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8 Tasks You Should Be Delegating

8 Tasks You Should Be Delegating

Recent studies have shown that multitasking isn’t just bad for your productivity, but also your intelligence. A study at the University of London found that IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.

In other words, every time you send an email whilst on a conference call, you’re severely damaging your cognitive ability. If there’s ever been an excuse to start doing less, this is it. It’s better for you and better for your business.

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Here are eight tasks you should be delegating:

1. Diary Management

Anyone who leads a hectic lifestyle will know that the only way to succeed and remain sane is to have a well organised diary, but that takes time and careful consideration. It’s not just a case of packing every hour of every day with meetings and phone calls, you need to factor in travelling time, preparation time, level of importance and personal considerations. Handing over your diary to a personal assistant is instantly more efficient and stress-relieving.

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2. Research

Research can be interesting and important, but few entrepreneurs have the time to wade through all the irrelevant information that clogs up the web. Asking someone to help out with preliminary research filters out anything unnecessary so that you receive and read only the best bits. Plus you can assign someone to keep tabs on a particular industry development so that you stay informed on what’s happening without having to do the leg work.

3. Social Media

Social media is an all-consuming job. To stay on top of all the different platforms, latest trends, updates and customer interaction, you need to be constantly active and innovative. Most small businesses lack the expertise to do social media really well, which results in an ineffective and even damaging strategy. Considering that social media is probably the largest influencer now on customers and potential clients, it’s worth investing in the help of a professional. Plus it means you don’t have to keep constantly racking your brains for something original to post on Instagram.

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4. Accounting

Keeping a company’s or your own personal accounts in order is absolutely vital, but requires patience and again, time. Plus if you’re not clued up on numbers and the most recent regulations or you’re rushing through to get it finished, you risk doing it wrong and facing stiff consequences. You’re much better to hand over the burden to someone else, who can handle the day to day dealings and can keep you advised on anything important that’s going on.

5. Event Planning

Whether a new product launch, office drinks, wedding or children’s birthday party, event planning is one of the most stressful tasks we handle professionally and personally, especially if we’re trying to squeeze it in around everything else that’s going on in our lives. Delegating doesn’t have to mean relinquishing all control, it just means allowing someone else to chase the caterers, book the venue and post the invitations. When it’s a roaring success, you reap the glory.

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6. Personal Admin

This includes pretty much anything that’s necessary to keep your life on track from finding a babysitter, booking a gym class, a restaurant, a hotel, a massage, returning an item of clothing, sending flowers or doing the online weekly shop. Essentially all the things that put a pause on the momentum of our day. Imagine if you never had to do all that reserving, calling and emailing but for once, you got to just enjoy yourself instead?

7. Formatting

We waste hours playing around with the formatting of a document, presentation or booklet to make it look vaguely presentable when we could just be sending the information across to someone else who can make it look amazing in half the time. It will save you the frustration and could dramatically improve your’s and your company’s image.

8. Filing

Filing seems like such a small task to handle, but actually takes up a huge amount of your time, particularly if you’re the kind of person who pushes it all to one side “to do later”. Delegate to someone who can stay on top of it; you’ll thank yourself later.

Featured photo credit: Damien Zaleski via unsplash.com

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Richard Walton

Founder of AVirtual

Boost your creativity, be more productive Hitchhiker by Atlas Green Why asking for help isn’t the same as giving in The Secret to Productivity: Work Less, Get More Done Clearing the office to clear the mind 8 Tasks You Should Be Delegating

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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