Step 5: Collaboration

Michael Sliwinski — №22 with Crystal Paine

You have your inboxes, projects, tasks and the next actions ready. You’re using Nozbe, which works across all platforms. It feels like something is missing, doesn’t it? Well, you need some support — you can’t do it all alone. Step 5 is all about collaboration. Let me tell you:


Everyone’s day equals 24 hours. You can’t stretch it. You can’t bend the time. And if you can, please tell me how — I really want to know! But for now, let’s assume that it’s impossible. Let’s just face it!

Reality check

You can’t do everything better than everyone. You’re not always the right man for the job. In order to succeed, you need to embrace the fact that others can do a “good enough” job and help you succeed.

The power of delegating

If you think explaining stuff to others is a waste of time, think again. It’s an investment. Once they get the hang of it, they’ll do an amazing job. You’ll be surprised. And relieved.

What I’m saying is that even if you’ve mastered the previous lessons from our course — you have organized tasks into projects, chosen your next actions and you even work “on the move” — the day still has only 24 hours.

The most successful people on the planet, Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and many others, are not doing everything themselves. They get stuff done with others.

I’m not saying you should hire hoards of people, but get into the habit of delegating tasks to others, work collaboratively and enjoy the benefits of a job done in a group.

First steps

So start small. Start with tiny tasks and small favors. Ask your spouse, friend or colleague to do something for you, and tell them why it’s important to you. Offer to return the favor.

How do you do that? How do you delegate tasks to others? How do you make sure they get them done?

Practical aspects of delegating

You can go to someone and physically tell them to do something for you, you can call them if they are not in the same place as you are, or … email them.

Talking to someone or calling them is nice and very social, but not very practical. First off, talking to someone might disturb them and interfere with their workflow, and secondly is that they might (and probably will) forget about what you just asked them to do.

Emailing a task is better. It’s all neatly written in a message and they receive it in their inbox. But they might still forget it. Or be buried with email. And you can’t track the task’s progress.

Very often, emailing back and forth about the specifics of a task leads to more friction and more conversation about the given task than is actually necessary.

That’s why it’s key to delegate tasks through some kind of a system. And that’s why we integrated “project sharing” and “task delegating” into Nozbe to help you create a habit of communicating through tasks.

Delegating tasks in Nozbe

When you share a project with someone, you can create tasks for yourself and for them. Now you’ve got your “common space” to do things. Away from email and other distractions. But to make sure it works, remember some key points:

You can comment with anything you want. Sometimes a document is needed, other times a short description, or an image or photo, or a short checklist. Nozbe makes commenting a breeze to ensure your message gets through.

When you delegate a task to someone, it automatically becomes their “Next Action,” so you’ll know they’ve received it. Then they’ll proceed to this task while processing their Priority task list for the day.

Once the task is completed, it’ll be included in your email report. And visible in the project. You’ll be able to easily track the task and see if it needs more specifics before it’s done.

Bottom line

Once you get into the habit of working with others, you’ll enjoy a synergy that’s simply incredible. As they say, two heads are better than one. Communicate through tasks and get things done! You’ll love it.

Michael sliwinski

Michael Sliwinski

Michael Sliwinski is the editor of the Productive! Magazine, the founder of Nozbe (a time and project management application for busy professionals), and the best-selling author of the #iPadOnly book.

Visit Michael's blog Follow @MSliwinski on Twitter Check out his book: #iPadOnly