As an entrepreneur, you probably live, sleep and breathe your business. However, as your business grows, you may find you have fewer hours in the day to tackle your ever-growing to-do list.
In order to avoid burnout and declining productivity, it’s important to delegate certain tasks to trusted employees. Doing so can allow you to focus more on your top priorities and less on those tiny day-to-day tasks that you don’t truly need to be doing yourself.
Below, a panel of 15 Forbes Coaches Council members give their advice to busy entrepreneurs on how to effectively delegate tasks to their team.
Forbes Coaches Council members share tips for leaders to better manage their time by delegating.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Take The Focus Off Yourself As The ‘Doer’
Put yourself in the right frame of mind to begin delegating as you start each day. A great first step is to change what you ask yourself every morning. Instead of asking yourself, “What do I need to do today?” ask yourself, “What needs to get done today?” This simple change takes the focus off you as the resource and puts the focus on the task at hand for all resources you choose to engage. – Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, LLC
2. Set Clear Expectations Upfront
It’s easy to think as a leader you can do it all, but we all know that’s not true. It’s important to include your team and delegate based on skills and strength. Prioritize what you can keep and determine what can be handed off. For items that are handed off, set clear expectations and ensure you follow up to not only check what’s expected, but also to make sure the employees know that they are supported. – Nadidah Coveney, CTM Consulting Group LLC
3. Automate What You Can
Busy entrepreneurs can automate tasks and processes like social media posting to free up their time so they can focus on other areas of the businesses. In addition, bots can help automate chat features on their websites and messenger apps to answer basic and frequently asked questions on products and services. Schedule emails to automatically send event campaigns on a schedule through CRM. – Katrina Brittingham, VentureReady LLC
4. Ask Yourself What Success Looks Like Today
Business leaders get pulled in so many directions. It is critical to ask yourself, “What does success look like today?” Keep the benchmark goals in daily steps. Do not dilute your efforts toward completing that picture. Unless it is a critical event, it should still not divert you from your primary “success” goals. More than three priorities means no priorities at all. – Parke Kallenberg, ADVANCE Consulting Group
5. Identify What You Will Stop Doing
The first level of clarity for a leader is their ability to identify what they will stop doing the next quarter. This heightened level of consciousness would then help them identify what they need to delegate in order to achieve more. In addition, leaders should know that reflection is their hidden strength—if they could maintain a diary, and reflect every day, they can start delegating better. – Venkataraman Subramanyan, Tripura Multinational
6. Live By The 80/20 Rule
Relentlessly live by the 80/20 Rule: 20% of your efforts will produce 80% of the results you want. Focus on high-leverage ROI—what you can do this day or week or month to make the most progress toward your highest-priority goals. Ruthlessly jettison the “everything is No. 1” myth. Delegate only what supports your 20% and doesn’t need your personal touch. The rest will become unnecessary over time. – Diana Furr, Champions of Destiny
7. Focus On Value
A great time management tip is to plan each day by making a list of tasks that need to be done. Next to each item, add two things: enjoyment factor and dollar value (rate each high, mid or low). Prioritize by tackling the high-value tasks first, then the most enjoyable. Delegate the low value and low enjoyment tasks, and you’ll be happier, more productive and more profitable. – Sheryl Lyons, Culture Spark LLC
8. Don’t Try To Take Control Back Once You Delegate
One of the hardest parts of delegating is not taking back the power you’re giving up. Most leaders actually self-sabotage themselves by “delegating” only to take full control back too quickly. When you give someone a task, let them take it. If they do it 80% or better than you can, let them finish and guide them for future tasks. If you take control, you disempower them and you overload yourself! – Cody Dakota Wooten, The Leadership Guide
9. Choose One Thing To Delegate
When work is overwhelming, even delegation can be too much to handle. “It’s easier to do it myself,” we say, “than to teach someone else.” While that may be true, it’s also unsustainable. You can take off the pressure and also take advantage of delegating by living by this motto: Choose one. Choose just one thing to delegate, however small. Identify the task, list the steps and give it away. – Joelle Jay, LRI
10. Do What You’re Best At
Very few leaders are great at everything. Effective leaders focus on the activities to which they bring the most value based on their wiring. Relationship-builder? Problem solver? Skilled specifically at execution? Delegate the other duties to not only build a more balanced and inspired team, but to also achieve maximum results when everyone is focused on things at which they excel. – Lisa Walsh, Bridgepath Career Advisors, LLC
11. Ruthlessly Prioritize Your Tasks
Being an effective leader is about focusing on accomplishing the most important things that tie back to a larger goal. Ruthless prioritization of tasks on a daily basis is important to thrive as a leader. I suggest organizing tasks into the following categories: urgent/important, not urgent/important, urgent/not important, not urgent/not important. Focus on the urgent/important category first. – Holly Knoll, Holly Knoll Coaching and Consulting
12. Adopt A Mentorship Mindset
In order to delegate effectively, we must first make sure we have the right mindset. Delegation in a healthy organization is less about you and more about developing those around you to take on greater responsibility and grow. When your people grow, your company will grow, and your time spent mentoring will see an exponential return. – Eric Coet, 44 North USA
13. Organize Tasks By The Three ‘D’ Rule
Even before running a business, I always made sure to keep my inbox at zero. This allows me to focus on the most important things in my role and leave the excess behind. In order to do this, I follow the three “D” rule of do, delegate and delete. With this, I do the things that relate to the core business and strategy, delegate things that fall outside my scope and delete the things that do not matter. – Kristy McCann, GoCoach
14. Delegate Low-Wage Responsibilities To Focus On Profits
I once heard that an entrepreneur can’t achieve goals and profits if they are busy doing the $15 an hour busywork tasks. It’s important to take a look at what needs you in your business and what can be delegated. Keep a running list each time you perform a function and realize it could easily be delegated. Whatever repeatable processes you can get off your plate makes for a great start. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
15. Find The Hungry Team Members
As a leader, you should know who’s hungry for more: more work, more challenges, more responsibility. Meet with them weekly, ask if they’re able to take on extra tasks and be sure to explain how it’s helping their development just as much as it’s helping you. The top talent in your office will start to ask how they can help, eventually taking delegation off your plate as well! – Miranda VonFricken, Miranda VonFricken Mastermind Coaching