This week I was once again reminded: “You simply can’t do it all by yourself!”

You see, I’ve been a bit under the weather. Here, she explains it much better:

We all have only 24 hours in each day – even wonder women like us.

We can physically only get so much done.

We know this, don’t we – you know, intellectually. If you’re in charge of staff or a team at work you’d already know how to delegate. Being a good delegator is part of being a good leader.

Delegating effectively leaves you free to concentrate on higher level things, on vision, planning & things that propel your business forward at warp speed. Delegating also helps empower your team. You’re letting them know that you trust them, that you know they’ll get the job done and at times: that they can do an even better job than you! (Yes – it’s true!)

So… that’s at work. How about at home? Do you know how to delegate at home? DO you delegate at home?

For some reason at home most women’s ability to delegate leaves much to be desired. Or should I say ‘willingness’ rather than ‘ability’..?

We’re hesitant to let go of the reigns. A busy household is like a finely tuned machine. You have to keep your wits about you, be one step ahead at all times & ready to change course at a moment’s notice, a contingency plan in your back pocket.

“Ok, so there’s been a change to Timmy’s football schedule & I won’t be home on time to make that casserole for dinner anymore. Never mind – here’s one I prepared earlier.” TA-DA …!

When those balls start tumbling, we usually look around for the nearest person to blame. You know – the one that didn’t HELP US instead of cleaning the gutters all afternoon. How inconsiderate! Tsk, tsk…

The truth is, how do we expect to get help if we never ask for it and worse, heroically refuse it when offered? I tell you this – you can forget all about life balance if you’re too good/proud/big/stubborn to ask for help.

My (clever) husband has often made the comment that women who hold onto the reigns too tightly & never ask for or accept help – as they can do it ‘better/faster/easier anyway’ – eventually render their partners useless. And then they complain about him to boot! I think he’s absolutely right.

I admit, I’m a bit of a control freak too and have to wrestle tasks away from myself.

But baby – once I finally do, I’m amazed at the relief I feel just from letting go of one little thing.

It’s amaaaazing..!! Makes me feel all naughty… 🙂

What helps me delegate more easily  at home & makes it stick  is using ROUTINE delegation, not just one-offs. I’m not so great at asking for help, especially when the pressure’s on. I tend to just dig in & plough on to the finish line. That often turns out to not have been such a healthy choice for me. (Read: I crash & burn, then look for someone to blame… my bad.)

So I use a routine of delegated tasks to avoid this happening. On certain nights I’m not responsible for dinner & the kids have the daily job of clearing the table, stacking the dishwasher and unpacking it in the morning. That’s on top of basic stuff like cleaning their room, etc – that’s just expected. I’m not running a resort here!

Some practical tips on how to delegate:

  • If you have no clue what to delegate, make a list of all the jobs – big or small – you do each day and week.
  • Pick groups of tasks you can hand over – eg all dishes related duties, all clothes washing duties.
  • Sit down with each person & explain you’d like their help and also what’s in it for them. (I always explain to my kids this helps me spend more quality time with them & avoids ‘grumpy mum’ showing up. Bargain struck!)
  • Get their agreement & commitment.
  • Clearly explain the task & show them how you like it done, then step away. No.. just a bit further than that. Thanks.
  • Important: DON’T look over their shoulder or criticize them. If things need tweaking, explain what they SHOULD do, not what they shouldn’t.
  • Let go already! If you start feeling guilty, remind yourself there’s no need for that. If you feel compelled to do it for them or ‘help them’ – DON’T DO IT! Go find something else to do.
  • Accept this is more about re-training you than them.
  • If you find yourself with nothing to do while others are busy – great! You deserve time out too. Grab a book & go lay on the couch.

Go on… don’t just stand there. Scoot!

xx Miriam
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