Quick Tips for Delegating: Unloading the Necessary But Trivial

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Someday Is Today" by Matthew Dicks. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you have too much to do? What’s the best way to go about getting help with tasks?

You’re busy doing big, important stuff. A certain category of tasks keeps getting in your way: necessary but unimportant. The lawn needs mowing, but you’re too busy making a living. This is where task delegation might be the right solution for you.

Keep reading for a few tips for delegating that will help you focus on what matters most to you.

Quick Tips for Delegating

In his book Someday Is Today: 22 Simple Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life, Matthew Dicks aims to help you learn how to make the most of your time. He includes some tips for delegating, explaining what types of tasks you should outsource and to whom you should turn them over.

Dicks recommends disregarding irrelevant tasks altogether and focusing on things that are truly important to you. Dicks recognizes, though, that certain tasks must get done even if they’re not important to you. For example, repainting the house might not matter a whole lot to you, but it must be done to prevent home damage.

To manage necessary but unimportant tasks, Dicks advises, you should recruit others to help you. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • Pay someone to do the task for you.
  • Assign the tasks to a subordinate or willing party—for example, an employee, apprentice, or friend.
  • Ask someone to help you complete the task so you accomplish it faster.
Delegate Tasks by Crowdsourcing

Dicks’s methods to delegate necessary but unimportant tasks may be inaccessible to some people—you may not have the money to hire local workers with high wage expectations, you may not have subordinates to delegate to, and your friends might eventually get tired of doing work for or with you. However, if your task can be completed digitally, crowdsourcing offers a low-cost, effective solution to these issues. Rather than hiring local people at their desired rate or relying on subordinates and friends to delegate work to, crowdsourcing allows you to post jobs online at your desired rate and recruit people from around the world.

In Bold, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler argue that crowdsourcing is a good form of task delegation because it’s cost-effective. You can hire people for low rates because online, you can recruit workers from less developed countries where the cost of living, and therefore desired wages, are lower. Further, crowdsourcing provides you with easy access to experts experienced in your specific task—something that can be challenging when recruiting help in person. 
Quick Tips for Delegating: Unloading the Necessary But Trivial

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Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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