Two Lists To Finally Make You Delegate

May 26, 2023

Welcome to Practical Magic! A productivity and intentional living newsletter with quick, actionable tips that automate, delegate, or speed up your work.

Read time: 3 minutes

There are two things I know to be true:

  • Most of us are terrible at delegating.
  • Most of us wait until we’re drowning before we delegate.

We’re awful at handing things off because it’s human nature. Our primal brain wants short-term “solutions” and quick satisfaction.

In the modern world, this looks like spending 2 hours every week to “just do it ourselves” vs 10 hours one-time to create a process that we can then delegate…forever.

When we have a mountain of to-dos ahead of us, it’s hard to know where to start.

Here’s a policy that has never failed me: don’t start with a blank slate.

What does that mean? It means we need to break down everything that feels like a mountain into teeny tiny steps in order to actually do something that improves our lives…long-term.

I notice sometimes people even struggle with breaking things down. The thought of having to sit down and think about this is just another task they don’t have time for.

I got you!

I have a system for always having these teeny tiny steps ready and waiting.

Start Here

The system requires you create two lists.

(Side note: systems don’t have to be intricate tech, SOPs, and tactics. Anything that keeps things humming like a well-oiled machine can be a system.)

Create these lists where ever you have quick access to at most times. (For me, that’s my Notes app on my iPhone.)

List One: The Frustration List

Best to keep this list somewhere private too 😂

Think about the times you were mildly annoyed or frustrated. What were you doing?

  • Fiddling with that tool that always causes you issues.
  • Spending half your day answering emails.
  • That meeting…with that one person…
  • Scheduling social media posts.

We tend to forget about these unless it makes us emotional. But some of these little annoyances pop up every. single. week.

Create a bullet point on your list. Write it down.

You’re now building a repository of all the things that are prime delegation opportunities. Use this as your starting point.

Life is too short to do things you don’t like.

You might think: “But I can’t delegate that, it’s only me who can do it!”

First, I want you to really question that belief. If it can be done even 70% as good as you, it can be delegated.

Second, if it’s something you can record yourself doing, it’s something you can delegate. (My fave tools for this are at the bottom of this newsletter.)

List Two: The Someday List

BRB thinking about all the things that I’ll never do.

I love this list for two reasons:

  1. By delegating, you can finally get all those things done you never had time for!
  2. You realize something is actually not that important and you delegate it by clicking the big old DELETE button.

Every time you’re adding something to your to do list that isn’t clearly tied to your current goals, it’s worthy of a “someday” badge.

  • Creating that process for following up with old leads.
  • Setting up those automated customer emails.
  • Updating that section on your website.

Create a bullet point on your list. Write it down.

Pro Tip: I digitize this list in my task management tool by adding a custom tag called “someday” for easy filtering.

How to Use Your Lists to Delegate

As you create an ongoing repository of items, you’ll never run out of ideas for what to hand off. Here are three ways you could delegate:

  1. Hire someone for ongoing help. If your list is LARGE, you probably needed help yesterday. Use your list to create a job posting for a contractor (like a virtual assistant) with estimated hours.
  2. Hire someone for the day. Use this list monthly or quarterly to hire help for a short period. The hours this will save you can be spent on high-impact work.
  3. Use a tool to automate it. Delegation is not just about having team members. Setup a tool once and automate something forever. The modern world is our oyster when it comes to tools that can automate things – especially with the plethora of AI tools coming to market.

Favorite Tools for Quick SOPs (to hand off!)

  • For quick, shareable videos: Loom 
  • For the easiest visual SOPs you’ll ever make: ScribeHow (*ScribeHow link is my referral link)

Where is the first place you want to delegate? Is it from your Frustration List or Someday List?

Until next Friday! Always in your corner,


Systems Strategist & Fractional COO

If you implement any of these tips or learn something interesting, I’d love to hear from you! Just reply to this email or connect with me on social.

Want to free up 10+ hours of your week? Here are a few ways I can help:

  • Book a 1:1 strategy call with Alex and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence in your systems.
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