Delegation: The Leveraging of Time

There is part of me that is afraid to write this article in that I know I am going to be speaking to a certain degree out of both sides of my mouth. We all only have so much time: 168 hours per week to be more precise.

There are plenty of studies which suggest that any work we do over 40 hours of work per week tends to produce diminishing returns in terms of errors and that if the average person does substantially more than 40 hours per week, then the amount of time that is spent correcting the mistakes tends to bring the actual total productivity back down towards that 40 hour work week figure. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but even some of the busiest executives that I know hardly work more than a 60 hour work week on a consistent basis. The reason? They realize they can get more out of relaxing and delegating the rest of the tasks that need to be done.

Many small business owners have a terrible time with delegation. It is a step that is necessary in order to reach the next level of success. Please note that many business owners make the mistake of thinking that one extra unit will create an extra level of productivity. They try this and often find out that they are actually making less money than when they were doing things on their own. This can cause many to throw their hands up in the air and say that delegation is not worth it. Like all things, there is a degree of truth to this even though it may not be the whole truth. Often, there are different levels in a business and one may have to save up enough resources in order to bring the business to the next level. It may very well be that one would have to be in a position to hire eight people rather than one additional person in order to achieve the next level of productivity. Perhaps you may be needed to help train or develop systems for seven people who are performing whatever your task is and you need an administrative assistant or a receptionist to help coordinate the schedules for everyone. Anything less and it could be that you are losing productivity in trying to bring fewer people up to speed and find yourself wondering “what happened?”

Given the statistics regarding productivity of people working more than 40 hours, I always find myself questioning whenever someone is working over 60 hours on a consistent basis. That being said, if you are working 40 hours per week and you knew that if you worked an extra 5 hours or so that you could generate X and that X was greater than the cost of a task that you hated or did not like as much as your work, perhaps it would make more sense to delegate that job elsewhere.


I knew a man who figured that if he volunteered to work in the office on Saturdays for 3 hours, then he would average $100-150 for every hour worked. It took him 30 minutes commute each way, so he had to give up a total of 4 hours of his day for which he knew he would average $300-450. He also knew that it would take him 3-4 hours to do his yard work should he choose, but that it would only cost $150/week to hire out the yard work and landscaping to be done by a professional company who could do it better. So each week he would come in to the office and pocket the profit he made by outsourcing. The same amount of time was spent, yet he made more money by hiring out. Some could say that this goes to show that there is more than one way to make your lawn green.

Are there areas in your life where you can benefit by delegation?

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