Delegate Tasks to a VA and Free Up Time (Ultimate Guide)
Table of Contents
If you’ve never tried to delegate tasks, this situation should be familiar:
It’s Friday night. You’re sitting in front of your computer screen. Your phone is full of messages from your friends and family, telling you to come to John’s birthday party. It’s awesome, they say. The barista’s making crazy cocktails. But you can’t make it. You’re too busy with work, and not just any work. Of all things, you’re stuck arranging contracts and tidying up your schedule that just won’t seem to behave.
This is a problem many high-level executives face. It’s not even that you’re too busy with things you actually NEED to be doing, like managing your company or meeting with clients. Oh no. Often you find yourself busy with pesky, repetitive chores that you’re overqualified for. What’s the alternative? you ask yourself, and type on into the night.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Delegating tasks is in our opinion the way out of this problem. In this ultimate guide to task delegation, you’ll find all the information you need to get started on this journey to a happier, more productive, and more rested you.
Before you delegate tasks
I would suggest you ask yourself a few questions which will help you figure out whether or not you need to delegate tasks in the first place and if you’re ready to do so. You can start with question-based on work and feeling overwhelmed, and continue with other questions below.
Do you feel overwhelmed?
This is perhaps one of the primary questions to ask yourself. It’s the main reason why people hire VAs. It only makes sense, after all. If you’ve too much work on your hands, you want to delegate some of it.
Can you afford it?
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to consider. Just because you want or need something doesn’t mean you can afford it. Especially if you’re a fresh and struggling startup, VAs can sometimes be expensive, not to mention the fact that you sometimes don’t even get your money’s worth in services!
Is your business remote-friendly?
VAs are remote workers. If your business is office-based and does not allow for remote work, they’re useless. Luckily, in recent times working remotely has become increasingly common. Odds are that, in some way, you can accommodate them.
Are you understaffed?
Think carefully about whether you need to hire a VA at all. Even if you’re overwhelmed with work, you might have an employee who can take care of what you need. There’s no need to bring in further expenses.
Can you trust another company to help you?
Your level of trust plays a key role here. It’ll do you little good to try and delegate your work if you won’t trust the people you delegate your work to.
What does it mean to delegate tasks?
Delegating tasks simply means assigning them to others. If you have a task that you were originally meant to do but can’t due to things such as time constraints or lack of skill, you can pass it along to someone else. Generally, you then compensate that person for it. In other words, you pay someone to do your task for you.
Task delegation has a long history. Remember the prototypical secretary or assistant. They’re either in a boss’s office or adjacent to it, dutifully handling admin tasks or keeping track of their to-do list. They’re in an integral part of the team.
Fast forward to today and we have many businesses who’ve done away with in-office work are faced with a wider option as to whom they can delegate their tasks. No longer are you simply bound to work within the confines of your company. Need a VA (a virtual assistant)? No problem! Just take your pick from the cornucopia of VA companies on offer.
Especially with recent world events, remote work is more popular than ever. This means that, if you decide to delegate your work, you’re lucky! You live at a point in history where you can get experts working with you with a click of your mouse.
Why delegate tasks?
The reasons to delegate tasks can be manyfold. However, they can be more or less boiled down to lack of time.
So often we feel overwhelmed with work. Our endless to-do list just keeps growing. When we look at our schedule, we think we’d rather eat a live frog than do everything that’s on today’s agenda. This problem especially applies to highly productive people like CEOs, consultants, speakers, coaches, and other high-level executives.
In this post, we’ll tell you all you need to know to get rid of that extra burden. By learning to properly delegate tasks to VAs, you will reclaim your life while not sacrificing your productivity.
What can a VA do for you?
Better question is: “What CAN’T they?” The truth is that there are very few limits to the tasks that can be delegated, especially if you’re working with experts. In fact, there’s at least 100 of them. Anything from admin chores to digital marketing can potentially be put in the hands of a VA.
Roughly speaking, these tasks can be divided into the following categories:
- Administrative tasks
- Digital marketing (including content writing and social media management)
- Art and design
What tasks you choose to delegate will depend on where your weak points are. Maybe you need to delegate tasks related to digital marketing, for example, because you just can’t find the time to manage your business’ growth all by yourself or even with the help of your in-house marketing team.
On the other hand, maybe you have your marketing covered, but your schedule’s a mess. Then you’d need someone to help with admin tasks.
Why is it important?
As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to become too busy. Worse yet, it’s easy to become too busy with repetitive, chore-like tasks that require minimal qualification. Think checking your email or scheduling appointments.
Although productivity is important, you want to be smart about it. The option to delegate tasks is great because it lets you transfer those pesky little timesinks to others while you focus on what truly matters: building your business, working with clients, or simply enjoying your free time.
You might be surprised to hear this, but you can actually increase your productivity by doing less. In other words, by delegating. So even if your priority isn’t playing golf but getting more things done, you’ll still want to delegate.
The pros and cons of delegating tasks
Like everything, delegating your tasks has its pros and cons. In order to decide whether or not it’s for you, you need to be able to weigh them properly. Knowing what they are is a good start.
We’ll dive into that now.
More free time
This is a no-brainer. By letting someone else do your work for you, you free up your time. Many people delegate for this reason alone. With more time, you can either spend it relaxing or focusing on other, more important tasks.
Higher quality work
Hopefully, this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but there are people out there more skilled or suited to do suited things than you are. Whether it’s boring admin work or social media marketing, letting an expert take care of it can really help your business.
If you’re always trying to do everything by yourself, it can be easy to overlook important details. Maybe you’ll slip up sometimes. It’s only natural when we’re overworked. When you decide to delegate tasks, however, you’ve several people thinking about fewer things each. There’s a much smaller chance of something going wrong.
For a VA to integrate with your company, you must onboard them. If you hired a random freelancer, this means doing it by yourself. This’ll take some time and might cause more trouble than it’s worth. Luckily, there are companies out there offering onboarding services as part of the package.
Once again, this mostly applies if you decide to manage your VAs by yourself. Sometimes they’ll slack off and take your money for nothing. This won’t happen if you hire through the right companies.
Since you’re adding more people into the mix, the potential exists for communication problems to arise. To counter this, make sure all parties involved have decent communication skills.
Recommended steps delegate tasks
Finally, we come to the meat of the post. This’ll probably be most useful to most people. After all, you’ve probably stumbled upon this post because you’ve already been wanting to try and delegate tasks.
The truth is that delegation is both simple and complicated. It’s simple in that the concept itself is easy to understand. However, many people underestimate the potential trickiness of the process itself.
Here are some tips that will help you navigate the delegation process successfully:
Step #1 – Know what to delegate
We at Remote Bob sometimes make it seem like VAs are gods that can take on every task ever. While that’s almost true, there are also limits. After all, if your executive duties could be done by just about anyone, what are you even doing as the head of the company?
Think about what tasks aren’t unique to your skillset. Deciding whom to hire or performing consultations might be tasks suited to you personally. It’s less likely someone else will be able to do them well. Swathing through piles of admin work, on the other hand, is easily delegated.
Step #2 – Delegate them to the right people
Okay, so you’ve got the right tasks, now you need the right person. Simply put, VAs are specialists. Although there might be some tasks that all of them do well, it’s often the case that they specialize in a narrower area. Hence, you get social media specialists, content writers, lead gen experts, etc.
Although delegating tasks to the wrong person will often result in them objecting, you still want to double-check. Sometimes, politeness and a surplus of ambition can make them skip out on bringing up the mistake.
Additionally, try to find (or let us find you) someone you vibe with. You’ll have a much more pleasant time.
Step #3 – Give crystal-clear task instructions
Here’s the thing, you know what you need doing, but a VA doesn’t. Well, not exactly. They may know roughly what you need, but it’s up to you to work out the details. This includes a clear statement of goals and objectives.
For example, you might need someone to manage your social media channels. Most social media specialists will roughly have an idea of what you’re looking for. However, they still require clarification from you about your desired brand image, voice, post frequency etc. Clearing everything up right at the outset will prevent future mistakes and misunderstandings. However, instructions can also be clarified after-the-act.
Step #4 – Provide the necessary resources
So you need your social media channels managed. Awesome. We’ll need your account names and passwords for that. On top of that, we’ll need any visual and textual materials you would like used. This applies to services across the board.
Although a VA may have their own computer and access to a few basic apps… that’s basically it. They need your help to know what they should and can use. Despite everything you’ve been told, we’re not (always) mind readers.
Step #5 – Be willing to give up some of your authority
No, this doesn’t mean let us take over your business. I promise. What it does mean is letting go of micromanagement to a certain extent. It’s more difficult than you might at first think.
By delegating tasks you’re relinquishing control over some aspects of how things are done. Although we’ll obviously consult you on how you want things done, you need to trust that our VAs are able to understand what you need and give it to you. This isn’t always easy, but it’s almost always worth it. In time, it will reduce your stress levels.
Step #6 – Establish a clear communication channel
There are plenty of apps that let you do this. WhatsApp, Slack, or Asana are just some of them. Even email works sometimes. What’s important is establishing a clear communication channel when delegating tasks so that you’re always in touch with your VA.
Sometimes issues will arise with the task(s) you’ve delegated. VAs aren’t omnipotent, after all (but we’re working on it). Good communication means these issues can get resolved in a timely and painless manner. Good communication also includes being responsive to messages and willing to give input when needed.
Step #7 – Allow mistakes and provide constructive feedback
Look, mistakes are inevitable. Odds are that eventually, someone will mess up with a task you’ve delegated. These mistakes are usually small. You want to avoid making a big deal about occasional slip-ups. Of course, if someone is constantly doing a bad job, then there’s a deeper problem that needs to be addressed.
This goes hand-in-hand with providing constructive feedback. If a VA does something wrong or simply in a way you don’t subjectively like, tell them, but do it in such a way that you let them know exactly what you think they should change. It’ll go a long way towards creating a more fruitful relationship.
Step # 8 – Give credit where credit is due
Finally, don’t forget to praise someone for getting things right! It goes a long way towards increasing self-esteem and reinforcing good behaviour. In other words, if you want someone to keep getting things right, give them credit when they do!
These tips to delegate tasks more successfully might seem self-explanatory, but they’re often forgotten. If you’re having delegation difficulties, refer back to this list and check what you’re missing.
And thus we come to the conclusion of this guide. You opened this text probably eager or stressed out, overwhelmed with information and tasks. Hopefully, you leave equipped with the knowledge on how to free up your time.
Delegating tasks is an art and a necessity, and after reading this post you should have a better understanding of this invaluable method of boosting results and productivity while simultaneously having more time for yourself.
So what are you waiting for? Start delegating and reclaim your life!