No Time To Breathe?
Have you ever had that feeling where you literally feel like you can’t slow down enough to take a long breath? Especially right now – more than ever – it might feel like you’re racking your brain and consumed with trying to make your program a success. I just got off of the phone with a program director who said: I can’t slow down enough to even take a look at systems and tools that may help me have more time in my day! I assured her she was not alone.
There are so many things to do, right? Hiring staff, firing staff, motivating staff, completing paperwork, lesson plans, marketing… And you have to squeeze lunch in there somewhere. What’s on your list?
Recently I had the opportunity to listen in to a conference call where a woman by the name of Nicole Dean was speaking about outsourcing. She made a key point that stuck in my head so I thought I would share it with you. She said when striving to manage your time more effectively you should first think about automating processes and then delegating.
I began thinking about that word automating. What can I automate? Then it hit me that there are so many things that I do that I can set up systems for so that things that used to be a burden are handled effortlessly and easily. Here’s a simple example. Handling the mail. What used to happen is that there was a large bin in my office where the daily mail accumulated. So at the end of the month I would take an hour (or delegate the task) and sort through the monstrous pile. Now I automated the process where I have a few different paper holders nailed up to my wall. One is strictly for bills, another is for bank statements, etc. So when the mail comes in I put the items where they go. Some mangers automate the hiring process by using a pre-screening tool to help them quickly identify top candidates instead of manually sorting through a gigantic pile of papers.
After you automate as much as you possibly can the next thing to think about is delegation. What can you delegate? Here’s another wise piece of advice from Ms. Dean. Delegate what’s in your way of your accomplishing what only you can accomplish to achieve a goal or success. So what’s in your way of you achieving greater levels of success? For me, it’s things like bookkeeping or website changes and yes, even handling customer service issues at the Leadership Connection. Sometimes I get fearful to fully delegate those things out – but they do hold me back from finishing my books and further developing my products and workshops to help out this wonderful group of people in the child care industry.
Many leaders have shared with me how they’re fearful to delegate the writing of their newsletter to their staff or other small tasks that takes their focus off of doing the real high pay-off activities that only they can accomplish.
What are the things that are hard for you to let go of?
In closing I would just like to share with you a story about a teacher I met when I first started speaking. The principal of the school raved about this teacher and how he turned his class of low performing students into top-achievers. The same actions he implemented can also work in helping you inspire your team to become top-performers. So what did he do? One simple word – - DELEGATE. After he changed up the appearance of his classroom by adding Christmas lights and bringing in sofas and comfy chairs for his students he began delegating his work. The first task he delegated was entering grades into the grade book. Then he delegated taking attendance and then a student was put in charge of the bathroom pass. He said that positions were earned and it was a huge motivating factor. Yes, new challenges are motivators! Students felt that their teacher was someone who truly believes in them and they felt empowered to be a part of their classroom’s overall success.
Remember today to breathe and think about what you can automate and delegate. Still thinking to yourself: Who has time? My last piece of advice is that sometimes it’s crucial to take a step or two backwards so you can make quantum leaps forward.
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