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Get it Off Your Plate!
Choosing Activities to Delegate or Outsource

What percent of your work hours are spent on valuable, productive activities?

75%? 50%? Even less?

Sure, everyone has to fight fires. Return calls. Manage an Inbox. And every job has its deadlines. But if you spend too much time on "B" and "C-level" tasks, you may find yourself scratching your head at the end of the workday thinking,

"I know I just worked nine hours --
why do I feel like I didn't get anything done?"

As a manager, the best way to accomplish more is by staying focused on your highest priorities. That means selectively delegating and outsourcing less critical activities. This worksheet will help you determine which types of work you need to complete yourself -- and what you can get off your plate:

Getting Started

  1. Adopt the right mindset. Delegating and outsourcing requires giving up a certain amount of control. Keep an open, objective mind as you weigh your options.
  2. Be strategic. While you may be tempted to automatically push unpleasant responsibilities onto someone else, always think about your company's big picture -- and the long-term consequences of allowing somebody other than you to complete work.
  3. Define your needs. Develop an accurate, written description of your expectations and the results you want to achieve. This will help you locate the right people and resources for delegating and/or outsourcing.
  4. Use your new-found time wisely.Once you've handed off assignments, have a plan for making the most of your extra time. Focus on those high-level priorities that are central to your (and your company's) success.

Factors to Consider

As a manager, you have several options for completing work (other than doing it yourself). To choose the best option, consider:

  • the type of work to be done (i.e., Is it repetitive? Mission critical? Low priority?);
  • the duration of the work (i.e., Is it a discrete task/project, or an ongoing responsibility?);
  • how time-consuming it is, versus the value it brings to the organization;
  • the timeframe allotted for completion;
  • whether or not it falls within your area of expertise;
  • special skills or experience required.

Choose the Right Option

Use these suggestions to weigh your options and make the best choice for getting work done:

  • Delegate internally. Do you have qualified people onboard with the capacity and talent for accomplishing the task? Is the work highly confidential? Ongoing? In these cases, delegating to existing employees may be your best choice. For time-consuming work that must be completed in-house, invest in technology and equipment to automate as much of the work as possible.

  • Temporary and contract employees. Completing discrete projects. Meeting tight deadlines. Handling surges in your workload. Tackling mundane or low-priority tasks. Temporary / contract personnel provide the skills and additional capacity to address work situations like these in a time- and cost-effective manner. Whether assignments are short or long term, contingent workers allow you to focus on your most important work.

  • Outsourcing. This option is ideal for non-core functions and internal functions that are understaffed. In addition to freeing up more of your (and your team's) time, outsourcing to specialists can improve the quality of the function and reduce total costs. Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a rapidly growing example of a service that improves quality, reduces costs and frees up valuable time.

  • Consultants. Consulting firms are ideal when they can shorten the path (and learning curve) to a desired outcome. Use outside consultants for roles requiring highly specialized knowledge or experience. Consultants typically come at a higher cost, but there is often no substitute for the value they deliver.

Need help getting something off your plate?

We can provide reliable, trained people at a moment's notice. We'll design a cost-effective solution that gives you more time -- and frees you to do your most important work.