Getting Things Done Without Doing Any of the Work
April 3, 2009
Are you a “do it yourself” kind of person or are you able to delegate work to others? Until rather recently I’d always been in the do it yourself camp, why pay someone else good money to do something for me when I could figure it out on my own?
How Valuable is Your Time?
What I’ve learned is that although you do save money when you do everything yourself, you are instead spending another equally valuable resource, your time. I think back to when I was in my mid 20’s and seemed to have all the free time in the world. It made sense to do everything myself, I had an abundance of time and wasn’t exactly flush with money. However now that I’m running circles trying to keep up with a job, my family, business projects, and soon another baby; I’ve come to immensely appreciate the value of time.
A wise philosopher once observed that necessity is the mother of invention, and I agree with him. As my available time has eroded over the last two or three years my “invention” has been to find ways of getting other people to do the work that I used to do. I know it’s not a unique approach but “inventing” my own process of how to do this effectively has been key to any success that I’ve had.
Getting Things Done
The main problem with doing everything yourself is that you have to find time to do the work. When time is short, this often means that the work simply doesn’t get done, or gets done three months down the road.
It is easy to put things off but some tasks simply won’t wait on you forever. For example, doing your taxes. Or fixing a hole in your roof that leaks into your garage every time it rains. The implications of not doing things such as these can be pretty costly, in fact the cost tends to increase the longer it takes for you to get them done.
I know experts like David Allen and Stephen Covey have created systems that help us with “Getting Things Done” or being “Highly Effective People” but what I’ve found is that even with a good system in place, there’s a limit to how much one person can optimize their time. For me, there comes a point where I realize that in order to get certain things done, the best way is to hire someone else to do the work for me.
Getting Things Done Right
If you can hire the right person to do the job they can do the work much faster and much better than you ever could. The key is finding the right person; not that there is only one qualified person to prepare your taxes or fix your roof but there are a certain set of characteristics that you’ll be looking for when you hire someone for a job.
I think one of the reasons that people get bogged down with too many things to do and not enough time to accomplish them is that they don’t know how to find the right person to help them. I know that’s certainly been the case for me. There are many times I’ve wanted to hire help but wasn’t sure how to find a person that would do a good job or how much to pay them.
Overcoming Your Fears
It really sucks when you pay a professional to build or fix something and you end up having to go back and re-do the work or hire someone else to fix it. I think this is what many of us are afraid of; that we’ll end up spending money and not getting what we want or spending way more than we have budgeted.
Honestly, I think the only way to overcome these fears is to go through the process of hiring someone for a project and figuring out techniques to help you pick the right person and communicate to them exactly what you need. I’ve been going through that process in small chunks over the last year or so and I’ll share in the days ahead what I’ve learned, what’s worked for me and what’s flopped. Stay tuned.
All posts by Ben Edwards