When it comes to household tasks, delegating chores can be the ultimate key to giving you some time back for other things you want to do, and to stop you being tied to the kitchen sink – so to speak!
You don’t have to do it all yourself all the time – and whether you’ve always delegated to others or are just desperate to give it a go, it’s definitely something I’d recommend to keep your sanity.
The main benefits of delegating are: –
- You can delegate to your kids and give them responsibility while teaching them about housekeeping which is a skill they’ll always need in the future
- You can take the pressure off yourself, especially important when you are busy looking after the family / working etc…
What’s not to love!
And don’t forget – you can also delegate to people outside of the house if you don’t live with anyone or your family are less than willing to help out (although stick with it – everyone who lives in your home should be helping to keep it clean and tidy…).
To a lot of us, and especially if you’re new to not doing it all yourself, delegating can seem quite daunting…
After all – you’re losing control of how you’ve always done things, and you’re placing faith in others. It can also be hard work: –
- You may have to spend loads of time chasing people to get things done – so you could feel that it would be quicker to do it yourself
- People don’t take responsibility for their tasks and arguments can follow as to who should have done what, and when. Why give yourself that extra stress?
Frustrating to say the very least….
And while it’s true that you will have to spend a little time at the start chasing people and teaching them what you want doing, that time will be well spent because you will be able to let go sooner rather than later once it becomes the norm for everyone and habits kick in.
But the thing that can really stop delegation working in a family is the knowing who is doing what, and when, and the arguments that can start as a result…
So – the question is – how do you delegate so that it makes life easier, not harder?
The answer really is simple. It’s a golden rule I have that really works!
You simply need to split tasks up rather than share them out.
Let me explain…
Don’t Share – Split Up Instead
I’m not suggesting divorcing your family – although it may sound like I am! – but bear with me – it really works and can make all the difference to how you and your family feel about doing household chores.
Most of the time when we are trying to make everyone do their far share around the house, we start by trying to share things out equally and doing a bit of everything.
But that method has a tendency to set you up for failure…
- No-one has ultimate responsibility for the task
- You are never sure whether its your turn to do something – so it sometimes doesn’t get done
- It’s never 50/50 split for each task
- Usually one person ends up resenting the other for not pulling their weight
- You may do things differently – and therefore hamper each other or cause wasting of time getting things setup how you or they like them each time
- You will always feel uneasy relaxing if there’s stuff to do – even if you think you’ve done your share
- You aren’t empowered to make decisions as easily
- It aids procrastination – after all – someone else will do it if you don’t
So you see – sharing – although it works brilliantly in most things, doesn’t necessarily work around the house.
Let’s look at splitting things up instead…
How Do You Split Things Up?
Splitting things up basically means taking specific jobs around the house, defining what they are, and delegating chores in their entirety to a single person.
The person responsible for that task should be comfortable that it fits in with their schedules and that they can keep on top of it as well (for example, no good giving someone a daily task such as washing clothes if they are only able to do household jobs at the weekend, as a backlog will soon build up).
Things To Remember
Work out what works for your family, which jobs need to be done and ideally when and how often they need to be done, and get a list of what people can fit in.
When you work out what needs doing, make sure it’s obvious where a job starts and ends (laundry is a tricky one as it has so many different aspects to it – you may want different people to be responsible for different areas, or find it easier to have one person doing that and only that for their job).
Also, look at how long jobs take, and don’t overload one person – it may be (like the washing example above) that one job is all that a person needs to do because it’s so large – it may be that one person ends up with a long list of relatively quick tasks – but make sure it feels fair to everyone as then you have more of a chance of things getting done.
It may well be an easy task to split things up this way, or it may take some time – but once done it will be worth it – as everyone will know where they are with things.
What Are The Benefits Of Splitting Tasks Rather Than Sharing?
Splitting jobs helps in so many ways:-
- Everyone has specific jobs
- You can immediately see what you need to do
- You can plan when you do things, and how, more easily (and around your schedule)
- You know when your jobs are finished, and can relax
- You have responsibility and feel empowered
- You are still working as a team – but with different jobs
So you see, splitting up can be so much better than sharing!
What About When You Can’t Get Things Done?
Obviously there will be times when other pressures mean that one person may not be able to do their tasks for a day/week etc… – that’s life – but you will still be able to ask for help of course.
Splitting the tasks so that you are responsible for them purely means that you need to get them done – it gives you the permission to ask for help when needed, and makes things so much easier around the house.
After all – the other alternative is that you simply stop doing a shared job, and make the other person do it without really asking – which isn’t fair to anyone.
How Does Delegating Work In Practise?
I’d like to share with you how this works in my own home – as an example that will hopefully give you some inspiration for trying it yourself.
My hubby and I used to share jobs around the house quite happily – and had had no issues with doing so for many years. When things needed doing, one of us would just get it done.
However, when he started to work away from home each week a few years back, things changed.
I started to get all the housework done during the week as I wanted to be able to have quality time with him at the weekends instead of doing chores. He wanted me to leave some chores for the weekend as he felt he wasn’t being fair. He felt that living in a hotel all week was a treat because he didn’t need to do any chores during that time, and so he could help me at the weekends happily. This created a clash for us – ironically because we wanted to take the pressure off each other.
We sat and talked about it and worked out that giving each of us specific jobs (splitting them up) would work better, as we would know the boundaries and know that the other would be happier as a result.
At that point it made sense for my hubby to take over certain parts of the laundry, and I would do everything else.
I found it easiest to leave the laundry because I could close the door on it and it wouldn’t affect the rest of the house (I couldn’t leave dusting or hoovering to build up as it would annoy me, for example!), and I hated ironing whereas he enjoyed it (!).
Over the years we have changed what tasks we split up a few times, depending on what our schedules are like at the time. The thing that hasn’t changed is that each time we have both felt like we were doing our fair share. There have been fewer disagreements as a result, and delegating in this way has had nothing but positive results…
So – do you share or split?
I hope that this has made you think a little about how delegating chores can be done successfully in your own home as well.
Of course – we were lucky that we were both willing to do our fair share, and you may not have family members that are quite so eager to help – but one way to get around this is to work out what tasks they enjoy more than others, and giving those to them first.
Do you think this splitting up would work well in your home? Do you like the idea of delegating entire tasks to people so everyone is clear about what they have to do?
P.S – If you need specific help with setting up a chores schedule, with lots of gorgeous printables to keep everyone on track, then take a look at the Chores Planner Section of the Home File. Hope it helps!