Discipline,  Motivation,  Organization,  Perils of a Mom Writer

The Benefits of Delegating

Delegating Responsibility To Find More Time To Write, Part 3

“I wouldn’t need so many helpers if I didn’t have so many helpers!” 

This is what I often said to strangers who made some well-meaning comment on the greater-than-average amount of children I traveled with. 

It’s true. With more kids came more responsibility. 

But what is also true —and few mothers of one or two know this— it’s easier to run a household with five children than with two. 

Throughout the month of February, Mondays will be devoted to a specific concept relating to delegating responsibilities of your household so you can get more writing done. Today’s post is Part Three. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here.

Why? Delegation!

I just may start to preach here. If a child has the skills to ride a bike, then they have skills to sweep and mop. If they can trek everything they own from one room to the other to create a fairy fort or Lego lair, they have the skills to empty waste cans in every room and take the trash to the outside bins.

Parents, I urge you. Pick up the tool of delegating and put your children to work! Teaching them responsibility around the house will be one of the best things you ever do for them.

With clear definitions and clear communication, you will sow the seeds of delegation. Delegating responsibilities has far more of a long-term reward than freeing you up and making your home tidy. Delegation can be a unifying, exciting way to nurture our families. Delegation helps us depend on each other.

I believe delegation is the single most important way to free up time. Enlisting others is essential because, when done well, delegation builds others up and deepens existing relationships.

I know that this is true. I’ve seen it in my family.

These are some of the things delegation has taught me:

Trust builds relationships. When you hand off a job and allow someone to work for you, you’re saying, “I trust you. Show me what you can do.” Around the house, the stakes are low, so it can be easy to build trust. With the completion of the job, the bond between us strengthens. The joy that comes out of our good relationship is far more valuable than the completion of the task.

By giving someone something to do, you’re inviting them in on your mission. Of all the reasons to delegate responsibility, this is the best.”Do you want to help?” is a question that, if asked correctly, can be an invitation. The reward for saying, “Sure!” should be shared thanks, credit for a generous contribution and satisfaction for a job well done. When my children were small, I tried to use the word, “blessing” when it came to doing chores around the house.”It blesses me when you pick up your toys.” Or, “when you ask to help, it’s a huge blessing.” To this day, they do their chores cheerfully. They are still on a mission with me and receive the full reward of it.

Others may have better solutions than I do. Little kills a spirit more than squashed creativity. I’d love for my helpers to come up with good, creative solutions for the tasks I give them. I always retain veto power, but by letting them have a chance to create, I’m demonstrating trust and goodwill. I’ve received lectures from my children on how to fold napkins and how to load a dishwasher. This is proof that they are seeking excellence, so I don’t get defensive with them.

I need to separate myself from the task at hand. After good instruction and proper tools, I need my helper to feel free to be themselves in the task. If I’ve communicated the definition and the parameters well, I can sit back and let them attack it the way they see fit. I believe the more freedom they feel, the better they’ll be. Even if they mess up, I want them to see the whole task as a positive experience so they’ll be willing to help me again.

I want my people to go on without me. If I do all the work and never allow them the chance to help, then that makes me irreplaceable. While I do want to be irreplaceable in their hearts, I don’t want to render my survivors helpless. If they share in the responsibilities now, then they’ll be able to function when I’m gone, either temporarily or permanently. I want this for them. I want my purposes, and our shared foundational vision, to last. 

Throughout the month of February, Mondays will be devoted to a specific concept relating to delegating responsibilities of your household so you can get more writing done. Next week? What keeps us from delegating?

This entry was a selection from my book: When The Timer Dings: Organizing Your Life To Make The Most of 10 Minute Increments. Click here to order.

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.