Simple Delegation: Six Signs It’s Time to Hire a Personal Assistant

“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.” – Joseph Addison, 18th century British writer and politician.

You probably work too hard. Most people in my audiences do and have for many years. We know that working long hours every day is unhealthy and unproductive. We know we should delegate more but don’t. We know other people are perfectly capable of lightening some of our load, but we don’t let them. We have more money than time, but we’re not willing to part with some of it to buy some time. YES, money does buy time!

If have more money to spare than time, why not hire a personal assistant? You don’t need that person to deliver the perfect latte to you twice a day or help you on with your coat. Real personal assistants complete necessary work that must be done but isn’t a high value task for you. You can give low-value but needed tasks to someone trustworthy, who can do it just as well for less money, so you can focus on more important activities, even if it’s just spending more time with your loved ones.

Unless you’re a senior-level leader, you probably don’t get your own personal assistant at work.  However, you can hire someone to help you in your non-professional life, and it’s no-holds barred if you’re the boss. Services like Task Rabbit and

How will you know it’s time to hire an assistant? Look for these six signs.

  1. You’re drowning in the mundane. Minutiae threatens to overwhelm you. Paperwork’s killing you. Rather than focusing on the big picture, you end up making your own copies, running back and forth to the printer, delivering paperwork, fixing the copier, attending peripheral meetings, conducting your own research, completing forms, processing email, yadda yadda yadda. An assistant is capable of doing these things, so you can spend time on things you are uniquely able to do.

  2. There’s never enough time in the day, no matter how long you work. We all know the 40-hour-week died long ago in the modern office. It’s not unreasonable to work 50-hour weeks, but much longer is pushing it, since repetitive 11-hour-plus days significantly increase the risk or cardiac events. Much longer, and you court bad health and exhaustion. If you’re working that hard, you’ve failed at to-do list triage. Stop for a while, figure it out, and hire a helper to take some tasks off your list.

  3. You keep trying to do it all yourself. Big red flag here. Clearly, you don’t really understand delegation; or worse, you’re a micromanager. Ask other people in similar roles how they work with their team members and the type of work they delegate. Then find someone who can help you with the important but ordinary things while you do the important but profitable ones.

  4. Things fall through the cracks. No matter what you do, you lose track of items, including important one like agreements, contracts, and follow-up emails. You’re forgetting to pay suppliers, missing opportunities, regularly hitting deadlines on a just-in-time basis, or worst of all, missing some deadlines altogether. Find someone to keep you organized.

  5. It’s obvious hiring an assistant will move your business forward. If you can’t scale up your business, you can’t grow. Once you realize this at a gut level, it becomes clear you need someone who can do most of the same things as you, so you can push that work to them. They can handle the mundane while you invent, design, and network. This applies not just to assistants, but to employees in general. Matt Lloyd, founder of business education firm MOBE, Inc., loved closing phone sales as a solopreneur, and he was great at it. But he knew he’d never exceed about $20,000 in sales per month, even working 16-hour days, unless he hired an experienced phone sales assistant. He expected the brief dip in phone sales as the new employee settled in, but because he could now do other things with his time, MOBE soon broke the $80,000/month barrier.

  6. Um, what’s me time? Even if hiring a personal assistant means finding someone to clean your house for you, do it, so you can unwind when you head home. There’s no better way than to spend quality time with yourself, your friends, and your family. You aren’t a robot or wage slave. Find someone to take some of the pressure off, somewhere, before you blow up.

Take a Load Off

Of course you want to impress your execs with your willingness or work hard, or keep up the grind until your start-up takes off. But working yourself into poor health or depression isn’t the way to do it. Find people to help you. Not only will your productivity improve, you’ll provide work to someone who needs it.


About Laura Stack, your next keynote speaker:

© 2019 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling author, and noted authority on employee and team productivity. She is the president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., a company dedicated to helping leaders increase workplace performance in high-stress environments. Stack has authored eight books, including FASTER TOGETHER: Accelerating Your Team’s Productivity (Berrett-Koehler 2018). She is a past president of the National Speakers Association, and a member of its exclusive Speaker Hall of Fame (with fewer than 175 members worldwide). Stack’s clients include Cisco Systems, Wal-Mart, and Bank of America, and she has been featured on the CBS Early Show and CNN, and in the New York Times. To have Laura Stack speak at an upcoming meeting or event, call 303-471-7401 or contact us online.

Here’s what others are saying:

“What I enjoyed most about your presentation was that it was not only engaging but also practical in application. I’ve read everything from Covey’s system to “Getting Things Done,” and you presented time management in a way that is the easiest I’ve seen to digest and apply. Thank you for helping our system today!”
—John-Reed McDonald, SVP, Field Operations, Pridestaff

“Laura is an incredible speaker who takes practical information to improve productivity and efficiency and makes it interesting and fun! She has a great sense of humor and completely engaged our corporate and sales team. Laura motivated everyone to take steps to make their lives more productive and efficient.
—Molly Johnson, Vice President Domestic Sales, Episciences, Inc.

“Ms. Laura Stack’s program received the highest scores in the 13-year history of the Institute for Management Studies (IMS) in Cleveland! From the 83 participants, the workshop received a perfect 7.0 for “Effectiveness of the Speaker” and 6.8 for “Value of the Content.” Managers especially valued learning about task management, how to minimize interruptions, organizing with Outlook, prioritizing, effectively saying ‘no,’ how to set boundaries, and recognizing self-imposed challenges to time management.”
—Don Gorning, Chair, Institute for Management Studies Cleveland