Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Art of Delegation: Sending Your Husband to the Store

My dear friend shared her story with me and I asked if she wouldn't mind if I used it for a blog post. To protect her identity, I'll call her Sally.

Sally wrote "One of the main reasons I like to shop with DH (Dear Husband) (even at Sam's Club, which is usually "his" task) is because I can make a list as generic as I want and I know what exactly what I need."

For example, my list usually looks like this:
  • toothpaste
  • downy
  • cheese
  • summer sausage
  • tortilla chips
When DH goes to Sam's, the list becomes this:
  • toothpaste (crest, regular paste or mint - not whitening or extra care)
  • downy (regular, no fancy scent)
  • cheese (block cheddar)
  • summer sausage (Klements or Johnsonville or another big brand; refrigerated, not the stuff on the shelf)
  • chips - this is the only one he understands
Sally goes on to say, "I should just be thankful he's doing this shopping right? I just laugh about it, really. I'm not upset."

A tip that I share with busy moms is to delegate when you can. What tasks can you give to someone else to do? Are there tasks someone in the household can do? Are there tasks that you can delegate to someone outside of the household (lawn care, snow removal, house cleaning, etc)? Delegation can lighten your load, freeing your time to spend it on those things that are most important to you.

Here are a few tips for successful delegation:
  1. Ask and be positive.
  2. Show respect and appreciation.
  3. Be specific and give clear expectations (Sally did a good job with this one!).
  4. Be sure to say thank you.
Another thought I have about delegation is that when you hand over a task to someone else, you are giving up control. The kids might not fold the clothes just like you like or your husband might not put the dishes in the dishwasher the same way you do, but it's OK. (I write this a reminder to myself). If you are paying someone to do a task, then yes, the expectations are higher, but when it's family, pick your battles - and say thank you!


Anonymous said...

Picking my battles - that's the toughest part! I am indeed a control freak (in a good way) and like to handle the tasks because I know they'll get done the way I want. Thanks for the reminder to pass off what I can't handle; I should trust in those around me more. And saying "thank you" is probably the most forgotten part!!!

Creative Junkie said...

omg - I should do a blog post about having Nate go shopping for me.

It's like we speak a different language from each other.

Paula Constable said...

CJ-Yes, you should. I know I would love to read that one!

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