TASKS - Do you control them or do they control you?


We’ve said it ourselves, we’ve heard it from peers, “I need more hours in a day.”  Since that’s not an option, we need to be as productive as possible each day, and that means making the best use of our time, you know, work smarter, not harder. 
I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist.  But over the years I’ve mellowed, I’ve had to.  Keeping up with a full-time job, kids and a home is overwhelming enough, trying to balance it all and be productive seems impossible, unless you adjust your approach to leading the charge.
The next time you’re overwhelmed, too many fires to put out, too many tasks to complete in a day, and a revolving door to your office, step back and ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Am I trying to control everything? 
2. Do I believe, if it’s going to be done right, I need to do it myself?
3. On my lists of “tasks” to complete today, can anyone else on my team help me? 
If you believe you need to be in control of every detail, as the Disney movie so eloquently states, “Let it Go.”  Pick your battles.  My 6-year-old offered to help fold towels, I showed him how we fold them, then walked away.  Of course, the towels weren’t folded exactly how I wanted them and yes, it bothered me, but he was helping and he could not have been prouder of his accomplishment. 
If you truly don’t think something can be done right, unless you do it yourself, you are setting yourself up for failure.  You can’t possibly do everything and do it well.  Your job as a leader is to be a teacher, a coach and train others to do the “task” then step out of their way.  They may not do it exactly how you want, they may even fail the first time, but that’s okay, it’s how they learn and who knows maybe they’ll find an even better way to do things.
Do you ever feel like you can’t get to know your team and tackle new problems because you have too many fires to put out and daily tasks to complete?  It’s time to delegate.  Do you need to attend every meeting on your calendar?  Walk through the meetings you must attend and find out if you can get follow up notes to the others, or find someone on your team wanting to get more involved and assign them to sit in on a committee or attend in your place.  Another idea, take 3 things off your work plate, find 3 people on your team that have an interest or who want the experience.  For example, if you have reports due weekly or even monthly, assign a time-consuming report to someone else on your team who is analytical and would love to dig in and help – play to your team members strengths.  The new duty gives team members experience and gives you a bit more time back in your day.
In the end, you won’t find more hours in your day, but by working smarter, not harder, you can gain back valuable time that isn’t being spent wisely today.  Time, you can now use to be a better teacher, coach and leader for your team.