“Why would we rather do it ourselves?”

So which one are you?  The woman who tends to relentlessly buckle up and do it herself or the type of woman that is comfortable asking and allowing others to help?

For women in leadership, delegation is a key skill and a necessary component for a successful career. If you find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, or feel as though your business has taken over your life, then it may be the right time to sharpen those delegation skills.

Many of us identify as the first example, and while that may be admired as being self-sufficient and independent with an “I don’t owe anybody anything” kind of strategy (sound Italian to you?), it is not the savviest way to get through life and there are a couple of reasons for that.

For the woman whose battle cry is “buckle-up butter cup” the typical thought process is “no whining, just do it and get ‘er done!” And therein lies the issue of not having enough time, energy, life, joy, fun, etc. Although this is an admirable quality in some situations, it can lead to burn-out, resentment, overwhelm, and oh yes….cranky pants syndrome.

So why is it that all too often, we don’t want to relinquish control?

Too often women resist delegation to maintain control.  The “I’d rather do it myself” belief is confirmed with “I can do it myself, faster, and by the time I tell someone, it would be done” excuse.

That thinking leads to exhaustion.  When you think about it, the opposite of delegation is retention.  We are actually RETAINING work that can easily get done by others if given the opportunity.

When we delegate, it allows us to help others do the kind of activities that they are well qualified to do.  When you think about it, delegation as “the act of empowering to act for another”.  It gives others opportunity.  However, many times we choose to do the work ourselves, and they are often energies that are not as profitable and can more easily outsource.

The crazy part is that by retaining those less than critical activities l, we add them to our already excessive list, then procrastinate because they “need to be done sometime” which loads up our heavy load of responsibility.  Can you say ‘self-sabotage”?

There is a solution…if you are willing:

You can avert this situation by spending time before your upcoming week to actually plan your week in advance.  The “My Productive/Perfect Week Planner” is a superb strategy to help “map” out your week. This practice enables you to block out time slots for high ROI activities and your personal life.

The first step:
Block time for YOU!  Include personal and family time in this focus.  Think of a traffic light. The color code here is RED which means “STOP”, a non-negotiable time block.  Family and/or personal time is a priority—block time out for sleeping, exercise, date night, quiet time, family time night with kids, church time, etc.  Block out specific dates and times dedicated to personal care for those ever necessary mani-pedis, massage, and hair styling appointments to keep you sane, feeling pampered and confident. Do it and always put you and your family needs and wants FIRST! Consider this segment sacred so you and the universe will allow all to plan around it.

Here’s how to block dollar-productive and money-making time for your career:

Plug in appointments in your week that are potential money-makers with a GREEN highlight.  Block time you are getting paid, or that produce income activities in GREEN on your weekly calendar. Actions like working with clients, customers, prospecting and follow-up appointments are some examples of money-making activities.  The goal is to provide opportunities for GREEN time in every work day, so you are not only productive, but profitable.

The final step:

The balance of the time is divided up and color coded in YELLOW, which is blocked for activities like planning and execution.  Activities like blocking time to contact past clients, planning client appreciation events, following up on leads on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, and devoting consistent actions with your VIP elite group are examples.   Once you’ve blocked your time, it is easier to stick to the schedule or easily change that schedule to accommodate your customers or clients and not drop the ball on those activities that pay. The success is in the rhythm or “habit” of making sure you perform the basic activities that yield profitability.

These structures help you to focus more fully and execute more successfully as they become a habitual way to look at every week.  These “weeks” are best tied to your annual strategic plan and business plan.  If you don’t get it organized, you can be sure the time will slip away and you’ll be continually behind the ball.

I can’t afford to get help.

Really? Think again on this one.

Sit down and figure out how much your time is worth per hour, and then line that up against what it would cost to outsource the service.  You’d be surprised at how little you pay yourself to do jobs someone else can handle easier and faster than you can. You help others and help yourself as well. Start small and see how it works. Carry around a list of every day actions you do that can easily be handled by someone else.  You won’t believe the time consumption it takes to pick up dry cleaning, pick up or drop off packages, small house chores and cleaning services. Paying for a service you can do yourself frees up time, energy, and allows you to focus on areas that bring you more joy and income while giving you a real break to save energy for high income activities.  Get a small taste of the relief and satisfaction and you’ll be hooked on more.

Take baby steps:

But you can’t expect you will suddenly jump on the delegation wagon with ease. Make a list of items that occur every day that could be done by someone else.  Once you compile a few items you can feel more comfortable to hire out.  Start out with part time and consider hiring a senior citizen or an intern for a few hours per week, thinking short term as a start.  For less than what you get paid for one hour of your own compensation, you can help another feel needed, support their life while saving yourself time, energy and valuable productivity.  When you think short term, you can “ease” into looking for more long term options with confidence as trust builds.

The saying we should “work to live, not live to work” rings true here.  It is doubtful you’ll get a phone call to “take a day off and pamper yourself” unless you’ve got a great friend or family member. But for our busy workplace, you have to practice good leadership and take care of the leader. Come on now….we’re counting on you!