Delegating is hard. Deciding what to delegate is even harder.
As a Type-A business owner, you naturally want to hold on to everything. After all, you took the business from concept to creation, built the process and relationships, and likely do things better than everyone else -- or at least that's the thought.
It's this belief that makes it really hard to let go of some of those things, and hand them off to someone else. But eventually there comes a time when you have to offload some tasks so you can stay focused on growth or risk jeopardizing the future success of your company.
According to a study of 143 CEOs included on the Inc. 500, research company Gallup found those with "high-delegator" talent reported an average three-year growth rate of 1,751 percent. This was 112 percentage points higher than CEOs with limited or "low-delegator" talent. High delegators also generated 33 percent more revenue and created more jobs.
While there are a number of factors that contribute to high-delegator talents, one is simply identifying what to delegate. So, when you're thinking through what you should delegate, or what you should assign to the next person you're hiring, there are a few simple tricks to build a great "to-don't" list and start to retrain your brain.
1. Turn to your email.
Email is a great place to start. The emails that have been sitting in your inbox the longest are probably sitting there because you don't have the time, patience or desire to respond to them. Those are exactly the things you could likely use some help with.
Whether it's assigned to a contractor or an employee, someone else needs to take those things off your plate. Otherwise, they'll become pain points and drain your energy every time you see them in your inbox.
2. Prune your task list.
Do you have past-due tasks that are four months old? Do you find yourself saying you'll get to these next week or next month when you have more time? If so, it's time to get real.
Chances are you're never going to get to these tasks. And if these tasks are still relevant, this is another area you need help.
Personally, I like to keep a "stop-doing list," or a "to-don't" list instead of a to-do list. This is just a separate task list that I start to move things onto as I realize there's no way I'm going to do them.
When I make my next hire, I can sift through that list and see if there are any themes or trends to bucket these tasks into. These buckets then become part of their role and responsibilities.
3. Ask your employees.
After you've checked your email and your task list, and started keeping a to-don't list, or a stop-doing list, turn to your employees. Ask them what are the things that you're always waiting for me on? In what areas am I the bottleneck or slowing the team down because I don't respond soon enough?
Those delays are because you don't have the time, the capacity, or the desire to do those things. Another indicator someone else should take these on.
4. Look where you're procrastinating.
Finally, think about the things you're pushing off until the very end of the day. The things you have to hop back on the computer for another half hour to finish when you'd really rather go to bed. Those are exactly the things you should outsource or delegate.
As you're going through your day, your email, your to-do list, your to-don't list, or your project management system, make yourself aware of the tasks that are aging or collecting dust. Talk to your team, and look what you force yourself to do in the hours you don't want to be working.
From these areas, you'll be able to build a list of things you should be delegating in your business. Categorize similar tasks together to help identify your next hire. Then make the hire so you can free up your time to work on growing your business.