Even ‘superwomen’ can use some help, and learning how to delegate at home and work can free up some valuable time for you and your loved ones, says Joanna Hall.
Engage your partner’s help
“If you are overwhelmed, it’s okay to say so,” says psychotherapist Shirley Smith. “Some women feel it’s their job to make their partner feel good, and don’t want to put pressure on them, while others feel they have to be self-sufficient and not ask. So it’s very important that women can speak up.”
Smith also advises that you focus on ‘we’ rather than ‘me’, and how you can both benefit. For example, if it’s the weekend and you have a full plate juggling the kids’ sporting activities, ask your husband to do the grocery shopping for you, suggesting that it will give you some quality time together later.
“Ultimately it boils down to letting go of control, something which many women don’t like doing,” she says. “But if the washing isn’t folded the way you like, and you’ve asked your partner to do it, you can’t complain.”
Kids can help too
“Kids around the age of two want to help, so start then if possible,” says Michael Grose, a leading parenting educator. “Look at things you do for them which they can do for themselves. Also, give them one or two self-help and family jobs every day, and change them every week.”
If kids squabble over who does which job, Grose says you can let them sort it out. “If power relations are relatively even, meaning the kids give as good as they get to each other, tell them you are not fussed who feeds the cat as long as it gets done,” he says. “But, at other times, parents will need to share jobs out, and the use of a roster helps here.”
In the workplace
“When delegating at work, think about the particulars of the task, and the appropriate person to get the task done,” advises Domonique Bertolucci, a life coach and author of Your Best Life (Hachette, $39.99). “Whether that person is male or female, older or younger, the way you delegate should be consistent with your management style, and not influenced by the person you are delegating to.”
If you are delegating to an older male colleague who has made it clear he doesn’t like having a female boss, for example, tell them they have been given the task because they have the appropriate skills, and you’re confident they will do a good job. Also, be clear on what needs to be done, and how. “Don’t be a ‘micro manager’,” says Bertolucci. “Outline the fixed parameters, and wherever possible let the person being delegated to determine at least some of the detail.”
In your own business, Luna recommends using a ‘three-rule system’. “The rules are to play to your strengths, build a process and then outsource it,” explains Luna. For example, if your strength is in marketing, but you are spending a lot of time doing the books, delegate this job to a partner if they are suited to the task, or hire someone to do it. This approach frees up a lot of valuable time.”
For more health tips pick up the February issue of Good Health magazine at magshop.co.nz.