When I asked you lovely bunch on Instagram if you delegate Christmas tasks to others, ALL of you said no!
I wonder if that’s because you love Christmas so much, or if you like to be in control (like I do)? Or perhaps a little bit of both?
Or maybe it’s because you’ve done everything in advance, you love festive organising and you don’t need anyone’s help – if that’s the case, that’s absolutely fabulous!
In my experience a little bit of help and support from others can be a good thing – particularly if this year you’re making an extra effort to find time to do the things you really enjoy at Christmas.
And asking for help definitely doesn’t make you weak or mean that you’re shirking ‘your’ responsibilities.
You might not want to let go at first, but you may need to if you’re going to have a chance of getting everything done or having time for any festive fun!
I’m a bit of a control freak, so I know what it’s like wanting to do everything yourself – but there’s no shame at all in delegating.
Even if you hand over just one task this Christmas, that’s one less thing for you to be thinking about and doing.
But if you’re going to delegate, you must truly accept it and take a back seat – it won’t work if you interfere or criticise your helpers’ work.
My Christmas delegating tips
- Start delegating now when you have time to give proper thought to what you want people to do – and they still have plenty of time to complete their tasks
- If you haven’t already (perhaps part of your Christmas action plan), write a list of jobs that need doing between now and the big day
- Categorise each item as either ‘do’ (ie you’ll do it yourself – particularly important if it’s a task you enjoy!) or ‘delegate’.
If you love all aspects of Christmas organising and would enjoy doing all of it yourself, you could delegate other, general tasks you usually complete to free up festive planning time
- Next, write a list of people you’d like to delegate to (family, friends, external suppliers, for example) and ask for their help, explaining why you need them and why you’ve asked them specifically (feel free to flatter their egos!).
Make sure they understand why the task is important, and what their support means to you (it’s not about the task, it’s about supporting you).
Not everyone can afford to, but sometimes you can throw money at a particular problem, for example, you can pay people to run errands, bake, or wrap gifts for you
- Delegate tasks according to people’s strengths and/or activities they enjoy the most – they’re much more likely to be willing and do a good job if you take the time to do this.
For example, you might give the tallest person in the home the job of putting up decorations, and wrapping and labelling presents might be given to the person who demonstrates the greatest creativity or attention to detail
- Ideally let one person take ownership of an entire area (and associated tasks) – for example, Christmas decorations or festive baking. They’ll feel more involved and get more job satisfaction than if they’re given bits and pieces to do
- Wherever possible, delegate one job to one person. While the thought of sharing a job might be appealing, it often means no one has responsibility for completing it.
Some will do more work than others, or go about things in different ways – and this could cause arguments
- Take the time to explain exactly what’s needed and set milestones and/or deadlines so everyone knows what’s expected of them
- Then you have to take a step back (no matter how hard you might find this). Guidance at the start regarding your ideas and preferences is fine, but after that leave your helpers to get on with it
- Give praise and gratitude for any support that goes well and be prepared for things not to be ‘perfect’ all the time – no one responds well to thinking their support isn’t appreciated.
The first time you try delegation you might be discouraged by how long it takes to organise it.
Try to stick with it – the first year will always be the hardest because you’re putting in the initial groundwork and those you’re delegating to may need time to find their feet.
You’ll be adapting to not being 100% in control and getting used to living with others’ ways of doing things.
It’s also inevitable that you’ll delegate something and you won’t be happy with how the job is done – or for some reason a particular task might not happen at all.
It will be tempting to take back control and do everything yourself, but try to resist.
Instead, reflect on what went wrong, how any mistakes could be prevented in future and what else you can learn from the experience.
It will be so worth it in the end!
I hope I’ve encouraged you to give delegation a go and it helps you have more fun this Christmas! Let me know how you get on.