Andrew Carnegie once said, "No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit."

As a time management expert, I believe very strongly that delegation is a fundamental key to success. Many people try, unsuccessfully, to delegate, and if not done properly, delegation can be a disaster. By following the tips below you can learn how to use delegation as an effective time management tool.

Why? - There are only 24 hours in a day. If you are like many people today, you are feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. Delegation can help to free up time in your schedule.

What? - The first step is to determine if there are any tasks you are currently doing that can be eliminated altogether. Next, look for tasks that you don't enjoy doing or aren't good at. These often result in procrastination tactics. It is amazing how many ways we can find to procrastinate to avoid a task that we don't enjoy doing. Because of this, these tasks are prime candidates for delegation. This can be a one-time project, such as the creation of a new website, or an on-going task, such as monthly bookkeeping.

How? - Don't try to delegate everything at once. This is a common mistake. Instead choose one task or process and start with just that. For example, if you run a small business, bookkeeping could be something you choose to delegate. If you work for a company, you could have one of your direct reports become responsible for writing a section of your weekly status report. Once you have delegated that successfully, then you can decide the next task to delegate. Avoid hiring someone to "help out" in general, without knowing what you have them work on. Determine the task first, and then decide who is best suited to do the task.

Who? - If you work in a company and have direct reports, you want the delegated task to be a growth opportunity for one of your team members. If you are looking to outsource a task, consider all of the following as possibilities: Intern, Virtual Assistant, part-time or full-time Assistant, High School or College student, another company, or an outsourcing website such as

When? - Don't wait until you "have time to deal with it". I can't tell you how many times my clients have told me that they don't have time to teach someone else how to do it. Instead they waste time over and over again doing a task that they could have delegated. Commit to delegating one task or project in the month of November.

Delegation allows you to spend more time doing what you like and what you are good at. Often the financial commitment deters people from outsourcing, but it usually more than pays for itself. By hiring a specialist or assigning a direct report to help with a particular function, you become more efficient and effective. Over time, delegating will become second nature.

Author's Bio: 

Michigan-based Productivity Trainer and Certified Professional Organizer, Donna Lindley, publishes the "Timely Tips" monthly ezine from Organized Office Solutions. If you're ready to jump-start your productivity by organizing your space, time, email and paper, I invite you to sign up to receive your FREE tips now by going to