Each day starts and you do a task that takes you about 10 minute to complete. Someone suggests you give that task to someone else. You think, “It’s just 10 minutes, it is easier (faster, smarter, better) to just get that done myself.”
If that was your only 10 minute, every-day task, your approach might make sense. But the reality is that you probably have a long list of fairly short tasks that really add up to hours of work. If you keep all of them for yourself, you are limiting what you can accomplish because all of your time is tied to routine tasks that don’t require your personal attention to complete.
The hard part is actually handing off the task. You can’t just tag someone else and drop it on them. You have to create a plan, do some training and provide feedback. It takes stepping out of the “I’ll just rush through this to get to that – gosh I’m so busy” mindset to create a workable plan. It takes even more effort to actually take the first step and start handing things off!
I faced this (and sometimes still have to remind myself of the importance) when I first got a virtual assistant (VA). It takes time to ask someone else to take over a task for you, and it takes effort to teach them what to do and how you want it done. Even after they take it over, you may have to feed data to your assistant, and you will want to spot check to be sure that things are getting done correctly and on time.
I can feel some of you rolling your eyes and saying, “See, not worth the effort.” But let’s do some math to see if that is true.
This task takes you 10 minutes per day. That is 50 minutes per week if you do it M-F. That is just over 43 hours per year.
Let me say that again – your “just 10 minutes task” takes you 43.3 HOURS per year.
Research shows that the amount of time it takes to train someone properly is 20 to 30 times the amount of time it takes you to do a task yourself.
Examples often help. Let’s use your 10 minute task as an example. Following this guide, 20 to 30 times your 10 minutes would be the time needed for training. That would be 200 – 300 minutes or 3.3 – 5 hours. Let’s use the biggest number and say that it will take you 5 hours to teach someone else how to take on this task. Let’s also say that after you teach someone else to do it, you’ll need to spend 10 minutes per week checking on it and making sure that any updates are given to the person who now does this task.
|Old Way||New Way|
|Your Time 1st Year||43.3 hours per year||8.67 hours per year plus 5 hours for training – total of 13.67 hours|
|Additional Years||43.3 hours per year||8.67 hours per year|
What could you accomplish with an extra 34 hours per year? I’ll bet it would bring in more revenue than what you would pay someone to take on this task.
Think about what would happen if you did this with ten different 10-minute tasks. We aren’t just talking about 34 extra hours per year – now it’s 340 hours per year. And the good news is that you can do it gradually so you can spread out the training time.
There are things only you can do. There are tasks you enjoy doing. But there are probably a lot of tasks you don’t enjoy and could easily be done by someone else with a little investment in training. Short run: takes a little more time: Long run: the investment is worth it!
How do you get there? To start, you need someone to give tasks to. If you have employees, you need to consider who has the skills and bandwidth to take something else on. It may be that some of your tasks could go to one person but others would be better with someone else.
But what if you don’t have employees? A virtual assistant (VA) can take on tasks while avoiding the cost of hiring someone. In fact, this blog you are reading was polished and published by my VA Gina. The content is up to me. The publishing part Gina handles.
Once you identify someone, map out what needs to be done in a simple document (I type an outline in Word) and put together whatever documents are needed. Then I schedule a sit down and talk through it. Then, I let the other person work on it. We agree on a time to check in, where I can answer questions and give feedback. Try it! Before long, you’ll be quality-checking but not much else.
If you are interested in having a VA, you are welcome to try out the firm I use, Time Etc., by following this link. You will get $25 off your first month as a trial. They interview you to understand what you need, match you with a VA with expertise in what you need done, and follow up to make sure you are satisfied with the results. I especially like that the people I work with are in the US and English is their first language – which isn’t true of every VA option out there.
Charlise Latour a business coach and owner of Accelerate Your Success. She works with each client to determine what their goals are and create a plan so they can achieve them. She is actively involved in Dancing & Singing With The King which raises money to promote dance education including working with local schools to offer dance classes during the school day. This is a natural fit as she is an avid ballroom dancer.