I sit down and write this or a similar article every week. It’s not a chore because I quite like writing real words instead of manipulating yet more numbers. I found a love of writing when preparing our monthly newsletter that we posted out for over 12 years.
Publishing online is so much easier but not for the reasons that you would think. I have a woman, she does everything I ask and her name is Lauren. Let me explain, just in case you get the wrong idea.
When we produced our monthly newsletter, I would write a piece for the cover, much like the article that you are now reading. I would then put together all the rest of the content to fill all 4 pages. Once complete, I would pass it to the Editor (whose name is Helen) who would check the front page for any inappropriate-ness. It would then go for spelling/typo checking and then come back to me and I would have to go back and correct and amend as appropriate and get it ready for photocopying. It took up a lot of my time during normal working hours.
Now, all I have to do is write this page. I give it to Lauren. I put together the news items and give that to Lauren as well. I then find a tax tip of the week that I give to Lauren. And that is it. I also tend to do all these outside normal working hours leaving my time free to do other stuff.
Next thing I know it is all put together and published. We email out stuff and we post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I say “we” but it’s all done by Lauren. So, who is this wonderful person, I hear you ask. Well, you see she is one of the girls at Adder Business, owned by Abbie McCahill. It costs us a few pennies but it is so worth it. Once I have done my bit. I don’t need to worry about anything else. I don’t need to format, spell check or anything else. I don’t need to understand how to post to any of the platforms that we use.
There is of course a very serious message here. You need to get your own Lauren. You can’t have mine. But seriously, the message is one that most business owners will recognise. You should only do what only you can do. If someone else can do it, let them. This frees up your time to get on with the things only you can do such as monitoring and checking, guiding and decision making.
Most people operating almost any sort of business will recognise the feeling of having too much to do and spending much of their time firefighting. This situation might have been created by their own success, but it is also a situation that they could alleviate by delegating some responsibilities to others. This often goes against the grain because as we all know, we can do the job better than anyone else. Right? In a sense it is right, or we like to think it is right, but if you don’t have time to do that job and do it properly, it would have been better to get someone else to do it only 85% as well as you. Overall, the business would be better off.
Delegation requires organisation. I have a to-do list. It is in 3 parts and I re-write it every Monday morning. At the top is a space for me to roughly plan out the week ahead. Below that are 2 columns for “people I need to contact”, generally after I have completed a piece of work, and “people I am waiting for”. I don’t like adding to my “people to contact list”, because that means I must do something. I prefer to push that work on to someone else, and then I can add it to my “people I am waiting for” list. That list does not require me to do anything except chase and review. The only tasks that I put on my “people to contact” list are those that only I can do.
I know there are some of you who will be saying that you don’t have anyone you can get to do these tasks. But you do! You need a Lauren. You just need to understand that for your business to succeed and grow, you have to push work away from yourself.
If you want to carry on this discussion but you are not sure where to find us, please click here.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership