One of the reasons why we sometimes have such an overwhelming amount of things to do is that we don’t delegate enough.
Some of us find it easy to ask others for help and others do not.
Then there are those of us who just don’t realize that we could ask someone else to do the things we do not have time for.
It simply does not very often occur to me that some of the things on my to-do-list could just as well be on somebody else’s.
Receiving help is all about having faith and, yet, it is actually quite easy to get the help we need if we just ask for it. I find it hard to imagine a person who never likes to be of service to others – as long as there is time and space for completing their own tasks as well. Being asked to take over a task from someone can even feel like you are being recognized, that someone puts their faith in you to do something to the best of your ability.
Not everything, but at least something
If we get a reply along the lines of “I’m sorry, I can’t right now”, we might feel disappointed. Perhaps our colleagues are just as swamped with work at the moment and need to prioritize doing their own tasks first. Perhaps we could ask for help from someone on the ‘outside’ or get help with a task that does not concern the core of our project or task. Regardless what we can transfer from our own to-do-list to somebody else’s, even if it is just a small part of the puzzle, we will still feel relieved if our list is long and time is short.
If you, like I, rarely spontaneously think of asking others for help, you might find it useful to once in a while make an active and conscious attempt to figure out what you could ask for help with.
If you want to, try the following:
Simply look through your to-do-list and identify tasks that you do not necessarily have to do by yourself. If you find some, it does not mean that you have to ask others to do them, but you could.
When you find a suitable task, take a moment to think about who you could ask to do it instead of doing it yourself. If you cannot think of anyone, ask a colleague if they have any ideas.
Either ask the person for help right away, or formulate a to-do-task that entails doing so later, and you will at least have taken action towards getting some assistance.
More space for what matters most
If you actively search out the tasks others might help you with, you will have more time for what matters most – meaning, the tasks that to a greater extent contribute to the goals you are responsible for and that you need to do yourself. Because if truth be told, the time you spend on all those less important tasks is time you cannot spend on those that really matter. If it works out well when you finally asked for help, you will start thinking of things to delegate more often and spontaneously.
About the author
David Stiernholm is a trainer who teaches thousands of people every year in companies, government authorities, organizations and universities how to become more structured and attain a higher degree of personal efficiency.
He is also the author of Super Structured.
“Information overload”, “too much going on”, “full email inbox”, “too much on your plate”, “heavy workload”, “ASAP”, “piles that keep growing”, it has to get better soon… Yes, there are many ways to describe the chaotic life many of us lead at work. But, if we create a better structure at work, we will have more time for what matters most to us and to our business. Super Structured is based on a highly successful training program and is for anyone who wants to create a workday that runs smoother and with greater ease. In short chapters with useful advice and tips.