Delegation for Dummies
What’s the big deal with delegation?
“Delegation” or “outsourcing” is a term thrown around in the self-improvement space, most often seen on more entrepreneurial, side-hustle side of productivity tips. For our purposes, I’m going to define delegation as the act of entrusting a task needing to be done in the present to another individual. I would mostly gloss over the advice, and contemplate and then subsequently decide that it would be inappropriate for me to hire a personal assistant. Even if you aren’t “into productivity” and haven’t heard the words ‘delegation’ or ‘outsourcing’ in the context of self-improvement, I know all of us have things we’d be able to do only if we could distribute our life’s tasks across multiple people.
I can’t hire an assistant, so what’s the next best thing?
After thinking on this for not very long, I’ve realized that delegation actually doesn’t have to be that complicated, and in the following paragraphs I want to share the ways in which I’ve been able to (partially) outsource some of my day-to-day activities, and help you realize the ways in which you are already delegating your everyday activities.
Delegating discipline to your environment
This is an indirect approach, but self-discipline can be delegated to your surroundings and your daily routines. Personally, this has helped expend less willpower while encouraging behaviors I want to build and discouraging those that are detrimental to my behavior. The easiest example of this would be to not keeping food, especially junk food, in your room. If there’s no junk food accessible to you, you spend no spending willpower on trying to resist it. Similarly, placing a book or Kindle on top of your phone as it charges will force anyone trying to get to their smartphone before bed to pick up a book first, encouraging that behavior.
Delegating stress and emotions to a journal
Demetri Panici of Rise Productive first introduced me to the idea of delegating emotions or the day’s events to a journal or a notebook. I already understood the benefits of mental clarity surrounding journaling but never figured that it was a form of delegation. Instead of containing worry or anxiety within yourself, use writing in a journal as an objective way of looking at your reactions to a certain circumstance.
Delegating email to your future self
I live by the mantra that “email begets more email” meaning that the more emails you send, likely the more you’ll receive back in turn. Checking and responding to emails constantly will likely set you up for more unwarranted stress about your inbox. If you’re a student like me and almost all the emails you get are advertisements, chances are you can get away with checking your email once a day, or once every few days. Delegating the organization of your inbox to your future self will save you time in the present and better clarify your priorities!
If you read nothing else:
Delegation isn’t the stressful secretary problem it’s made out to be. Delegating tasks to yourself is actually the best way to get started with using your limited time efficiently, and you don’t need to pay anyone either. Do more time doing the things you want to do and less time doing things you dislike by leveraging the power of delegation.
- Ask yourself: what’s something, that if I did it, would make something else easier or unnecessary?
- Action item: add a recurring task on your to-do list that involves “making tomorrow easier”.
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