How Experts Delegate Work Successfully
As startup founders and business owners we are all too familiar with the overwhelm that comes from having too much work and too little time. Isn’t that always the case? According to the four experts we asked, it doesn’t have to be. It’s rather a matter of delegating successfully along with leveraging the best technology for optimal productivity.
We asked Clare Evans, April Sullivan, John Jonas, and Laura Licursi to share with us how they decide what to delegate, and what are some of their favorite tools to be more productive in their day to day work. Read their answers below and find new strategies and apps to use in your work along with FoxyUtils, to become not only a PDF ninja, but also a productivity master.
1) What is your process to decide what to delegate?
April: One thing that really helps if you’ve never learned how to delegate is keeping track of what you do each day for about 3 days. Just get out a simple notebook and begin jotting down all of the tasks that you do whether it’s big or small. This could be reading and responding to emails, checking your calendar, scheduling social media posts, writing a blog post, answering client calls, checking on your bank accounts, meeting with clients, creating new products, tweaking your website. I could go on for hours. Put a line through the tasks that only you should be doing. In this scenario, that would be writing your blog post, checking your bank account, meeting with clients and creating new products. Everything else can be delegated to your Virtual Assistant. With a little practice on both the part of the business owner and the Virtual Assistant, this will become a part of your everyday workflow.
John: My thought process for what can be delegated to someone else is different than most people’s. Most want to delegate things they don’t know how to do. I do that too. But primarily, and first, I delegate things that I know how to do and which I think I can teach someone else how to do. I know I’m going to be giving the task/system to an intelligent human being, figuring they’re capable of thinking just like I am. If I feel like the process can be taught, and if they can learn to use the same judgement I can, then I’m willing to delegate it. It rarely goes how I want it to the first time. Usually I have to go through a number of rounds of teaching and feedback. As long as I see progress being made, I’m OK continuing to teach and give feedback. Over the years I’ve come to learn that I can delegate almost any task to someone in the Philippines, as long as I’m willing to be patient with the process. My goal with delegating is to free up my time. If I can free my time, my brain becomes more effective at running the business. The more I can get someone else to do, they better they get at doing any single task, and the better I get at running my business. Thus, my business succeeds BECAUSE of delegating, rather than DESPITE delegating.
Clare: Delegating and allowing someone else to take responsibility can be tough. But as soon as you do, you’ll appreciate the time you gain and the ability to grow, in more ways than one. Start by making a list of all the tasks, activities and processes that form part of your business. From initial contact, order, request, inquiry, through to delivery and after as well as everything you do ‘run’ your business – finance, sales, marketing, admin, social media, web/graphic design, technology … What can only you do? What could someone else do? – Delegate anything you don’t have time for and that isn’t core to your business and the service you provide. – Delegate anything someone else can do cheaper, quicker and more efficiently than you.
Laura: We have a 4-step process to help decide what to delegate:
1. Have a process system in place for each area of your business. 2. Take out what only you can do 3. Decide what you can teach someone to do 4. From what is teachable, find which is repetitive. Tasks that occur on a regular basis are the easiest to delegate. You can train once and those tasks are taken off your plate. 5. Pick the tasks that you enjoy least. If you’re a great salesperson but fall short on follow up, that’s a great area for a VA to take over.
2. Which favorite go-to product or software helps you work faster and more efficiently?Clare: I use a number of apps but my favorite two are: – Hootsuite for social media. Makes life so much easier to keep track of chats, mentions and RT’s as well as have conversations, find and share great content. – Streak CRM – to track projects, inquiries, requests from within Gmail. Easy to use and allows me to keep track. I also use a number of Gmail extensions and plug-ins. Using Cloud apps means mail, contacts, files are accessible from whichever device I’m using and wherever I happen to be.
April: I use a lot of different products to run my business, but the ones that make me the most efficient are Teamwork PM for managing my clients and all of their work, 17Hats for invoicing, signatures, online forms, and workflows, and then finally, we love Slack for quick team collaboration.
John: My #1 absolute favorite software is Snagit. It’s screen capture/recording software that works instantly. It allows me to teach, give feedback, give instructions, or point things out, visually. It allows me to explain without having to describe every aspect of something because the person can see exactly what I’m talking about. I use Snagit every day, 10-50 times/day. Plus, when working with someone overseas (all of my people are in the Philippines) it lets them hear my voice and get to know me which is a big deal. Establishing trust with a virtual worker is a big deal for having rock-star workers. Using screen capture video is a great way to accomplish this. My #2 tool is Basecamp. It’s project management software. I just love it because it works the way I work. It works the way my brain works.
Laura: My favorite go-to products for efficiency are:
– Calendly: I send a link in my email to schedule calls, saves a lot of time going back and forth.
– Canva For Work: We’re able to store our favorite fonts, colors & logo in the work version of Canva, and have folders for our different graphics we create to share among our team.
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