Delegate when someone else can do it better and faster and cheaper

I recently visited my grandparents (ages 81 and 86) and discovered a treasure trove of old family photographs.  Especially precious were the ones of my mother as a little girl (none of which she had seen before) and my great-grandmother, whom I vaguely recall visiting before she passed away.  With seven children, my grandparents had no idea how they were going to split them up after they passed, since many were one-of-a-kind.  My easy answer was to scan them, save them as .jpg files, and make CDs for each of my six uncles and my mother.  So I packed my precious cargo in my suitcase and headed home.  Then it hit me…what exactly did I get myself into?  I counted the photos: 282.  I quickly realized the huge time commitment and realized I was of course able to handle this task but shouldn’t handle this task.  I pulled up my favorite freelance-for-hire site: www.elance.com.  I posted my project requirements and received 18 bids on my project, ranging anywhere from $.25 to $1.00 per scan.  I awarded the project to a woman who took the time to email me directly, tell me about her scanner, offered to complete a couple of test scans at different resolutions to test what printed best, etc.  She quoted me $.75 per scan, which was higher than some of the bids, but she suggested an enhancement to my project specs: upload the scans to a photo site as well, so my relatives could order their own prints directly, and I wouldn’t have to send them CDs myself.  Even better!  Less time for me.  Bottom line: if you’re overburdened, you might not be delegating properly.  If you try to do too many jobs at once, it’s like spinning china plates on sticks: the longer you keep it up, the greater the odds of a crash.  The great philosopher Virgil said long ago, “We are all not capable of everything.”  Never do anything that can be done just as well by someone who is paid less.  If there is another person who can handle something you’re doing, stop doing it.  If someone can do the job 80% as well as you can, let that person do it!  We mistakenly believe only we can do it correctly.  Be open to new, innovative ways of tackling projects, and you will be pleased with the results.  And you can focus your time on higher-value activities.

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