We’ve all heard about micro managers and a few of us have been unfortunate to experience them. They edit your work in fine detail without giving feedback, they issue step by step instructions on how to implement projects with no flexibility, and they immediately solutionise without waiting for ideas from others.
In the short term it’s tedious. In the long term it stifles development and reduces confidence in the person being managed. For the manager it reduces efficiency and creativity.
We know that micro managing is negative in the work place, but do we do it in our personal life? I have to admit, I can be a bit controlling. Whilst I’ve learnt to temper that in my professional life I realised I wasn’t applying the same ethos to my personal life.
Here are a few things I looked at to start delegating more effectively and reducing my work volume, so I could add more value.
Use technology to automate administrative tasks – I delegate repeating administrative tasks to technology. Things like setting up automatic transfers for regular financial payments and minimum debt repayments, and using the automatic repeating functions on calendars and organisation apps. You still need to ‘manage’ these areas and maintain overall control, but you don’t need to perform each individual task.
Use technology to set timers and implement sensors. I set a timer for the heater to be on when I get home from work, and put up an automatic sensor light at the front door. At first I was worried about the odd nights when I come back late and the heater would be on earlier than needed, but the benefit of walking into a warm home outweighs it.
Outsource the tasks you don’t like – Consider paying someone else to do the tasks you especially dislike, or take up a disproportionate amount of your time. For example, you could get a monthly cleaning service to clean your bathroom, pay for an ironing service or get your groceries delivered. When I was in my more intense year of personal finance, I would never have paid someone to do something I could do myself, but these days I’m looking for more of a balance.
I really hate grocery shopping but was always reluctant to use click and collect or delivery services, as I was worried that they would get something wrong or not check the quality of items as closely as I would. I let go of this concern, and exchanged the occasional error in return for a couple of hours each weekend.
Ask people in your household to do specific tasks – If you feel like you do the majority of chores around the house, try delegating tasks to other household members – including kids! Treat the delegation the same way your expect tasks to be delegated at work – ask for a specific task to be done (not just ‘help out more’), give them any instructions and let them take full responsibility. Let go of the fact that that they might not do it the ‘right’ way, or the way that you would do it and share the workload.
This applies not only to physical tasks, but also to life admin tasks. I split these with my partner – we separate responsibility for tasks like paying for the internet, utility bills and mortgage and renewing insurance. This way, we only have to set reminders and worry about half of the tasks.
Don’t try to manage tasks that are outside of your responsibility – Finally, don’t try and control things that are not within your role. If you haven’t committed to something or it’s not within your remit, don’t spend time critising how it’s done or lamenting that it needs more effort. Just accept whatever outcomes eventuate and be thankful to whoever is actually undertaking the task.
Have you delegated any tasks that you used to try and micro-manage? What benefits have you gained?