Reconfiguring your job: Identifying roles to eliminate, reduce, or delegate

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It is not unusual for the roles that you perform to expand over time. Over time more and more tasks get added to the list of things that you are involved in. This article explores ways of improving your work-life balance by reconfiguring your job – focusing on key areas and eliminating, reducing, or delegating low value add activities.

Importance of refocusing your job

Too many peripheral tasks distract from main areas

Possibly the primary reason for looking to reconfigure your job is that having a lot of peripheral tasks will quickly distract from your primary focus. It is hard to be successful at everything at once, and the danger is that the smaller tasks will cause you to lose focus on the bigger picture. Smaller tasks are often easier to perform – so even if they are less consequential, you may end up devoting disproportional time to these smaller areas relative to tasks that will improve the performance of the company. 

Particularly if you are in a senior management position, you will want to ensure that you don’t have a long laundry list of small, inconsequential tasks that you perform. If you do, you may likely feel busy and productive, but your larger roles, including setting the strategic direction of the company and monitoring performance, will quickly start to suffer. 

Refocusing allows you to improve your work-life balance

Adjusting your role responsibilities can also be important in allowing you to achieve a desired work-life balance. If you don’t pay attention, you may find that the list of areas that you are involved in gradually increases over time, encroaching upon the time you have for your private life. 

Allows your firm to grow: Otherwise, you are the bottleneck

A final impact of being involved in too many areas is that it can constrain the growth of your company. You become the bottleneck – slowing down tasks from being completed. Upper management that wants to be involved in all decisions – no matter how inconsequential – is one of the primary reasons that small firms have a hard time growing. 

Identifying important areas to focus on

Before streamlining your activities, it is important to take stock of the actual activities that you do perform, along with how long you spend performing them. One approach is to keep a log over a week, recording the tasks that you undertake along with how long you spend performing them. You may be surprised how long you spend on certain areas!

Approaches to streamline your position

Eliminate: Scrap the pet-projects and low-value ad activities

The first thing to examine when reviewing the tasks that you perform is whether there are certain that can simply be removed from the list of activities that you perform. You likely have some pet-projects, that while initially seemed promising, ultimately never delivered the benefits that you hoped. Scrap them – if you can’t justify the time that they require don’t waste your time on them.

Reduce

There may be other roles that you may not be able to totally scrap, but you probably don’t need to be devoting as much time to as you currently are. Perhaps you have some small clients that seem to take up a disproportional amount of your time – see if there are ways of reducing your commitment in these areas. 

Delegate

For roles that you are not able to reduce or eliminate, you should consider delegating to other employees. Learning how to delegate is important if you want your firm to grow beyond a single-person startup – at some point in time, you simply won’t have the bandwidth to be involved in all aspects of the firm. 

Final thoughts: Streamline your team

While the benefits of reviewing your own roles are often self-evident, it is also important to see whether there are opportunities to streamline your whole team. Sometimes subordinates may have a hard time scrapping tasks unless you give them permission to do so. While subordinates may recognize that some of the activities that they perform are low value add (or no-value add), however, will still do them under the assumption that you as a manager want the tasks performed. 

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