What Having My Bathroom Cleaned Taught Me About Business and Delegating
For as long as I can remember, cleaning the bathroom was the bane of my existence. Full disclosure: Bathroom cleanings in our house typically happen in spurts of inspiration (meaning, I’m inspired to make the ugly ring in the toilet disappear), or prior to guests coming over. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about. The rest of the time, we consider it a success to keep the home generally decluttered and somewhat organized, while cleaning up the spills and sticky counters along the way. Oh, and vacuuming crushed cheerios from the carpet.
Between raising four kids, supporting clients, and growing a business, I don’t have tons of enthusiasm at the end of the day toward cleaning the house. I pride myself in being cool with letting others take care of things, like my husband putting the kids to bed or feeding them meals (hey, if you’re a hands-on mom, you know how big of a deal that is). Hiring someone to clean our home felt like a delicious victory moment, and it was actually very affordable. Honestly, it was 100% worth it to just have the bathrooms properly taken care of!
Many of you visionaries reading this would likely agree that it’s much more enjoyable to create the vision, clearly communicate that vision with our teams, and take a hands-off approach to let them do what they do best, so we can do what we do best.
I LIVE by this ideal!
[Related: Delegating 101 for Women in Business]
Well... mostly. After hiring our first professional Homekeeper, I can clearly see I’ve still got work to do in this area. How do I know? Because of these three embarrassing things I caught myself doing.
1. Organizing everything (and I mean everything) moments before she arrived.
I told myself, this will save her time and make her job easier! So that, you know, she could focus on the really gross stuff (I’m telling you, that bath tub was embarrassingly filthy). The takeaway: It is fruitful to set the framework for a more productive, efficient, and effective session, so the support we hire doesn’t have to spend time on tasks that are not maximizing their skill set. Organizing and decluttering is best done by us, or a pro who specializes in just that. A wiser application: Keep things organized on a regular basis, get rid of things that we don't need, and throw away all those broken crayons, already!
2. Literally cleaning while she’s also cleaning.
She’s in the bathroom mopping the floors? That’s cool — I’ll go disinfect the kitchen counters! Strangely enough, seeing her clean also inspired me to clean. I can’t help but wonder what was going through her head when she caught a glimpse of me secretively wiping the counters (face palm). The takeaway: Seeing someone else take action can inspire more action… even when it comes to dreaded realm of cleaning. A wiser application: Instead of allowing ourselves to be pulled into doing the exact actions others are taking, we can consciously choose to take action that is meaningful and decisive toward our own vision and goals.
3. Cleaning more stuff.
Oh, you know, just emptying out the vacuum cleaner, cleaning the upstairs toilet, and wiping the blinds. At this point, I’m beginning to realize this is less about making her job easier, and more about me feeling less bad that she has to clean our filthy shower. The takeaway: Team work really does make the dream work. I realize more and more that I do enjoy being hands on to an extent, in many aspects of my business. It’s fun to have a part in the event planning, without having the emails and timelines in the back of my mind. It’s energizing to make great new connections, without the worry of scheduling tools failing me. A wiser application: Instead of making decisions or taking action inspired by shame or guilt, we can take a step back and see what the underlying issue is. Cracks in communication, leaks in energy, fear or rejection, and lack of connection are all worth considering. If I fail to make a request to a team member, I must take personal responsibility for the lack of communication, rather than brewing resentment for the task not being done.
Having a team is wonderful, and each person has a set of skills and strengths that should be encouraged to shine. As leaders, having excellent communication and connection with our team is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. In each interaction and experience, there’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Today, for me, the opportunity came in the context of cleaning toilets, floors, and tubs. What was your most recent “aha?”
Luci Lampe is the Author of ACHIEVING SEXY and the Founder of Sexy Mama Movement, empowering every mom to live a life she loves in a body she loves.
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