Let me take care of that

I’m trying to do this new thing when I work with people: Rather than helping out with things, I try to take care of things.

Here’s what I mean:

Merely helping somebody with a thing keeps the responsibility diffused between you. You’re each on the hook for it – and more importantly – you’re each worrying about it.

Now, I’m trying to take the other person’s responsibility to zero. You stop worrying. I’ll take it off your list. Reverse delegation.

Let me take care of that.

This is a powerful way to work. It does a couple of cool things:

First, it forces me to reframe my work in terms of what I can take care of. Do I have the knowledge/skills/time to cross something off of our list? Can I break a project into smaller pieces that can be crossed off? It’s a very good mental heuristic for breaking up work, GTD-style.

It’s also a good hedge against laziness. I have half-assed demons that need to be exercised. I’m that guy who’s like, “Hey I made the change for you. Go ahead and do the build.” Taking care of something means I do the goddamn build!

Ultimately, I’d like the people I work with to know they can count on me to take care of things. That when I help them, it results in less things they have to worry about. Less stress.

That 10% extra effort to get from “Hey, I helped out with this,” to “Hey, you can stop worrying about this” seems like an awesome bargain for everyone.

 
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