A growing to-do list can quickly become overwhelming, but there is a way to ease the stress: delegate.
While you may harbor fears that the work won't be done well, will take longer to be done by someone else, or will fall into unreliable hands, this type of thinking will lead you to burn out, warns career and business strategist Jenny Blake. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Blake illustrates six types of tasks that you are better off delegating.
1. Tiny tasks are neither important nor urgent, but they can add up and take you "out of the flow of more strategic work," writes Blake.
2. The Tedious to-do might be relatively simple, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best use of your time.
3. A Time-Consuming task may be important and somewhat complex. Blake recommends that you only step in to give your approval or next-step directions once the task is 80% complete.
4. Teachable tasks require you to translate the seemingly complicated to-do into a simplified assignment you can teach a direct report, writes Blake.
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5. A task you're Terrible At may take you far longer to complete than your peers, but "still produce a subpar result," notes Blake.
6. Time-Sensitive needs may compete with other important priorities, and you don't have time to do them all at once. Once you delegate this task, you and your team can work in tandem to reach shared deadlines, suggests Blake.
Blake does tack on one final to-do for the stressed out leader: Start tracking all the tasks that fit these six categories, even if you're unsure who to delegate them to or even how to delegate them. Before you can reach a solution, you have to understand the problem, she writes.
She also offers one more piece of advice. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, remember to "take a moment to focus on what matters most, and remind yourself that you don't have to fly solo at work" (Blake, Harvard Business Review, 7/28).
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