Should you be doing that?

I knew this day would come.

My daughter was missing a clean item of school uniform. While she has over a week’s worth of everything, today one of her drawers was empty, the contents in the laundry basket.

It is not my responsibility to put her clothes in the laundry basket – that is her responsibility.

But it is my fault.

Not for being behind with the laundry, I wasn’t, but for not teaching her to put her own clothes in the laundry basket from a young age.

The situation did make me think about work.

Who should be responsible for the tasks you do at work? Should you be doing them or is it time to delegate? Here are some questions to help you decide whether to continue doing tasks and a checklist for handing them over if it time to pass them on.

Are you doing a task that someone else could, or should, be doing?

To help you decide, answer the following questions:

  • What would you gain by not doing the task yourself? What could you be doing instead?
  • What training would it require to pass over?
  • What ongoing support would you need to provide?

Who should do it and when should they start?

  • Who will do the task best? Will it be completed in-house or externally?
  • Does it make sense financially if you have to pay someone else to do it? Could you earn more in the time you free up than it costs for someone else to do it?
  • When will you pass the task over?

Write down your answers as you will need this information to plan your handover.

How you will pass the task over?

In my daughter’s case, this is as simple as “Please put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket, or they won’t get washed.”

Most office tasks are a bit more complicated.

List out the information you use to complete the task.

  • Where does your information come from? Give file paths, web addresses, etc.
  • Who provides it? Give contact details or web addresses.
  • What day of the week or month do you look for it?
  • How do you process the information?
  • What forms or templates do you use?
  • What websites are involved?
  • Does the processed information need to be reviewed before it is used or sent out to a third party? You should include a review the first few times the task is undertaken as a minimum.
  • Where does the processed information go? Give contact details or web addresses.

It sounds like a lot of work, but keep your eye on the prize of not having to do it yourself any more.  It will be worth it.

Will my daughter learn to put her clothes in the laundry? She’s 11, so I suspect not for a few years yet. Maybe she’ll remember her school uniform though!


The Gruffalo© is a creation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It’s a wonderful story, still much-loved by my children.