Follow the 5 Cs to effectively delegate

  • By Monika Kristofferson <i>Office Efficiency</i>
  • Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:19pm

Are you short on time but long on tasks? I’m sure you are the expert in your field and it’s better to take on all of those tasks yourself. It will just be faster if you do it yourself, right?

Not so fast… Delegating tasks and duties can be one of the most powerful efficiency tools that you will add to your tool belt of good habits.

Our time and attention can be pulled away in countless ways from what matters the most in our businesses. There are times when it is appropriate to delegate so we can maintain our focus and reach our goals while keeping balance in our lives.

The following two questions will help you know when it’s appropriate to consider passing a task, project or duty over to someone else.

How much money is involved to complete the task? If you are making $60 per hour you should not be doing $10-per-hour tasks. Let someone else take on those tasks so you can focus your energy where you can make the most money. An assistant or virtual assistant can be worth their weight in gold.

Are you an expert in everything? I’m guessing not so much. We all have unique talents and a passion for the work that we are meant to share with the world. I know in my own business, my strengths lie in organizing, motivating and training. My strengths are not in web design or IT issues, so I delegate those tasks. I could spend hours and hours (plus a lot of stress) trying to do work that I don’t understand how to do, or I can let an expert take the reins.

Now that you are warming up to the idea of passing along some of those tasks that you dread or don’t excel in, you are ready for the five Cs of delegation. Follow these steps to make the process of delegation seamless:

1: Choose the correct person for the job. Look for someone who can do those tasks as well as you can or even better than you can. When you choose the right person for the job, it will come easily to them, they will enjoy the work and it will get done faster. A win for everyone.

2: Clarify what you want done. Be clear with your instructions about what needs to be done to complete the task. If the other person doesn’t fully understand what is expected of them they may procrastinate or do the work incorrectly, which will waste valuable time.

3: Confirm that the other person understands your request. If you have kids, you know what I mean here. You tell your child to do something and two days later, when it’s not done, their excuse is that they didn’t hear you or they didn’t understand what they were supposed to do.

When you are delegating work, make sure the other party fully understands your request by having them summarize what you are asking them to do. Catch misunderstandings now to save time later.

4: Create a completion date. Be clear on due dates and deadlines so there’s no confusion about when the work should be completed. Factor in unexpected issues or delays to the best of your ability.

5: Create a checkpoint date. Depending on the size of the project, you may need to check-in one time or you may need to check-in several times. Ensure that tasks are running on time, the other person is holding up their end of the bargain and nothing is slipping through the cracks with checkpoint dates. Determine your method of contact in advance. Will you make contact with a phone call, an email or a face-to-face meeting?

Don’t think of delegation as a shortcoming or failure on your part. You don’t have to take everything on your own shoulders and you shouldn’t. Use delegation as a way to manage your time efficiently by using the amazing talents and resources that you have available to you.

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer, productivity consultant and trainer who owns Efficient Organization in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or

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