How to Delegate and Outsource to Gain More Time
Lately there has been a discussion on social media on whether we simply perceive a lack of time or if we need to be more intentional with our time. While we all have the same 24 hours in a day, it is undeniable that women most often are responsible for managing both a job and homelife. On average, women spend an additional 2.6 hours on household tasks daily. So, it is no wonder that you may feel like there is not enough time in the day. I could simply tell you that it is time to start delegating and outsourcing but you know that it is not a new concept, so why do some women hold on to managing everything?
Could it be the fear of how they’ll be perceived in their social circle? Let’s tackle the first issue, our social circle and cultural upbringing play a huge role in our view of womanhood and our delegation method. I’ll give you an example, have you ever heard of a night nanny? Recently, while scrolling I landed on the motherhood side of TikTok where I discovered that you could hire a night nanny to support you during postpartum. Now I am all for this! Firstly, it's just genius, crafting a service in a specific niche is what hustling a.k.a. entrepreneurship is all about. Second, if you can afford to outsource help…why not? But according to the comments, there were actual women - mothers - who had an issue with that! Their reasons varied from concern over the mother missing out on connecting with her newborn, trust of a stranger with a helpless infant, and the one that really grinds my gears, that the parents are somehow skipping out on their responsibilities if they don’t experience sleepless nights.
Now, there is another underlying issue and in order to address this one you’re going to have to dig deep...I want you to be honest, do you have a hard time giving up control? The reality is, delegating empowers the other members of your household and as my colleague Jennifer Dubois says, “It allows you to operate in your zone of genius vs your zone of excellence.” You see, people will tell you to operate in your zone of excellence and while you may have more than sufficient know-how in a specific area, is it your zone of genius? Can you do it efficiently and effectively? Does it add value to your life? That is what equals genius in this case. For instance, it takes you 2 days to do the laundry versus delegating it to your partner who can do it in two hours, at first it may seem logical to delegate it to your partner. However, you must consider if your knowledge of the Konmari folding method adds true value to your life. Simply put, we aren’t just factoring in time, skill set or the ability to develop skills is crucial in effective delegating or outsourcing.
Why is it Important to Ask For & Accept Help?
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it shows that you recognize the strengths of others. In effect, when you delegate responsibilities to other members of the household, you show that you respect and trust them. Playing to your own strengths AND others’ strengths puts you in a win-win situation, your unit becomes tighter.
Another benefit of accepting help is that it allows you to keep an open mind. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘there’s more than one way to cook an egg?’ The point is that each person has a unique perspective and their methods of problem solving may be exactly what you need.
Last but not least, when we don’t ask for help and instead just try to do everything on our own, we’re missing out on an opportunity to build real connections. Your people need to know if you're struggling and if you're okay. Denying the need for help has never solved the problem, in fact, it normally contributes to things getting worse.
Mindset Hack: I am willing to ask for help, the worst they can say is no.
Our Proven Method: Delegating Techniques That Work Well
Pro Tip: Never share tasks yet remain flexible.
When possible, delegate one task to one person. You may think that presenting the task as a shared job will give you less flack - and that’s true because the reality is no one really “owns it.” One thing that I’ve learned when it comes to effective delegating is that you get better results when a sole person is responsible for the job. As many of you may know, Larry and I blended our family over ten years ago, that meant we had to evaluate multiple schedules, skill sets, and personalities when it came to delegating household tasks to the boys. As you can imagine with a family of five and no dishwasher, doing the dishes was a chore, at the time Larry and I worked secularly and our two oldest boys got home earlier, we thought this was a great opportunity to delegate a task. We decided to rotate them weekly - the discussion of fairness came into play when one of them would wash the dishes as soon as he arrived home (which left dinner dishes sitting overnight) while the other wanted to relax and do them later in the evening (While I wanted the dishes done in time for me to cook dinner). Get the point…it just didn’t work because nobody developed their own unique approach or had an opportunity to take pride in their work. Ultimately, I ended up taking that task back. As our family grew and our needs changed, we also identified several tasks that we could outsource. I gifted Larry lawn maintenance, which he regards as one of his favorite gifts to date and it is a task that we still outsource. We also outsource laundering bulky and seasonal items, we drop it off and pick it up.
This is where flexibility comes into play. The question is not if your housemate or children should help out or not, but rather how they can. Have an open discussion letting them know that you’re looking to get some help around the house and ask them what they enjoy doing or what they would prefer to do. This is especially true if you have children, their first opportunity to develop skills and gain knowledge starts at home with simple chores and tasks. We definitely had to invest some time upfront in training and explain the specifics for each task. The time that Larry and I got back was well worth it.
Keep in Mind When Delegating:
Avoid gender specific roles
Make tasks age appropriate
Perform task together first
Take into consideration preferences