How to Deal with Feeling Guilty About Delegating Tasks

Do you feel guilty when you try to delegate around the house? Watch this video for some inspiration on how to approach it from a healthy perspective.

We’ve been talking a lot about purposeful productivity and what to do when we’re overwhelmed with our to-do list and how to break things down, in general, to make it more manageable in our everyday lives. One of the things that keep coming up is to delegate tasks and to come up with the things that we don’t have to be the one person that does it every single time, in our relationships, in our family lives, at work – all kinds of examples.

But a really great point that one of the people in our community brought up, thank you Maeve, she brought up “How do I deal with the guilt associated with delegation?” And so, her examples were things like, “I feel guilty when I give this task to another person because I feel like I could be doing it or I should be the one doing it.” For all of us, we’ve all been there first of all. This is the important thing to know. Maeve’s definitely not alone. To think about the things that are happening behind this and then to apply it to our lives is where we’re going to go with it.

An example in my own life would be grocery shopping and in my life, my husband and I recently switched roles on this and so I used to be the one that did most of the grocery shopping and he has recently in the past couple of months been the main one to go grocery shopping for us. I had all these mental thoughts about I should be the one to do this because I have more time. I also had a mental block behind maybe I'm better at it like, “I think I'm better at this grocery shopping thing. I should be the one to do it.”

Then, there are societal blocks or the societal scripts that we know a lot about in psychology and human development about scripts to say things like “Who does the grocery shopping in households?” And a lot of times in the commercials it looks like mom does grocery shopping or the woman in the household does grocery shopping. And then we have these roles, right? Like stereotypical roles. They don’t always follow gender lines but follow a variety of scripts.

And so, I want to challenge you today to think about what are the mental blocks I have behind this task that I want to delegate. I thought about grocery shopping, "I'm better at it. I should be the one to do it because I have more time and I’ll feel guilty if I do hand it over." But instead, what happened as we made this transition, I realized when he was the one to go grocery shopping, he actually spends less money than I do which is really helpful for our budget and so actually he probably is better at it right now.

I also come at it from a positive place of how it helps me. I have more time to do a different type of task because he goes grocery shopping for us. I'm kind of coming to grips with that for whatever the task might be in your head of do you feel guilt because you're feeling like “I should be more productive with my time?” Like, if I just sat at home and said “He’s out grocery shopping and I should be the one doing that and I feel really bad that I'm not being productive right now.” That’s just negative thinking, a negative thought loop that’s getting stuck in my head over and over.

It’s also having that conversation with the other person to say “I feel guilty that this is happening. What do you think?” Often times, we’re really surprised at what people have to say back to us, right? We find that maybe he says something like “You know, I kinda like doing the grocery shopping” or “I enjoy being able to get out and about in the store.” And we’re like, “Uh, that’s kind of one of my worst nightmares.” There are all these kinds of different ways that we react to tasks and so unless we ask the person or tell them “I'm feeling guilty about this.” They may actually be able to say back to us like, “Oh, you do? Why do you feel guilty?” And so, having that conversation can help clear up a lot of issues. They may say like “I really don’t mind doing this for you because of these reasons…” So, that’s something to think about – our mental blocks that are happening and then having the conversation with the person.

Can you relate? Tell us below in the comments!