How Do You Prioritize Tasks When Outsourcing?

Last Updated on September 13, 2023

The outsourcing process can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to prioritize tasks in a way that can send you down a rabbit hole of questions and confusion. When delegating tasks to your virtual assistant, keep this rule of thumb in mind: “Is it something that only I can do?” If the answer is yes − that is, if no amount of training would help your assistant understand how to complete this task − then it’s not one of the first things you should delegate. Here are some examples:

Ask yourself: “Is it something that only I can do?” 

The first thing to consider when outsourcing is whether the task can, in fact, be delegated. If it’s something that only you can do, obviously, you should not try to delegate it. For example, if you’re a lawyer and someone needs help with a matter in your area of expertise, there’s no point in delegating this task: it can only be taken up by a qualified attorney.

However, if the task isn’t something that only you can do, but rather, something that takes time and effort on your part, such as managing all administrative tasks related to a project, you can feel free to delegate those tasks!

Identify tasks that are impossible for a virtual assistant to complete

There are tasks that a virtual assistant cannot do. It’s important to identify those tasks and move them out of your to-do list so you don’t waste time on them. This can be difficult. At first, it may seem that a task is possible for an outsourcer. However, if they are not up to it, it doesn’t matter how much money you save or how many hours you free up.

I have listed some examples below of work aspects that I consider impossible:

  • Writing an article on my website (I have tried in the past but have failed)
  • Creating marketing materials (I have tried before and failed)
  • Marketing my business online by myself (This isn’t difficult for me, but again − I fail at this!)

Delegate the tedious stuff

One of the most important things to do when outsourcing is to delegate tasks that are repetitive and tedious. Tasks like these can be very time-consuming. If you don’t have the time or energy to do them yourself, it’s better to hire someone who can handle them more effectively.
Another thing to bear in mind is that when you delegate tasks, they should not be too complex for your outsourcer. If you hire someone who doesn’t have much experience with a certain type of work, they may not know how best to tackle it. Worse still, they may waste your time trying various methods until they find something that works (which could take hours).

For example, I may be looking for an illustrator to create some graphics for a comic book about my cat (I guess I’m allergic). It would probably take me several hours just coming up with ideas on what style should be used or which characters should appear in each panel − and then another few days drawing them myself! However, if I hired someone who knows their way around Photoshop programs, and understands how comics work, maybe after just one morning’s worth of work we’d already have everything done!

Delegate tasks that consume too much time

Tasks that take up a great deal of time can be outsourced to workers who are more efficient at these. For example, if you have a great deal of writing work, and find that your employees are not as quick as you would like, you can outsource the editing or proofreading task to someone else. If an employee doesn’t enjoy accounting work but is extremely good at it, outsourcing this task would be ideal.

When it comes to repetitive tasks (like sending emails), having an assistant will save you time and make sure that these tasks are correctly performed. If the process consists of sending emails once every week instead of daily, having someone else handle this process may be beneficial for both parties involved.

Choose tasks that you dislike doing, but that still must be done

Some tasks you may dislike, but must still undertake:

The time-consuming tasks

These may take much more of your time than they should, or they may seem endless and boring.

The skillset-related tasks

You can’t do them or don’t have the right tools for them −either way, they’re a pain in YOUR neck! The tedious chores make your eyes roll back into your head and cause blood vessels to burst in frustration (or whatever else).

Leave room for growth

It’s important to remember that you are not going to get it all done in the first week. You will have some tasks you can do yourself and others that require outside help. This means that you need to prioritize your tasks so that you can delegate those not within your capabilities.

You may also find some tasks more efficiently done by someone else, or with a tool or resource outside of yourself (e.g., hiring an assistant). Delegating these tasks will allow you more time for other areas of growth and development, while still allowing completion of the project as a whole!

Start by identifying the tasks easy for a virtual assistant to execute, and work your way up from there

When outsourcing tasks, it’s important that you don’t delegate something too easy or too difficult. You’ll want to start by identifying the tasks easy for a virtual assistant to execute, working your way up from there.

For instance, you may have on your desk a pile of papers for filing. That is an easy task for most people (including me). However, if you know how to file documents properly, it would make more sense for you to do it yourself than to pay someone else to do it incorrectly. However, if you need help organizing files so they are easier to find when working on projects related to those specific topics, it would be a good idea to outsource this task. There is not much training involved in learning how best to organize files in their appropriate folders/folders within the folders system (my preferred method).

Something else worth mentioning

Make sure not to overburden your virtual assistant with tasks! Asking them for instance to book travel reservations or schedule appointments is probably going overboard unless they’re specifically trained in those areas. Most VAs can run personal errands like picking up medicine at CVS. However, all virtual assistants aren’t necessarily experts at booking flights and hotels −if they were, they’d probably have their own business doing just that!


All in all, it’s best to start by prioritizing the tasks that are easy for your virtual assistant to execute. From there, you can work your way up to more complicated or time-consuming tasks, while leaving room for growth.


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