Having a great assistant is a game changer. They can take so many things off your plate, allowing you to focus on the few items that can drive the most value to your business. They can monitor your email box, schedule your appointments, keep track of your projects, circle back with key team members to make sure that deadlines are met, and so much more. Finding and training a good assistant is absolutely worth it, but learning how to delegate tasks can be rather time consuming if you don't have a lot of experience. And while there are some great third-party programs out there to help keep you all organized, that too takes time and energy to learn and train a new team member on. So today I want to share three tips on how to save time when delegating tasks to your assistant or another team member, all within Excel or Google Sheets.
1. Create a master project list.
If everyone on your team has separate to-do lists, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. It's easy to forget key items, and everyone will have a different way of prioritizing importance. Having a master project list where everyone's tasks reside is an easy and quick way to get everyone on the same page. Let your assistant own the project list and have them put everything that they do on the list. And while it may seem a bit silly at first to include the small tasks like checking the mail or paying the light bill, you will be happy to have the list should your assistant go on vacation or have to take time off when sick. So, err on the side of too much information when creating the master project list.
2. Break it down into sub-lists.
If you have a lot of things going on at once, create tabs or sub-lists to keep it all straight. This could look like active projects, archived projects, on-going/recurring projects, third-party vendor projects, etc. Within each of those tabs you will have the project/task name, date assigned, date due, and other people involved (team members/third party vendors), and I like to break down each list even further by giving each one a priority rating. Number one items are the most important tasks on the list, number two items should be done only once number one items are complete, and number three items are as time allows. And lastly, keep a notes column to keep any and all notes that pertain to the project. At any given time, you should be able to look up a task and see where you stand and the action taken. The goal of doing this is to minimize the number of meetings and back and forth questions surrounding the various tasks you have in progress at any given time.
3. Color code it.
Use color to highlight new updates within your master list. You could have your assistant write all their updates in red or highlight new updates. When you review the sheet, you know to look at only the new items. Once you have read the new updates, you can change the color back to black and white so that the next time you go into the project list, you see only new updates from your assistant. If you need to communicate via the sheet you can write your notes in a designated color, so that your assistant knows that you left a response. When they are done reading the update, they can change the color back to black and white as well.
With these three tips you should be able to streamline delegating tasks and get more done with less back and forth. Good luck!