Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Delegate

I've learned how to do it!

Here's how. You state the task with clear parameters: e.g., "Everything in this section of the garage must go." You give those doing the task some autonomy: e.g., "If it's worth giving away, take it to Goodwill. If not, see if if can be recycled. If not, put in in the dumpster." And then - this is the crucial part - you walk away. You do not stand there and hover, offering comments like, "Do you really think Goodwill would want THAT?" or - "Wait, that's paperboard, not corrugated cardboard, so it will have to go in a different bin when you get to Ecocycle." Just walk away, and then, two hours later, let them call you back to admire that section of the garage in all its dazzling beautiful gleaming emptiness.

My graduate student crew have been absolutely amazing, valiant warriors in the battle to reclaim this house we're salvaging from clutter, chaos, and the detritus left by MANY rodents. I get tired and want to cry. They don't. I start to agonize over every decision; they simply go ahead and act. After all, does it really matter if one hammer gets donated that should have been kept, or gets thrown away when it could have found a happy home on some workbench somewhere? No, it does not. What matters is that this job get done, preferably in my lifetime.

I can't wait until my crew arrives for day three tomorrow. Maybe Rome COULD have been built in a day, or at least in a reasonable amount of time, if Romulus and Remus had only delegated.


  1. Just walking away when your spouse is performing some task in a not-you way has something to do with staying married, too, I have learned!

  2. True! This is definitely a life lesson I wish I had learned sooner.

  3. I love your blog, Claudia. And I love hearing about you tackling big problems and cutting them down to size. You go, Girlfriend! I'm pulling for you.

  4. Ditto to Pat Brisson's comment! There's a pair of us pulling for you!