Create Free Time by Deciding What to Delegate, When and How
Recently I’ve been helping people create more free time and, in turn, more ME time. The distinction between free time and ME time is that free time is precious time you’ve created out of your already busy day. ME time is that little bit of time left over that you can have just for you. For family, friends or YOU!
Usually any free time is quickly used to complete work that has been piling up while life happens. Creating free time is not as easy as it sounds, of course. This article will focus on free time, and further on in this article, I’ll explain an important way to get more of that elusive free time.
When working with my clients and students, we regularly bust myths. One of the biggest myths is, “I have to do everything myself,” or my Dad’s version: “If I don’t do it myself, it won’t get done or done right.” The truth about this myth is that the only way you can grow your business is with help. And that means letting go of work, email inboxes, calendars, etc. When I first committed to my freedom journey and began creating more free time, it felt like a tough pill to swallow. Give up my inbox?? Let others into the inner sanctum? Yikes!! But since I was more connected to my commitment than my feelings about it, I pushed on.
What I did, and what I work with my clients and students to do, is look at something you do regularly that takes about an hour a week or month—something that you do almost without thinking. Take a moment to think of that task now…
With that task in mind, start creating a procedure with the sole purpose of giving it away some time in the future. Maybe not right now, maybe not tomorrow, but for sure within the next couple of months. Why I say that is because you will first have to get over the scary idea that someone else will be doing this instead of you. Think of the task as if someone else was doing the work. Trust me, once you do this, it will become easier and, in my case, I start looking for the next thing to give away.
In Step 1, I said “create” because I truly mean that. There are many ways to create a procedure. My favorite way is with a Google Doc in my Google Drive because I know I’m going to share the document with someone, and this is a safe and easy way to do it. You might like to create it in a different way. Most of my team likes to receive a combination of written text, images/screenshots and a short video that I record on Zoom as I’m doing the work.
Next time you do the task, use the procedure to do the work yourself and follow each step just like a team member would. This helps catch certain nuances that you’ve taken for granted. Please remember this is not an exercise in perfection.
Time to find someone to do the work. Look for someone who has expertise in the work you are asking them to do. They are usually called freelancers, virtual assistants, or VAs—a term I have heard is attributed to Thomas J. Leonard, one of the forefathers of modern coaching.
Train them! Yes, they need to know how you’d like it done. I like showing them while I’m doing it, then the next time I let them do it and show me. We keep doing that until I’m satisfied that they are doing it correctly.
Accountability. How will you know they are doing it correctly and on time? Set up accountability and/or check-ins. More frequently at the beginning but less over time. After all, this is free time you’ve earned, and you don’t want to be worrying about the team.
Relax and ENJOY YOUR FREE TIME! You’ve earned it.
If these steps are done with fun and commitment, you’ll soon find yourself looking for the next task or even a project to give away. This is what it’s like for me, and I’m thrilled that I have the free time to spend more looking at the big picture, spending time with friends and time to write this article!