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Prioritizing & Delegating

After stressing the idea of asking for help last week, I realized it's important to know what to ask for help with, not just how to ask.  There are two ways to understand if a particular task is appropriate for asking someone to assist you in accomplishing it.

First thing's first: prioritize.  How do you know what needs doing, unless you know in what order tasks need to occur?  Prioritizing does just that.  There are four categories to prioritize:

1) Urgent and Important

2) Urgent, but not Important

3) Important, but not Urgent

4) Not Important and not Urgent

The first things that need doing are those things that are both important and urgent.  These are tasks with a soon-approaching deadline (urgent) and that have unpleasant consequences if they're not completed (important).  For example, a bill due tomorrow or the power is shut off.

The second category are items that are urgent, but not important.  An email you need to reply to before this evening so a friend knows when is best to call you to catch up tomorrow.  There's a time restraint, but it's not that important.  You will still be able to catch up with your friend.

After that, you'll want to tackle tasks that are no longer urgent (no time constraint), but are still important.  For example, reading a particular book will greatly increase your understanding of topic x, in which you are greatly interested, but there's no real rush in completing it soon. 

And, lastly on your to-do list should be items that are in no rush and of no real importance.  A magazine that looks fun to read.  Checking out a new store that just opened.  Looking for new recipes to make.

Now that you've been able to figure out what needs to doing first and last, you can ask for help doing these things.  Now's the time to delegate.  Figure out which of the listed tasks you really need to do on your own, and which someone else can handle.  Can someone else water the plants?  Or, wash the dishes?  Or, pay the bills online?  Chances are, they can.  But, someone else can't read that book for you.  Or, try on the clothes you're deciding whether they still fit.  Find a couple things that someone else can do for you, and do well, and ask for help. 

Instruct them on how something should be done, if needed.  Make sure they have whatever supplies available they might need.  And, tell them when it needs to be done by.  That deadline is critical to success.  Also, make yourself available, if they need assistance.  Especially if it's an important task. 

And, don't be put off if the person you ask for help says no.  Sometimes you'll have to say no when asked to help out, too.  Just reassure them that when you're able, you'll return the favor.


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