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Free Yourself by Delegating


Delegating tasks to your staff is often viewed as a last ditch effort to create more time in your day, but it’s a very valuable skill to have at your disposal.

Practice Management, Columns, Lifestyle, Delegating, Tasks

Time is a very precious commodity for just about everyone, but for many physicians, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Great time management and excellent productivity can often only get you so far in freeing up time in your day. Delegating tasks to your staff is often viewed as a last ditch effort to create more time in your day, but it’s a very valuable skill to have at your disposal.

Reasons People Avoid Delegating Tasks

Delegating tasks is one of those activities that can be seen in different ways depending on your viewpoint.

• There are some people that fear delegating tasks because they worry that the quality would not be the same if they allow someone else to do it.

• There are those that would do it, but just don’t know how to delegate tasks effectively.

• There are others that worry that if they delegate tasks to their staff they might be viewed by others as not being good at their jobs or managing their time.

• There are some people that feel the need to control every action assigned to them.

All of these reasons can have a real effect on why someone doesn’t delegate tasks, but you should examine what is holding you back from following through with the delegation. Of course, there are always going to be tasks that cannot or should not be delegated, but those tasks that could be done by someone on your staff should be so that you can get back to those tasks that require your touch only.

Tips on Delegating Tasks

If the one thing that is keeping you from delegating tasks is that you’re unsure of how to go about it, these tips can help get you on the right path.

• List what tasks can be delegated and what cannot. It may be necessary to break down your tasks into components so that you can delegate things that you don’t need to do while keeping the portion of the task that is vital for you to handle.

• List your available staff members and what tasks are best assigned to them. You may need to work on training your staff depending on what the task demands, and the skills that your available staff possess.

• Be clear and open about the tasks you are delegating, such as the objective and how it should be accomplished. This may require you to offer some context for the task, especially if it’s part of a series of tasks.

• Don’t forget to mention a timeline of when tasks should be completed as a deadline may change whether or not they are able to assist you with the task. Often, you’d rather have a staff member tell you that their plate is too full to take on a project than have it languish on their to-do list.

• Be available in case of questions, especially during the first few times the staff member is working on the task. This will help them to gain more confidence in working on the newly assigned task, and help to prevent something needing to be done all over again because it was done incorrectly the first time around.

• Follow-up with the staff member after the task has been handled to address any questions or concerns on it.

• Offer feedback to the staff member on how well they accomplished the task and solicit any feedback from them on the task for future delegating activities. This feedback loop should make it easier to assign these tasks again, as well as help find ways to streamline tasks. You may have always handled a task one way, but having fresh eyes on it may find other ways that the task can be completed more effectively or efficiently.

Delegating your tasks may seem like a hassle that’s going to take up more precious time than just getting everything accomplished yourself, but that’s not always going to be the case. Yes, it may take you a little longer to get your staff on board with these new tasks at first, but in the long run, you will be pleased that you went through this process. Your work schedule will be more efficient, and you will have more time for those things that require your absolute attention. You may even be able to finally clock out on time at the end of a long day — all thanks to being able to delegate tasks effectively.

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