I’m Learning to Delegate… and I’m Finally On Instagram!

posted by Andrea | 08/2/2018

Over the past 2-3 years, it has become very obvious to me that I’m not willing to spend any amount of extra time on anything that isn’t completely necessary (unless of course, I enjoy doing it).

I have too many things I need to do, and so many other things I want to do; it just doesn’t make sense for me to “waste” time on something that isn’t necessary or something I don’t enjoy.

In general, I think this is a fairly OK stance to take in life. It certainly doesn’t apply to every situation, but I’m a huge advocate for doing what you do well and letting other people do what they do well. It seems that if we all simply focus on doing what we do well, everything sort of balances out in the end.

However… since I run my own business and am the one who does everything (whether I’m good at it or not) there isn’t anyone else to “pick up the slack” in the areas I’m not as gifted in or in the areas I don’t enjoy.

When I first started my business, I did EVERY SINGLE THING on my own… boy, did I learn a lot in the process. We didn’t have children at the time, we didn’t have house projects, and we had more time than money. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, 8+ years, 4 children, and so many house projects later, I’ve learned enough to know what I’m good at, what I enjoy, what I do really well, AND what I’m not good at, and what I don’t enjoy.

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Over the years, I have (very) slowly started to delegate a few of my business and blogging responsibilities to others to allow more time for me to write, create new recipes, take pictures, etc. — all things I thoroughly enjoy doing, all things that I think most of you appreciate, and all things I feel I do fairly well.

Delegating does not come easily for me. I like to be in control of everything… but in an effort to simplify my business life, I am allowing more people to help me when necessary.

So far, every time I’ve reached out for help, my load has been lightened, my business life has been simplified, and I’ve been able to enjoy more time for the things I do well… and of course, more time for house projects and family life!

After about a year of blogging, I hired Agathon Groupย to completely redesign my blog. They built my website from scratch, they host my website, they handle all my tech issues, they troubleshoot problems, and they provide excellent technical support all year long.

They use their expertise and passion to handle all the tech stuff I have no idea how to do and no desire to learn!

SIDE NOTE: Dave’s cousin is one of the owners of Agathon — and even though we’re relatives, I honestly can’t think of one negative thing to say about any of my interactions with Agathon over the past 8 + years. They are truly top-notch and I’ve recommended them to SOOOOOOOOO many of my blogging friends (who now all love working with them as much as I do!)

After a couple of years, I recruited Dave to be my faithful proofreader (because you all know spelling is not my strength!)

He has occasionally missed a few glaring typos (it’s always worse right after we have another baby and we’re both so tired!) but for the most part, he provides the extra set of eyes my posts need and the convenience of always being close by when I have a spelling or grammar question.

Dave definitely picks up the slack where my atrocious spelling is concerned… plus, his price is right! ๐Ÿ™‚

Earlier this year, I took a big leap and switched ad networks — or really, finally started using an add network. In the past, I had tried to do a lot of it myself using Google Ads, etc. but it was ineffective, time-consuming, and nothing I enjoyed at all!

Now, I’m working with Mediavine, and I let them handle everything. I can still set limits and boundaries, increase and decrease the number of ads shown on my site, and tweak a few of the settings — but for the most part, they handle everything with all my advertising. It’s amazing!

They save me loads of time, energy, and stress by doing something I don’t have enough knowledge or skill to do well, which means I have more time and energy to focus on writings posts, making new recipes, responding to comments, and taking care of my home and family — all things I enjoy doing exponentially more!

In just a few months time, they have already more-than-doubled my ad income! Woo-hoo!

Most recently, I finally acknowledged the fact that I really, really dislike social media… which is a big problem since I make my living by increasing blog traffic (most of which comes from social media.)

For over 2 years now, I’ve told Dave that I should hand off my social media to someone else — but I felt like I was selling out and not staying true to myself. So instead of finding someone to help me, I just did nothing with social media, and my blog traffic suffered because of it.

Well, suffer no more!

I’m now working with Laura Hutchinson from HowTOGYST.com. She’s a social media phenomenon who is whipping my social media presence into shape!

She’s also Irish and has a fantastic accent!ย 

If you’re interested in learning more about Laura and what she does, you can connect with her here:

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Laura knows everything I don’t know about social media (which is a lot), she enjoys working with social media, and she’s really, really good at it!

I can’t even begin to list out everything she has helped me with over the past month or so, as well as everything I’ve learned from her — more than I could have ever learned in a year of working on my own.

And yes… this means I now have an Instagram account!

Clara is shocked too! ๐Ÿ™‚

My New Social Media Presence:

So many of you have begged me to start using Instagram, and I’m happy to announce you can now follow me @andrea_dekker!

I’m also starting to use Pinterest more regularly.ย Laura has helped me organize my pin boards to make them easier to navigate —ย I even have a pin board dedicated to all MY recipes! If you like my recipes, you’ll definitely want to follow that board as we’ll hopefully update it regularly!

As for Twitter, you can follow meย @andrea_dekker, and since Laura is helping me ramp that up again too, I hope to be much more active than I have been the past 5 years.

Of course, I’ll still be sharing my new blog posts, simple recipe ideas, and cute kiddo pictures on my Facebook page as well!

Right now, Laura is also helping by responding to some social media comments (especially ones with questions she knows the answers to or can simply link to a blog post on my site). I’m still responding to ALL blog comments, ALL emails, ALL Facebook messages and comments; Laura is currently handling most of the Twitter and Instagram comments.

Laura and I were talking about the best way to handle the fact that 2 people might be responding under the same account —ย  we figured we might as well ask YOU what you would prefer??

Do you want Laura to make it known whenever she is the one responding? Or does it not matter if she’s simply answering a question she knows the answer to?ย 

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In an effort to make it super easy for anyone to follow me, I added new social media buttons to my sidebar and in the header of my blog — all of which hopefully bring more readers to social media and more social media followers to my blog.

That’s the plan at least!

I’ll admit, it has been REALLY difficult for me to hand over my social media duties to an “outsider”. Even though Laura has been a faithful blog reader since before Nora was born, and even though she basically knows everything there is to know about social media, it’s still not natural for me.

I’m the type of person who is organized enough that I can manage 85 different things at one time without feeling stressed out or over-worked. However, I will admit that it feels like an enormous weight has been taken off my shoulders.

I no longer feel bad about not doing social media or the fact that I’m unwilling to spend time trying to figure it all out — and I still get the benefits of a strong social media presence (which is essential for bloggers today).

As my home life, family life, personal life, and business life all get busier and busier, I know that delegating some of my responsibilities is the right thing to do in order for me to achieve the simple, organized life I desire.

Right now, that means letting Laura work her magic on my social media accounts.

It means letting Mediavine manage my blog ads and Agathon Group monitor all the technical “behind the scenes” stuff.

It means letting Dave take charge of the older 3 kids more often (he has been super dad all summer long!)

It means letting my kids make their own beds, pick out their own clothing, brush their own teeth, and do their own hair (even if it’s not what I would ideally choose for them to wear or if their beds basically look like a pile of blankets)

It means letting Dave and the kids pitch in more around the house, even if their standards aren’t quite up to mine.

It means saying “yes” when someone offers unexpected childcare for an afternoon or to have us over for a meal.

The beauty of delegating is that I accomplish so much more than I could on my own, PLUS I have more time and energy to use on things and activities I actually enjoy doing and feel passionate about!

This allows me more time to write blog posts, more time to play with my kids, more time to make food for my family, and more time to work in my garden — all things I would choose to do with any amount of free time I have available.

I realize delegating unloved tasks is not always an option (I’d love to delegate laundry, but that’s just not practical right now). However, I can speak from experience that delegating is an extremely effective way to simplify.

If you feel stressed out, over-worked, too busy, or just super tired all the time, I’d highly encourage you to brainstorm a few ways you could delegate some of your unloved tasks to someone else.

Maybe this means asking your spouse or children to help out more around the house.

Maybe it means getting takeout or fast food a couple times a week.

Maybe it means paying someone to do yard work or clean your house.

Maybe it means swapping babysitting or house cleaning with a friend who is willing to cook or run errands for you.

Delegating doesn’t have to be expensive… just get creative!

How do you delegate in attempts to simplify your life?

Also, feel free to share your favorite tips, tools, or features of Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook — I’d love to know more!

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39 comments

  1. Susannah

    08/06/2018

    Hey Andrea!
    We’re so glad that you’re happy with your switch to Mediavine! We know we’re pretty darn happy to have you.
    We’re here to help you optimize your site in all the ways, so please check out our blog and help docs and reach out to us with any questions: publishers@mediavine.com
    Thanks for the shoutout!
    โ€” Susannah at Mediavine

    [Reply]

  2. Lee

    08/03/2018

    Delegating can be SO hard! I have never been a good housekeeping, and I HATE it. I also have allergies, so dusting and vacuuming kill me. Kitchen and bathroom are better tasks for me. Anyway, close to 2 years ago I had a cataract surgery (I was only 52, but for some reason I got them early.) At that time I started with a cleaning person every other week. I LOVE it. My house is far from perfect, but it is much better. Plus she motivates me and is so helpful. I have known her since she was about 4 years old, so we have a great relationship!

    We also have a weekly “pooper scooper” service, and a neighborhood person who does our lawn.

    I’m glad you will be on IG! That and FB are my two social media that I follow.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay for a cleaning service. I’ve told Dave that if I ever go back to working outside the home, I want to hire a cleaning service. It’s weird now because I’m home all the time and wouldn’t want someone cleaning when I’m here — plus, I don’t have allergies and I actually enjoy cleaning (just wish I had more time to devote to it!)
    And yes, Instagram has been a learning experience so far — but fun!

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  3. Chris

    08/03/2018

    Teaching your children life skills is something so invaluable. I wish I had done more with my son. I would love an updated post like you have done in the past, in which you outline all the hours you work on your different jobs, your blog, your VA work, etc. I’m glad you were able to get more help. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Chris Reply:

    PS I also agree with all the other commenters who would like the differentiation between you or Laura commenting.

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  4. Sarah Clews

    08/02/2018

    This feels kind of dumb to me so I’m almost embarrassed to share..but I decided I wanted to “delegate” and switch to all paper diapers. We’ve cloth diapered through 3 kids and I’m thrashed. I realized that my husband pays our staff extra to save him time and do things he doesn’t want to do. And I want to delegate the diaper task to paper diapers because I just don’t want to do the work of cloth diapers anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a big decision for me because I felt guilty about the expense. But it’s really taken a load off me. I also weaned my toddler to ease my load.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — not dumb at all! I think it’s awesome that you were willing to make the switch and push your guilt aside. Enjoy all your extra time (and so much less laundry!)

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  5. Brandette W.

    08/02/2018

    I would like it designated so that we know when Laura is responding and when it’s you.

    So, happy to see you on other platforms now.

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    Andrea Reply:

    will do! And yes, I’m excited to be on Instagram now!

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  6. Karen H Lawrence

    08/02/2018

    Hi Andrea, So happy you are doing Instagram also. I think I would like to know when Laura responds.It just lets me know ๐Ÿ™‚ I really enjoy your blog and look forward to seeing more of you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Blessings, Karen

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Karen — I’m super excited to be on Instagram!!

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  7. JJ

    08/02/2018

    I may be the only one, but I dont find it necessary to distinguish between you or Laura. I follow one other blog besides yours. I actually felt weird when the other person responded with their name instead of the blogger. I would rather not know–haha!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — good to know!

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  8. Erin

    08/02/2018

    Andrea!! Your site is mobile friendly now!! I just got on with my phone, but discovered it was really slow and messed up my comments as I was typing them. ๐Ÿ™
    However, your site is always amazing and the changes you implement are always well done. Normally I just read the email that I get from your site at 12 noon every day. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love that you are getting to be a mom (of 4 kids!! I started following your blog back when it was just you and Dave!) and spend time with your kids by delegating responsibilities. I struggle with that too, a lot, but I am single without any kids, so there isn’t anyone to delegate tasks to…I just do it all…and it’s exhausting! So I can’t imagine doing it with maintaining your healthy marriage and taking care of the kids.
    In response to your question, I would love it if you would let us know when it’s you and when it’s Laura responding to messages! I would love to see a blog post on her to know a little bit about her and why she signed on to work with you.
    I’m about to follow you on Instagram (looking forward to some garden photos!) and I’ve seen some updates on your Pinterest page, so thank you! I’m SO excited to see your recipes up on Pinterest so I can try them out!!!
    You’re my fav. If you ever write a book or go on tour, let me know – you have a fan in Oregon! <3

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm… yes, it’s mobile friendly, but I guess I’ve never tried to leave a comment from my phone before ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll see if I can figure anything out ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement — and for following on my new social pages!!!

    Social media is about as crazy as I’m going to get right now — no book deals or tours in the foreseeable future. But you know I’d post it on the blog if it ever happened ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Shan Reply:

    Andrea, I commented from my phone previously and did not have any issues. In fact, this time my name and email have been autofilled.
    Shan

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    Andrea Reply:

    ok thanks for letting me know!

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  9. Debbie

    08/02/2018

    It would be helpful to know if you or Laura is answering a particular question. I almost see it as calling a friend’s home number and assuming she’ll be the one answering the call. It’s nice when the person picking up the call tells me she’s not my friend and she’s unavailable at the moment.

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    Andrea Reply:

    sounds good — we’ll make sure to put her initials after anythings she replies to!

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  10. Jennifer Peterson

    08/02/2018

    Yay, you’re on IG!!! I know you work with Crystal and Money Saving Mom and I like how she handles IG in that she posts a few more personal things there – sort of like if you had a bonus shot for the “a peek in our week” kind of posts. And welcome Laura! I think it’s good to know when you are responding and when Laura is responding for you. And, if you’re not familiar with it, Grammarly is a lifesaver for proofing. It’s easy to use (I use the free version) and it will catch spelling or minor errors as you write.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jennifer — that is what Laura and I talked about. I think she’ll probably be the one to put her initials after comments she replies to — everything else will be from me!
    Also, I’m off to check out Grammarly right now! Thanks!

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  11. Marlene

    08/02/2018

    In answer to your question…I would prefer to know if the answer came from you or Laura. I’m sure she’s great. Delegating can be hard, but worth it. Good luck in your new social media venues!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sounds good Marlene! The consensus seems to be that people want to know who is responding (shocking!) I’m thinking Laura will just put her initials after comments that she replies to — everything else will be from me!

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  12. Jen

    08/02/2018

    I’m so happy you’re on IG too! And, if Dave ever gets tired of proofreading, I’m here for ya! It’s my favorite!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know… thanks Jen!

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  13. Rhonda

    08/02/2018

    We delegate quite a bit, since my husband and I are not very “DIY” people, and we are lucky enough to be financially secure enough to hire out. We have a person clean our house once a month (I do in-between upkeep), we hire out for weed and pest control, and this spring I hired an interior designer for furniture selection and designing a built-in bookcase (the designer was surprisingly affordable). I have my 5 and 7 year old kids help with putting their shirts and dresses on hangers and putting their socks and underwear away. The 7 year old helps feed our dog. The mostly pick out their own clothes too (and like you said, sometimes the outfits are not what I would pick, but I figure you gotta choose your battles).

    It’s funny, my friends and I were just having a conversation about this last weekend. They comment that they or their husbands try a job (house renovation, plumbing) etc, either because they don’t have a huge income or they are simply frugal, and then they wish they hired out. I commented that we usually hire out a LOT, and they told me how smart they thought that was! LOL, I think of it as we just don’t know how to do a lot of home renovation stuff, and realize we don’t have the time to devote to it since we both work busy jobs.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, Dave and I area slowly learning that sometime delegating is actually cheaper in the long run because WE get so much of our time back!

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  14. Kelynn

    08/02/2018

    Iโ€™m so glad youโ€™re on Instagram now. Will you be linking your daily blog posts there as well? Also, your question about Laura answering your posts on Instagram. Of course I think it is great if she knows the answer and can refer someone to where they need to go. But I think that it gets kinda hard if there is someone you know on Instagram and their comment is for you, you may miss out on some interaction from a friend. All in all, I think itโ€™s great youโ€™re delegating some of your work, itโ€™s a lot!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kelynn, I think the plan is to start sharing my daily posts on Instagram… and for the record I will definitely be checking in and reading comments there too (and responding when it’s personally for me) Laura will just be the one uploading all the content, adding hashtags (she knows everything about what to do there), and responding to questions and comments that aren’t personally directed at me.
    Hopefully we’ll find the right balance after a few more weeks/months!

    [Reply]

  15. Shan

    08/02/2018

    Congratulations, Andrea, for taking these significant new steps. I love and agree with what you said, “As my home life, family life, personal life, and business life all get busier and busier, I know that delegating some of my responsibilities is the right thing to do in order for me to achieve the simple, organized life I desire.” Right there is a succinct rationale for delegating. Love your blog and your family!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Shan!

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  16. Kim

    08/02/2018

    Yay! You’re on IG! I quit Facebook many months ago for so, so many reasons, but I really do like Instagram. I can keep up with people and it takes WAY less time (for me) than Facebook. And without all the things I strongly dislike about Facebook.

    I think delegating is “working smarter, not harder.” (Hard work is good, but there is only so much a person can do before they burn out.) I also think you can’t really grow a business (my husband and I own a small business) if you’re not willing to delegate. I understand the struggle, though, ’cause I have a few control issues. ๐Ÿ™‚

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup… it’s official ๐Ÿ™‚
    And yes, working smarter is what I need to do right now. I’ve worked VERY hard for years (and I know I won’t stop) but smarter is the way to go for now!

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  17. Ann

    08/02/2018

    I really agree with Lauren’s comment!
    So glad you’re delegating now! You’re STILL my favorite blogger

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you, Thank you!

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  18. Cindy

    08/02/2018

    As one of your faithful blog readers for many many years, I just have to say “HOORAY FOR YOU!!!!” I wish you could see me jumping up and down for you. Both that you have a bigger social media presence (so glad to now see you on Insta!) and that you have made the leap to “let go” of a few things. It makes me genuinely happy for YOU (because you will be happier as a result), but also happy for your fantastic blog that deserves the publicity and recognition. Cheering you on!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Cindy!!! I know there will be people who aren’t nearly as thrilled about the changes… so it’s nice to hear from those who are ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. Lauren

    08/02/2018

    Welcome to Instagram! Iโ€™ve been following your blog for years now and love how it has changed and evolved to meet your needs. I follow lots of accounts that have a separate manager. One approach that I like is that they let you know who the main contributor is, and then a secondary contributor adds their initials after a post if they are the one responsible for content. For example, Michelle obamaโ€™s Instagram is managed by her social media rep, but when Michelle posts content, sheโ€™s adds โ€œ-moโ€ at the end. Itโ€™s a simple way to let followers know who contributed the content. So if Laura is primarily handling your account, then maybe you could add your initials at the end of any content your personally post.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lauren!
    We were thinking that adding initials at the end of the post might be a good idea… thanks for your thoughts!

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