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During midweek, I ran into an acquaintance at a restaurant and she told me that she just doesn’t have enough time.

She has been a successful real estate agent for many years, but a few months ago she decided to launch a second business, a yoga and wellness studio. She related how she eats supper with her family daily and then sequesters herself with her computer the rest of the night to work. She gets up very early in the morning to lead classes and oversee the studio before launching into the real estate part of her day. “I just didn’t realize how much work this would be,” she said, confessing she is desperately trying to stay on top of all of the details.

Her comment–besides the word “try” triggering Yoda’s advice in my mind–reminded me why it is so important to enlist others to help us.

We can’t be a solo warrior or businessperson. We must understand when to outsource tasks that can easily by done by others, and maybe even done better by others. People who are always in a rush and trying to do everything have greater risks of cardiovascular issues, experience higher levels of stress (and its related emotional, behavioral, mental and physical symptoms), and miss out on present happiness because they are always focused on the future instead of the present moment.

When we outsource some of the less essential tasks–though we give up some control which may be uneasy or take some getting used to for some people–we can focus on the more important things in our businesses and our lives.

As Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC  writes, he realized that his business growth was based on his own time. “Delegating tasks is one of the concepts of leadership and management in any industry, be it in business, the medical world or even in sports. In basketball, one cannot just play the role of a center, a point guard, and a shooting guard at the same time. No matter how good physicians are in treating their patients, they just can’t be nurses themselves as well,” Sanok said.

In fact, Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and author of What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Managementsaid people who prefer to do all of the work themselves have “self-enhancement bias“, which means they evaluate a work product more highly the more self-involved they are in its production. Some people also won’t pass on work because they feel it detracts from their own importance, they do not trust others, they may lack confidence, or they don’t want to be upstaged by a subordinate.

But the truth is: delegating not only frees up our time so we can focus on other things, like growing our businesses or strategic planning, but it also helps develop skills in others. Empowering another person to handle some of our workload, and giving them the freedom to do the job, can teach responsibility, foster creativity and develop critical thinking skills.

So think about your workload today and about your goals for the upcoming year. Also think about how you spend your time each day; many people don’t realize the patterns and emphasis on low-level activities until they focus on those details. Are you attempting to run multiple businesses or even manage work and a household and honestly not doing either as well as you’d like? Do you manage your own schedule, your own travel arrangements, read every e-mail that enters your inbox?

What would it feel like for you to have someone else return a few phone calls and schedule your appointments? If your first response may be “it’s impossible,” question why you feel you cannot delegate? Do you have a self-enhancement bias or are you determined to be a super hero? Even Obi-Wan needed his Jedi in the Force (or Ashla/the Light Side) to be successful.

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Photo by PhillipWest