As we continue to look at Matt Perman’s book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan, 2014), we have moved into the fifth main section of the book, called “Reduce,” which addresses the problem of cramming our schedule with so much – even good things – that we become unproductive in getting the best things done.
In chapter 17, “The Art of Making Time,” Perman begins to treat concrete ways in which to reduce our scheduled activities so as to make time for the really important things (the best is what’s next!). He pinpoints four ways to reduce, using the acronym DEAD: Delegate, Eliminate, Automate, and Defer.
Today we will consider part of what he has to say about delegating – and they are good things – some things I had never heard or considered before. This is from his opening paragraphs:
Freeing up your time for what is most important is not merely about eliminating things. If that was all you did, you wouldn’t get very far. There are things that need to be done and ought to get done, even though they are beyond your individual capacity.
In other words, God has not given us all the time we need to accomplish what we have to do.
I say this because it reveals a faulty paradigm, one that views productivity as primarily an individual matter. God hasn’t given us all the time we need because he wants us to rely on other people as well as our own resources and gifts. God has given us all we need, to be sure, but the mistake is thinking that all we need is time. What we need, more accurately, is time and other people (plus some knowledge!).
…God designed the world so that there will always be more things for us to do than we are able to do. That isn’t just so we learn to prioritize; it’s so that we learn to depend on one another.
And that’s what delegation enables us to do.
I believe delegation is the single most important way to free up time. Enlisting others is essential because, when done well, delegation builds others up and deepens existing relationships (p.229).
Sounds simple, and yet, revolutionary, does it not? Now, if you think delegating is simply passing on your work and telling other people to do it, think again. There’s a major difference between “gopher delegation” and “stewardship delegation.”
More on that next time.