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  • Writer's pictureMaria Wade

Too Much on Your Plate? Invite Someone to Share Your Dish

I want to share a recent experience with you that stopped me in my tracks.

Initially, it was something that brought me a lot of pride, but quickly, that pride turned into concern. Should I feel pride for getting something done even if it means running myself into the ground?

My answer: An unequivocal no.

Here’s what happened.

I needed a video completed.

So, I decided to do this all myself. And when I say I did everything myself, I mean, I did everything myself. I wrote the script. I set up my camera and my sound. The quality was not that great, but who cares? Perfection is the enemy of the good (and complete). I edited the video once it was done. I created a thumbnail for this video. And I did not stop there. I found free music I was permitted to use for the video and put it all together. To finish off, I added subtitles.

Finally, after many steps and stumbling blocks, I posted the video.

At first, I was very proud (and I do still think it’s pretty cool I figured out how to do that stuff).

But, if I look closely, I can find something wrong at every stage of this. I do not wish to go into film production. I do not want to become a studio producer. I needed to put off other things in order to complete this. So where did I falter?

Examining this scenario, I realized the one (big) thing missing: I did not properly delegate.

If you have a lot on your plate, it is probably time to invite someone and share your dish.

Life, work...everything can feel overwhelming sometimes. You have a never-ending to-do list, and there aren’t enough hours in the day for all you need to get done. You feel drained.

Here’s the truth: You can do many things yourself. You have many talents. And, maybe you want to work things out on your own for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is important for you to save some money. Maybe you’d like to explore new skills because you’re curious. These are all valid reasons to take things on yourself, especially in the short-term with quick turnarounds.

But, when it comes to the longer-term, I take a different view.

When you engage in many tasks, you are spreading your energy and your precious focus and attention on something outside of the scope of your big goal... outside of the scope of your WHY.

I understand, for many of us that feel the need for control over all aspects of our lives/work/business/environment, we may be worried something will go wrong or something will be ruined if we let someone else get their hands in the pot.

But, if we can begin to surrender some of this control, we will begin to realize that there is very little we need to truly manage ourselves in the long-run. Freeing our time a bit allows us to engage in activities that are really meaningful and drive purpose for us.

And, yes. Asking for help can feel scary.

It can seem like you are begging or that you are promoting your inability to do something.

Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Asking for help shows you are strong enough and brave enough to ask. If you are in a leadership role, this is even more powerful. I promise, it will demonstrate your strength.

Check your thinking preferences (ask me about the NBI profile to determine your preferences). If it's a one time task you can focus on and be done with it: do it. You can do anything.

But, evaluate your longer-term projects and decide what to keep for yourself, and what to delegate.

What might it look like to take the longer view?

● In a corporate environment: You can reconsider your job description or your team members’ job descriptions. If you have the flexibility to allocate the workload differently, bring up the topic to discuss. Invest time in figuring out what people like to do and enable them to do their favorite work. If you have less control, engage with your partners; take advantage of the resources around you. When in doubt, ask. You never know what might be possible.

● If you own your own business: The answer isn’t always jumping to hire a costly professional, though it may feel tempting. You may be able to teach someone how to do what you need. It can be a win-win, as they may be excited for an opportunity to learn the ropes with you. Hiring or partnering with other entrepreneurs can be mutually beneficial. Explore barter options. Get creative!

● In your personal life: Do not be afraid to ask family members and friends to help you. Remember, this is not a sign of weakness, but of strength, and you will be modeling for all of those in your life what strength can look like. This can unite you even more with your loved ones.

My final word: No matter how independent, self-starting (or stubborn!) someone is, I always advise to hire a professional, when reasonable, in these two situations as a non-negotiable: taxes and health & safety.

Take (Small) Action Now

How can you find out what you want to keep on your plate and what you wish to delegate or share with others? Complete the exercise I call “My Perfect, Beautiful Day.” Close your eyes and imagine your best day… what are you doing, what are you NOT doing, and how do you feel?

Now, what’s one thing currently on your plate that didn’t show up in your Perfect, Beautiful Day, and who can you ask for help to get it done?

Enjoyed this post? You may want to explore my series on time management. The latest post is here.

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