I always like to make my life easier. I am after all a mother, a writer, a blogger, a wife, a mentor, a volunteer, a conference planner and a fund-raiser. I wear a lot of hats and so finding a way to pass down tasks is real joy. Particularly when you help someone else, by giving them experience or helping them learn.
If you delegate well, you also help the other person that you regularly delegate too. You could merely help them financially of course. However the other way to help someone is to help them gain experience and mentor them while teaching them to do what you do.
I have met many women who are really down on taking student volunteers. They require attention, and do a crappy job I was told repeatedly in graduate school. I also had many successful student volunteers. I would count anyone who stayed in my office and helped me get work done as being a successful volunteer. If they came in twice or if they came in for a year I had a good experience. I didn't overly train my volunteers though and I tried to offer them as much as they were offering me.
I was offering them clinical experience or research experience and in addition a letter of recommendation when requested. They offered me countless hours of data entry and worksheet creation. I think in order to get volunteers or even low paid staff, you have to offer them something. You also should not start out providing 20 hours of training because you never do know who will stay and who will leave. Volunteers are getting their feet wet. Treat it (and them for that matter) like a win win and everyone wins. Treat your volunteer like crap and they will most likely leave as quickly as possible. I think a lot of those people who dislike volunteers or work study kids treat their volunteers like peons.
I don't have a lot to offer volunteers at the moment. I am working from home, no longer for my university. I don't have the same mind numbing data entry to hand off. A letter from me, is not as valuable as it was when I was a graduate student. So I don't take on volunteers at least not now. When I need to delegate, I use services like fiverr, an online website that connects people who need little jobs done to people who do little jobs for 5 dollars. You'd be surprised what people are willing to do for 5 dollars. Secondly, if I meet someone who does something I need done regularly (dry cleaners, baby sitters, bakers) I inquire about their rates. I have found people who'd trade services with me. When they are reasonable, it tends to work out well.
When you find people who can do what you can't or would prefer to not do, then you have more time to focus on what you need to do. I would really like to find a personal assistant one of these days. I can't afford that for now, but I certainly can afford fiverr's rates.
Do you know a secret to delegating affordably?