If you have children, you know that being a parent is a full-time job—and one that tends to take from your wallet rather than fill it. This combined with running a business, whether as an executive or as the owner, can result in less time spent with the family and more complaints from the spouse.
Do you ever find yourself missing your child’s school-related, sports, or arts activities? Do you receive calls from your spouse asking when you will be home to provide momentary relief—a few minutes of solitude?
If you have answered “yes” and can think of other family activities you have missed because you are “never home,” then ask yourself why that is. The defensive side of you probably wants to respond with “I’m so busy” or “How else will my business succeed.” But behind this 70-hour work week “badge of honor” you might see some misplaced priorities and poor time management.
Most business executives have an administrative assistant or a secretary sitting outside of their office and ready to work, but the execs are not effectively utilizing their talents or their time. Delegation is an essential, but learned, trait that leaders must have to be successful. We all have a perfectionist side to us, but by learning how and what to delegate, we can be more dedicated to the tasks we love and truly care about.
The first question: What can I (and should I) delegate? There are several tasks that are mission-critical to your business but weigh down your personal to-do lists. The categories of these tasks can vary in size, and at the end of the day, the label of “important” does not equal “I have to do this myself.” From social media to email correspondence, bookkeeping to research, an administrative assistant can help you rearrange and refocus your agendas, allowing you the time and energy to rediscover the passion for the company you have created.
The second question: How can I (and should I) delegate? The first step was to recognize that you should be delegating; now the second step is to start doing so. By sitting down with your administrative assistant, you can negotiate and determine which tasks are suitable for his or her skills and availability. It is essential to hand over these tasks without judgment—in other words, provide constructive criticism but do not micromanage. It is also important to document the steps of each task and walk through them together, giving your assistant the time to ask questions and experiment. Although you may feel as though this is taking time out of your busy day, this one to two-hour block of time will help put your life back in your hands. It gets better the more you do it.
By learning how to delegate and how to execute this crucial responsibility, you will live a more balanced business lifestyle. Your planner will be filled with owner and executive tasks by day and time with your family at night.