Managing yourself creatively

A Little Quiz

Think you needn’t bother delegating authority in your work or business? Here’s a friendly challenge – ten questions that will tell you quickly whether you are in the saddle, or whether your work is riding you.

Is your work piling up too fast?

Do you spend several evenings each week “catching up” with work?

Are you usually pressed for letter-answering time?

Do you find yourself with too little time to see people on business matters?

Do you lack time to relax?

Are you frequently late in meeting deadlines?

Are you habitually swamped by details?

Do you feel stale?

Are you worried about your workload?

Have you been irritable lately?

If you answered even one question affirmatively, you can profit from learning to delegate

Here are the ways and means that work.

Delegate the Right Duties

At the outset, ask yourself: “Which of my regular daily duties can I delegate right now”?

Your immediate answer will probably be, “None”. Nobody can do your job as well as you. Granted. Nobody can do your job as well as you can, but one or more of your subordinates can almost surely do it well enough. The point is, you have more important fish to fry. Given time and practice, your delegate will become quite expert-providing you are careful in choosing the right person and in training him. We’ll consider who is the right person later. Right now, let’s stick to the problem of what to delegate.

The first, logical step is to draw up an exhaustive list of the duties you perform daily. If you are only average, their sheer number will amaze you. If, for example, you are in business for yourself, a small part of your list might look like this:

  1. Open place of business.
  2. Check reports of subordinates.
  3. Look over mail.
  4. Answer letters.
  5. Visit various departments, talk to supervisors.
  6. Interview job applicants.

The second step is to separate those details that only you can do from those that someone else might do. Here are two suggestions.


A Recurring Details

One world-famous executive learned to delegate his everyday details the hard way, after collapsing from overwork. During his convalescence, he worked out a plan for delegating the repetitious drudgery of his daily duties. And the leisure he got from applying this plan resulted not only in his complete recovery, but also in building up his great commercial enterprise.

What precisely, did he do? He simply divided his work into two parts:

  1. Important chores that demanded his personal attention.
  2. Routine details that he could delegate to others.

And he found that he could save over 30 percent of his time by delegating.

Suppose you adopt a similar plan. Taking the list of your duties that you have drawn up, rearrange them under two headings: Details that only I Can Do and Details That Others Can Do.

Rewrite your list monthly. If you are delegating, as you should, your list will change and grow, month after month. Keep your old lists and compare them with the new. Move slowly but steadily toward divesting yourself of all unnecessary detail.

Take the six items our typical businessman drew up above, for example. His rearrangement might look something like this:

Details That Only I Can Do Details That Others Can Do,
Check reports of subordinates, Open place of business,
Look over important mail, Mail can be sorted by secretary
Answer important letters Some letters can be answered by secretary,
Visit various departments, talk to supervisors. Interview job applicants.


SAVED: A lot of valuable time that can be used to attend to more important things.