet you seldom take the time to slow down long enough to think through what is working! Take 10 minutes to check back at the end of the week. Which strategies worked? Where are you procrastinating less? Where do you still need to problem solve?

    By following the steps spelled out in A.W.E., you will be able to reduce the amount of time you procrastinate and increase your capacity to accomplish more in less time. Which leaves you with a lot more time to do all those things you love to do!