Time Management, Project Delegation, Freedom & Due Dates

By Christina Suter on May 25, 2019 at 11:00 AM in Business Issues
Time Management, Project Delegation, Freedom & Due Dates

Time management is the process of putting things into your calendar and getting them done in a timely fashion. Time management is also about file and task management. Do you ever feel overworked or that your to-do list is longer than the amount of time in which you have to get it all done? I am one of those people who has too many things sitting unfiled on my desk and that adds to my feeling of overwhelm.

Product delegation is important because either you're going to complete a task, someone else is going to complete a task, or it won't get done. Whether you have too many tasks and not enough time or too many clients and no time for tasks, your problem is the same. So how do you delegate a project? I use David Allen Coe's "Getting It Done" system of time management and delegation. In that book, Coe says, to first find the person who can handle the task and project you're handing over.

His systems of steps is as follows:

1. Provide the delegated with the vision of the task. The vision gives the background and informs the person carrying out the task

2. Deliver the task. Tell them what you need done, not how. Give them enough details for them to be successful and allow them to determine how and in what order it needs to be completed.

3. Deliver the due date for the task.

4. Ensure (by asking them) that they can complete the stated task by the date needed. This gives the delegated an opportunity to think about the task (and whether they can complete it on time) and commit to it.

5. Ask if there's anything they need from you to complete the task.

Your role after asking if there's anything more needed from you is to schedule in your calendar a date and time to follow up with or check in with them. Assume it will take a minimum of two meetings to course correct and help them stay on or get back on track. Also, assume they will need additional information or support on top of the conversation had when the original delegation happened.

If you're a leader who just wants a task off your plate, you're experiencing overwhelm and need to have follow-ups. If you're a leader who follows-up incessantly, you must learn to trust that you were capable of delivering the task and they are capable of completing the task. 

One of the things I like most about Coe's system is when you create a task or project for yourself, don't put a due date on it. Instead, Coe says, create a task list (not a project list) without dates so you can avoid constantly and chronically feeling like you're failing in your capacity to do your projects. A task is one step (where projects are multiple tasks) and you don't put due dates on tasks because when you look at your list of tasks at the start of your day you're going to organically decide what is urgent and important and needs to be handled first. The values of your life move chronically; so once you complete an urgent and important task you recognize what the next most important thing to do is. 

If I have five tasks on my list and label them Due May 28th, May 28th may come around and I realize I have to take my kid to an emergency doctor's appointment. So to avoid feeling bad when I have to reschedule those five tasks I don't give them a due date. What I do is go to my task list in the morning and I number and prioritize what's urgent and important for that day.