3 Steps to Building the 'Treehouse'...
AKA... Deciding How, and What, to Delegate.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you have reached an awareness that you NEED to do something to alleviate stress / expectation / workload, to be able to see the wood from the trees again!
We've all been there, and it's taking that first shot at sharing your vision that often leads to a good deal of procrastination.
So, knowing that conundrum well, I thought I'd write an analogy-filled piece, with 3 steps to getting it nailed and moving on.
Step 1: ‘Dream the Treehouse’...or Identify Your Goals
We often overlook this! Bogged down by everything that has to 'be done today', we forget that it's tomorrow that we're working FOR.
Plan them out - short term, medium term, and long term. Without these, you are merely fighting the chaos. Amanda Johnson, of VACT, uses the 90 day, 1 year, and 5 year concept. 90 days is 3 months...
How wonderful would it be to be clear of the chaos in 3 months, rather than drowning in burnout?
Have you visualised what success looks like to you once reach the end goal?
When setting aside time to set these goals, start from a clean slate – ignoring all possible limitations and issues that may occur, including financial restrictions. Seriously - DO NOT worry about this at this stage!
As soon as you allow ‘what ifs’ to cloud initial planning, you detract from the vision.
Let’s imagine your plan is building this dream treehouse...
If you deliberate the weather, the price of wood, your children preferring computer games…you will quit before you begin. Instead, we envision the bonding times, the feeling of success sharing the first hot-chocolate whilst scanning the neighbours treehouse-less garden...
Step 2: Draft the Plans....Break 'em down.
Once these goals are established – it’s time to break down each step into component parts.
When I was working towards a project-planning qualification (having planned many projects beforehand), it was still remarkable to realise that even highly specialised Project Managers, for multi-million-dollar corporates, break down their projects to minute detail.
They consider, not just the time each small task will take (determining deadlines), but also the costs that each hour incurs in labour (your time IS valuable!), materials and training, etc.
What will you need to have in place to see that goal established?
Start with the skills and building blocks that will make up the whole.
Leave the finance and timings til later - unless, of course you have a pressing deadline.... If THAT is the case, you should probably stop reading, and call for help NOW...
Our treehouse will need developed plans, BEFORE we go off to B&Q to choose a paint colour!
Step 3: Consider carefully how many weekends a year consists of...
There are many, many websites and books dedicated to planning a treehouse, choosing supplies and how to erect them. By the time you’ve redesigned ‘the wheel’, your children will have left home.
It is only by breaking down the component parts of the plans, and realistically considering each one that we realise which areas are going to require us to learn new skills – time consuming in itself – or are areas we could delegate or outsource.
Like our treehouse, should you not have the skills to establish the planned parts of each of your goals ‘on paper’, you will first need to source them, before even considering the materials needed.
Your timescales and finances, therefore, will be dependant on your available, tangible components, and skill sets.
As we know, in a business sense, sometimes a ‘goal’ is set externally.
Year End, for example, is not something you joyfully plan into your ‘Goals for the next 6 months!’ However, they do happen, and acquiring the skills for these tasks would need to be a priority. Maintaining your records throughout the year would need to become a habit, rather than a scheduled task.
It may be that here too, that you realise a task for delegation. That knot in your stomach at the thought of trying to remember to assign each purchase? The hours spent each night on admin that makes no sense to you? The aspects that detract from your main skills or areas of knowledge...
In similar process, you may find that by considering what tasks kept you away from completing your planned jobs on a particular day or week, you realise that they are consistently getting in the way. You have identified tasks that someone else could get done for you!
‘You don’t need to get a degree in architecture to build the treehouse’
Don’t underestimate the value of your time!
If you are spending 2 hours a week searching for, and assigning receipts, and your hourly rate is £40, that is £80 of energy and time that you are expending away from your core business, that you won't get back!
Yes, you are capable of doing it, but what more could you have achieved in that time, that left you more fulfilled, or further along on your journey?
A VA or bookkeeper could accomplish this in a fraction of the time, and far less of a cost to you! (And bring joy simply from freeing you from the job!)
1. Take stock of your goals – If you are facing overwhelm or realising ‘work’ is creeping into your home-life or impacting on your area of expertise – you may have lost sight of your vision.
2. Break the goals down – acknowledge that you cannot do EVERYTHING well, or by yourself – none of us can!
3. Realise the value of your time and delegate – Even Einstein and Tesla had help!