Can you delegate it?
I know a master delegator. We go to her house for dinner and a couple of minutes later, someone has been dispatched to the grocery store buying ingredients, someone is setting the table and someone is whipping the cream for dessert.
Not once do I recall thinking, “Oh no, dinner isn’t ready.” Everyone thought, “Well, that was fun.”
This story – yes it’s true – highlights several of the secrets to being able to delegate and therefore feeling less frazzled.
Know what “done” looks like, then establish standards and expectations. If your spouse helps by doing the dishes but doesn’t wipe down the counter, is he done? Have you suggested to him (or her) that wiping down surfaces and gathering the drinking glasses from around the house is part of the process.
Create a place for everything in your home or office. You’ve then enabled others to help you. Now instead of answering a question with, “Oh never mind, I’ll just do it myself,” you can say, “It’s in the left cabinet, dear,” and continue with what you were doing.
To be an effective delegator, you need to let go of perfectionism. Of course you could do it better. In a perfect world. If you had the time. But you don’t. So remember the ultimate goal is to feel less overwhelmed, not to be perfect.
Turn everything into a group activity, then provide the space and direction. Others can do it fine if you let them. It might be different from how you would do it, but it will get done. The bonus is you will have more time for creativity and fun.
Now, go show your kids how to fold and put away the laundry. Next week, they’ll be doing it instead of you.
This article originally appeared in Sage, October 2010.