I’m almost 100% sure every mum, has come to a point of almost losing her sanity. You’ll never really realize the severity of your mental state until your husband leaves out of town for work for 8 long months, you get out of work exhausted and then you suddenly get calls from childcare asking you to pick up your child quickly because he got rashes and a temperature. Okay, that’s not everyone’s story – but that’s what happened to me and I’m pretty sure was experienced by most mums. I wanted to achieve my career goals and get rid of my mum guilt but my schedule and the childcare hours being offered aren’t flexible enough to accommodate our life’s demand.
Eventually, I have learned (and am still learning) to manage my time and how to effectively delegate tasks in order to maximize my productivity and keep myself sane during tight deadlines or when dealing with ever-increasing workloads. I couldn’t be more grateful when I came across au pairs. They are young individuals that come from foreign countries, live with a native family, and explore the country’s culture and language in exchange for childcare. I chose to host au pairs as a way to increase the flexibility around childcare hours and they have been an extraordinary help for me in making things happen all throughout the day.
If you are currently in the same situation as I once was, then you’ll find these top 5 tips to effectively delegate, a huge help (whoever you get your help from) in getting your sanity back and in finding more balance in everything that you do.
How to Delegate Tasks Effectively
1. Writing Down Tasks Is Key
This is the most basic yet is crucial when delegating tasks. I did not want our au pairs to miss anything because keeping my little one’s well-being is my main concern here. I sat down and write all the important schedules involving my child’s daily activities and the housework that needs to be done. It won’t be too complex for those who only have one child, but having two or more is a different story.
The routines around toddlers and time schedules are critical so just put it on paper. Include the main details such as who will do the work, what type of work, and when to do it. You may find yourself writing down tasks like nappy change, food preparation, packing bags and lunches for school, sorting clothes and putting them away, and other things. Make sure any specific preferences on how you want the task to be carried out is included in your notes as well.
2. Create a Priority System That Works
Creating a system that prioritizes which tasks must be handled first varies with your au pairs’ skills, your schedule, and what you’re capable of accomplishing for the day. In a sheet, you can set up columns that contain which tasks are you willing to delegate versus tasks that you want to continue doing yourself. For example, you might be able to take care of the laundry or put your children to bed while you can delegate packing their bags for the next day in school. Figure out who to assign greater responsibilities with and who will take care of the simpler ones. Will you be around during the “witching hour” (dinner/bath/bedtime routine)? If not, have someone else take care of it. Your schedule must correspond to what you’re able to do with your kids. Having a system will help you and your au pair understand the nature of your tasks and accomplish them consequently.
3. Be Open to Teaching New Skills
More often than not, the au pair or nanny you are hosting is someone who’s already experienced and skilled at childcare, finishing household chores, and is educated. However, not everyone can execute certain tasks on your-to-do-list the way you want it to be done. You might need to delegate them a task only you know how, so make sure you’re open to teaching them new skills. If they know what they’re doing, you’d obviously get much better results and the delegation process won’t be as complex anymore. Doing this will actually save you more time because you’ll be able to assign all similar tasks to your au pair in the future. Take the time and effort to encourage your au pair into someone who’s skilled enough to be trusted with difficult and heavier tasks that you may not be able to handle anymore.
4. Exploit Your Au pair’s Strength
Consider yourself and the individuals you delegate the tasks to as a team working on achieving the same goal. You’re the leader, whatever you do or not do will affect your team as a whole. Unless you learn the subtleties of your members, you won’t be able to get strong support that you need. To effectively delegate tasks, you must know each of their strengths and weaknesses as well as their current or potential range of skills. Try to pick a task that will further develop each of their skills. If one of them is great at cooking, let that person do the cooking more often while the other one who’s into crafts can take care of tasks that require a creative mind. Doing this will challenge them and keep them engaged.
Don’t make the common mistake of choosing whoever has the lightest workload or is the most convenient. Eventually, an au pair who is delegated to do the same type of task every day will increase her aptitude for those tasks until she gets really good at it later on.
5. Outsource If Necessary
Outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular all over the world for quite some time. If you still haven’t heard about au pairs, girl, you need to check it out! Believe me when I say au pairs tremendously helped restore my sanity back. I was able to get things done (and more) because I got a village supporting me which I believe is what every full-time mum or working part-time so badly needs. The last tip you must bear in mind for an effective delegation of tasks is to outsource the right people to help you out. When I say ‘right people’ I mean a willing-positive-energetic-loving type of people who care about your sanity and your family’s well-being more than the pocket money. Outsourcing individuals who can help make you and your family’s life happier and easier is an option every mum shouldn’t miss out.
If you are considering Au Pairs as a potential help for you and your family go to 99aupairs.com for further details.