The end of the year is a time for reflections and resolutions. And not a moment too soon, because the leaders and managers I coach are very busy doing a lot of stuff with little time to think. I imagine you are the same (so I won’t burden you with a long article, just 396 words). Doing stuff leaves them, and again I imagine you, with little time to consider if they are doing all that stuff right (i.e. being efficient), or if, in fact, they are doing the right stuff (i.e. being effective). So here’s the plan…

1. Take a piece of A4 paper (you may need more than one) and draw a line down the middle (told you it was easy).
2. On the left hand side write down all your tasks – the stuff you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
3. Then ask yourself: What’s the stuff that only I can do? Tick those tasks to which that applies. Be honest, you are not entirely indispensable… really!
4. Then ask: What could I stop doing? Either because it’s wasted effort or I need to delegate it (remember that delegation will not only save you time in the medium to long term, it is also a great way to develop your direct reports). Move these tasks to the right hand side and mark them to be binned or delegated.
5. Now go back to your reduced task list of stuff ‘only you can do’ and consider how to do these things more efficiently (which should save you more time) or how you might add greater value by doing them differently – liaising more with stakeholders for example.
6. Finally, decide what you should start doing? In the short term, delegated tasks will take time coaching or training staff, but ultimately you will have time and space to think, plan, and do. Perhaps completing a project that has languished, getting to know your team better, identifying the next steps in your own development, or (and here’s a revolutionary thought) just going home earlier!

Don’t try and do everything at once. My suggestion would be to pick no more than three tasks to stop doing, three tasks to delegate and three things to start doing – one for your benefit, one for your team and one for the organisation.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Resolutions!

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