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I mentioned it in the previous blog post: Some people have a talent for constantly taking on the work of others. The result is almost always work overload. To prevent you from going the same way, here are a few tips. 

There are a few typical sentences that try to explain this behaviour and which I hear again and again in my coaching sessions: 

  • Others do not do a task well enough, so I do it myself
  • Before I have explained it to anyone, I have done it myself
  • The person will be grateful to me (and that will pay off one day).

These are certainly not all patterns of explanation, but they are the ones I encounter most often. Write to me if you know of any others. No matter which of these sentences I look at, they all inevitably lead to the fact that the person doing the work feels exploited at some point. At that point at the latest it is time to make a change: 

  1. Make more conscious decisions
    Often it is not even a conscious decision to take over the work of others. Rather, a reaction pattern takes place which is well trained and therefore functions almost automatically. Therefore, it’ s important to discover your own pattern first. Look back. Where did you take over tasks in the past that were not yours? When did you say “I’ll do it” too quickly? You probably discover recurring situations or certain people who appear again and again. Next, practice taking more time before you decide. Really think about whether or not you are taking on a task. In some cases, you will continue to do it anyway. Other times, you won’t. Then the following points come into play.
  2. Start the “educational work”
    No matter if it’s clients or colleagues. Often when you delegate tasks, it is about teaching others. Colleagues who are not doing their job well enough need to be told your standards and ideas. You need patience and consistency for this.With customers it is often a matter of not “saving their butts” every time. An example are customers who always come at the last moment when they need an offer or who send orders that are constantly incomplete. If you’ve always done the work of correcting their mistakes in the past, now you have to let them run into the wall. This may be difficult for you, but it is necessary so that they learn that they cannot get away with everything.
  3. Unlearn the phrase, “No problem.”
    The words “no problem” are a big problem. They indicate to the other person that it’s no effort for you to do the work. Not only does that have the disadvantage of being asked every time. The customers don’t even feel guilty, because your answer signaled to them that it’s no trouble for you. It is best to delete this phrase completely from your vocabulary.If you still want to do something for others, make it clear that it is “an exception that you are happy to do this one time” or “It normally is not possible, but you will try to make it possible this once”. You will see that this changes the reaction of your counterpart and you will get more thanks. Also, some people will not dare to ask again.To clients that are used to you doing everything for them, you have to make it clear that it was not a granted thing and that you can’t keep doing it this way in the future. This is certainly the most difficult option. But “re-education” is also possible here.

Either way, it will be a change for you to delegate or to re-delegate more in the future. But it will save you a lot of work at the same time. Furthermore you will get more gratitude if you – for once – do something for others.

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