When I took on the task of converting my communications system to Infusionsoft, I hired a company to help. I provided them with my company’s operations manual, and soon I was presented with an 84-page document for my review. Eight-four pages of email messages was enough to up my stress level in itself. And worse, the draft was so poorly written that I would have been embarrassed to send them to our customers.
The language in the emails was too informal for my company’s brand, and there were spelling and grammatical errors in pretty much every one. Not a single email was written in a way that I would want it to appear to my clients. Although my assistant had done some editing on the document already, there was a whole lot left to do. My anger at the low quality of this writing, from a company that had been recommended to me, did not help my attention as I considered the task before me.
How would you feel if you received an 84-page document like this to edit? Does “overwhelmed” describe it sufficiently?
Light Bulb Moment
For me, “overwhelmed” was a fairly accurate description, which I identify as a combination of anger and fear. As I went through the first 15 pages, however, I began to realize that I did not have to be overwhelmed by this project – at least not now. Patterns began to emerge in the errors that had been made, and I suddenly had a big insight: I could delegate editing this document back to my assistant! I wrote a list of four tasks for her that, once completed, would make my job a lot easier.
My assistant got the document into much better shape and although I can’t say it was a walk in the park, I was able to edit in a few work sessions without losing my mind.
Delegating the Big Tasks
The feeling of overwhelm has, no surprise, surfaced in my business many times. I experienced it when I started getting dozens of LinkedIn invitations per week and “had to” respond to all of them myself. I experienced it when I was entering my own bookkeeping data. I experienced it when I was posting my blog article to WordPress every week and finding images to insert. I experienced it when I was creating screenshots for my e-book. And I experienced it while organizing my leads and conversions each month, pulling from multiple email folders to create a complete list.
In every one of these cases, I managed to let go of doing the task myself, figure out step by step what I was doing so that someone else could do it, document the task, and hand it over. None of this was easy for me, as I am rather controlling and want things done right. I had to make a shift in thinking from “I’m the only one who can do this” to “I can teach someone else how to do this.”
The benefit of successful delegation has been my freedom. My business has grown, and even with more clients I have more time to do things I want to do for myself: cooking, yoga, spending time with friends, traveling, and concentrating on my personal growth.
I am now regularly on the lookout for signs of overwhelm because I know that it means it’s time to expand, let go, trust, and create freedom in a way I might not have believed was possible.
Where in your life are you experiencing overwhelmed by a project? How can you enroll others to make it look more doable? I’d love to hear about the challenges you’ve experienced, solutions you’ve implemented, and any new ideas you have for approaching big tasks so you can thrive.