Delegation Strategies: Ways to Delete Tasks and Why You Should
Delegation Strategies: Ways to Delete Tasks and Why You Should


In the workplace or in your personal life, there are many demands on your time, your energy, and your emotions. Because of this, each of us must become self-aware and guard against those things that are unnecessary or reduce our well-being. Becoming aware of those things that hinder our production, creativity, focus, and management is the first step to elimination. When you do not spend time considering what is important to you, what is healthy for you, or what is supportive, then you lose those things. Your life, work, and relationships can fall apart. In the end, you are unable to do everything, anyway. That is exactly why you must become proactive in your decisions in a way that protects the very things that mean the most to you. Beyond delegation of duties or tasks, there is a need to know how to simply delete some of them.

Focus Points:

1. Self-awareness is one way to approach the issue of what to delete from your life or work.

  • It is common knowledge that meditation, time spent alone emptying your mind, will increase the brain's effectiveness. So it becomes very important that you begin this process by taking some time to let your mind reset itself. It is the very opposite of brainstorming, where you allow every idea to come into your thoughts. Do this in a private place where you will not be interrupted, and where you will feel calm and restful.

  • If you want to be mindful of the things in your life that need to be weeded out, it is important to give some thought to what those things are. They may consist of bad habits, relationships that are unhealthy, or allowing others to claim your time, money, and energy. Before you can make decisions about what changes need to be made or deleted, you have to become aware of what your life holds, both the negative and the positive.

  • Once you have given time to this important first step, follow up by making two lists. One list is for the things that are positive in your life, and the other for the negative. Don't allow yourself to debate any issues. Go with your gut and make the lists. You cannot live by others' expectations and values. This is a time for you to look into yourself and find what you want out of life, and what you value.

  • Be the gatekeeper of you own life. If not, you will be constantly herded by others, and it will cost you in lost time, bad relationships, unhappiness, and stress.

2 . A second way to delete things from your life that are negative or unnecessary, is to focus on what you want in your life.

  • Make a note of an approximate amount of time you give to each thing on your lists. Now make another note of the amount of time you would like to spend on each. Take this information and make a third list. Now you will begin to focus on the values that you have decided upon. Begin with the simplest changes and deletions.

  • On this list, put the items from each previous list that will not require great effort to change. Focus on these first. It is very important that you write down what you want to change and possible ways to make that change. Apparently it doesn't come easily, or you would have already made these changes. So writing it down will give you a visual aid to focus on. The next thing to do is to read this list aloud. Read it aloud to yourself at least once a day and in the beginning, more often.

  • The reason you must read it aloud is because of the way the brain processes information. If you read it with your eyes, your brain will process it. If you read it and say it, your brain has to process it twice, once to receive the information and again to speak it aloud. Then you hear the information. Your brain will process it a third time as it receives the same information aurally. So, by reading the things you value and want to focus on, out loud, to yourself, your brain is processing the information three times. Don't short change your brain. It is an amazing organ.

3. A way to change or delete the things that will take great effort -- like your job, your housing, your finances, your relationships, your bad habits -- is to replace each one with a realistic goal.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Delegation Skills course?
  • You might want to begin a new job search, refinance your home or pare down -- stop using credit cards, and talk to your creditors. You can get help from many areas to make big changes. But first, make your decisions about each big change you want to make. What is it you like and don't like? Set goals that are realistic, and schedule steps toward achieving those goals. Do this for each of these more difficult issues. You are developing a plan. Begin, one step at a time. Set a goal for each one. Then you can either write down the steps it will take to accomplish that goal, or meet with an expert who can help you do this.

  • Deleting the larger issues will take time, however, if you start by developing a goal for each one and keep your plan in front of you, making every new decision with this plan in mind, you will find strength in knowing that you are on your way toward making large changes. Stop spending time with people who do not fit into your plan. Create new relationships that will be healthy and support your values. Take charge of your time, your life, and make decisions that move you toward your goals. Large issues will take some time; however, just understanding that you have a plan and you are working in a positive direction will build personal strength and the motivation to keep yourself on track. When you begin to change those things that are a waste, you will find more energy and happiness

4. . A fourth way to delete wasted time is to pay attention to how you use technology.

  • Technology can save a lot of time, but it can also consume us. Immediately delete emails that do not relate directly to you. Just do it. If you need to go back they will be in your trash. Leave the Internet cruising for down time at home, not when you should be working, spending time with others, or when you are eating. Focus on your goals for your life.

  • Stay organized on your computer with folders and pointed labeling. Your organization of information is only as good as your ability to find that information when you need it. Give a lot of thought to your labeling of folders. It is worth a couple of hours to organize your electronic desk effectively. The stored information is only as good as your ability to find it. Put information into a folder as it comes in and make a note in your planner about any piece of information requiring attention at a later time. If you receive information on something that requires immediate attention - do it and move on. If not, file it.

5. The fifth way to delete tasks is to pay attention to what is being asked of you, and who is doing the asking. Then think long and hard before you answer.

  • Many of the issues we take upon ourselves are our own undoing. Learn to say no, and don't feel like you have to give a reason. When you try to give a reason in invites the other person to break down your reasoning. Simply say no. For the current issues that you are dealing with now, that you should not have taken on at all, go back to the person who gave them to you and return them. Do it with respect and willingness to tell them you realize you made a mistake. Yes, admitting mistakes is okay.

  • Focus on your own well-being and values each day. Turn down invitations that give time to people, places, or habits you need to eliminate, or that don't fit into your value system. It will take practice, so practice. What you will say should be practiced out loud and in front of a mirror. It may feel strange, but it works. Many people pay big bucks for such cognitive behavioral therapy. You can implement these improved brain functioning techniques on your own.

6. Why is it important to eliminate some tasks?

  • Anything in your life or on your desk that does not support you, takes you down. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. Studies are all over the Internet about how stress robs of quality of life and length of life, creates more visits to the doctor and medication. It is better to tend to those issues now, today, before you end up with a life that becomes derailed.

  • Many people merely enable those who should take responsibility for themselves, possibly with the misconception that it make us feel good or feeds our ego to take on the responsibility of another. But if you are honest, this is a negative behavior and doesn't help anyone, especially yourself. Stop being the type of person who is always ready to take the extra load, take care of the problem, and figure it out alone. That behavior is detrimental to everyone. This kind of thinking is unhealthy, both physically and emotionally. Let go of others' problems. Take care of yourself. You will be no good to anyone if you fall apart. And remember this: When you solve someone else's problems, you are robbing them of respect. You are saying you don't believe they can do it. Your response should be, "I know you are smart enough to figure it out. I believe in you."

  • When you take on work that is not important, should really be done by someone else, or robs time from the things important to you, then you are making a big mistake. Remember to stop and think about every decision before you make it, and never speak until you have thought it through. It is perfectly acceptable to tell the person that you will need a couple of days to decide, if you cannot say no right away. No is not a four-letter word.


Your co-worker tells you he is caught up in a big project and he has promised his wife the weekend out of town and then asks if you will take his reports, print them out, make copies and put them on folder on the boss's desk. You stop and think. That will take about an hour of my time pulling me away from my own responsibilities. I like when he gives me attention, because it feeds my ego. Yes it is a simple act, but what he is asking me is to trade an hour of my work time for an extra hour of vacation for him. It really is not a major factor in his vacation if he stays on Friday to do his own work.

For me that extra hour of work time means that I will have time to prepare my desk for Monday morning when I come right in to work to a big presentation. If I do his work, I will have to pay for it by staying an hour later. Should he really be asking me to give up an hour of my time for his vacation? He must not think my work is as important, or my time is as valuable. It is not a matter of life or death or job loss for him. It is not as though he has done this for me, or I owe him some favor.

I tell him I am sorry, but I've already scheduled my own work that will take me right up to the end of the day on Friday. Say to him that you understand he hoped to get away early, but that is shouldn't take him too long and maybe he will be able to rework his schedule on Friday to accommodate this task. Then change the subject and ask where he is going and how great it is that he makes time for a family vacation.

Set up your physical or computerized notebook:
In this article, your second assignment in the development of your notebook will be to make the two lists. Try to find a quiet place and prepare yourself. Make a list of the positive and negative things in your life, then sort the negative list into two parts. Make one a list of easily changed or deleted items, and the other with items that will take more effort to change. Write goals for the things that will require more effort to change or delete, and then start working on the list of easier issues. Put these in your notebook for further reference.


If you are unsure of these considerations, go back and review the material.

1. What is the first step toward deleting or changing the negative issues in your life?

2. Why is it important to be self-aware?

3. How does reading things aloud make a difference?

4. Why is it important to eliminate some tasks?

If you are unsure of these considerations, go back and review the material.