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How to Know When It's Time to Delegate Tasks

When is it time to delegate tasks? Is it when you’re sacrificing sleep to get more things done? Is it when you’re deafened by a cacophony of ‘pings’ from your phone, tablet, computer – and more? Or when you’re drowning in mounds of paperwork?

The short answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ The long answer is more like a ‘YES! How have you gone this long without delegating?! You’re just one person.’

But surprisingly, this questions nags many leaders, from Fortune 500 CEOs to solopreneurs. Why? Because they reason with themselves that they should wait until someone else is able to complete the tasks exactly as they would. So they wait … and wait … and wa– oh, forget it. ‘I’ll just do it myself.’

Sound familiar?

Delegation Part 1: The 70% Rule

But smart – and efficient – leaders adopt the ‘70 percent rule.’ Simply put, the 70 percent rule says that ‘ … if the person the CEO would like to perform the task is able to do it at least 70 percent as well as they can, they should delegate it.’

Sure, it will prove difficult to accept that the task won't be done exactly as you would do it and with the same degree of (perceived) perfection. But you know what it will be? DONE. And sometimes, that’s really what matters most.

And after you’ve asked yourself, ‘Can this person do this task 70 percent as well as I could?,’ you’re ready for part two.


Delegation Part 2: The Audit

The Harvard Business Review takes it one step further, suggesting leaders break down delegatable tasks into six divide-and-conquer categories as follows for more effective and efficient completion:

Tiny. Small, seemingly inconsequential tasks are easy to put off – but they add up. They aren’t necessarily important or urgent, and often only take a few minutes.

Tedious. Tedious tasks – like repetitive data entry – are typically relatively simple but often not the best use of your time – and could, therefore, be handled by someone else.

Time-Consuming. Time-consuming tasks are often important and complex. As such, you could delegate 80 percent of the research and execution and then assume responsibility for the final 20 percent to give approval.

Teachable. These tasks may initially seem difficult but can be delegated once you’ve taught the basics. And like time-consuming tasks, you will assume responsibility by providing quality checks and final approval in the end.

Terrible At. Know your weaknesses – and delegate them. The devil’s in the details so as so succinctly explains, ‘ … there is someone out there who can delight in the devil of your details.’ Find them.

Time-Sensitive. When a time-sensitive task enters the mix, competing with other priorities, there often isn’t enough time to do them all at once. Delegate time-sensitive tasks so you can focus on project-based deadlines.

“Focus on what only you can do. Give the rest away.”

Ultimately, that’s what should play on a loop in your head, all day, every day. ‘Am I the only one who can do this?’ But are you really, truly the only one – or just the (arguably) best one? That is the critical differentiator.

The 70 percent rule will take time to accept and will likely prove difficult to adopt, but something completed 70 percent to your standards – at worst – is still complete. And BONUS! You’ll still get that gratifying jolt of dopamine as you cross that task – and countless others – off your to-do list.

Now is the time to delegate tasks!


Most business owners actually lose money because they don’t have someone else on their team to get more stuff done. If you could delegate just a few tasks like email management, appointment scheduling, travel bookings, meeting planning, and expense reporting could you save yourself 15 hours every week? Download our FREE tool to find out