organization Sep 12, 2019

Welcome to the second half of a 2 part series on systems. If you missed the first part of this series where I discussed the many benefits of a fine-tuned system you can go here to check it out! 

I have a confession to make I absolutely LOVE creating systems. In virtually every job I’ve ever worked, I’ve been able to pinpoint the systemic holes and have found new and innovative ways in which to fill them. There is something satisfying about brainstorming the best way to do something and have it play out in a finely tuned system. 

3 Systems Every Assistant Should Develop

The thing I love most about systems is their predictability; my brain knows exactly what’s next which makes it easy to move through tasks faster and more efficiently. Sure I may need to make modifications or exceptions every once in a while, but I don’t have to continually recreate the wheel. Once the systems are in place everybody knows what to do, even if it’s a system that’s just for me.

In this video, I discuss 3 impactful systems that every executive assistant should have in their tool belt. 

Check out the video:

Check out the transcription:

Hey there. I'm Annie of wholeassistant.com, and today we are tackling the second half of a two-part series, all about systems. If you missed last week, be sure to go back and watch it. It's really, really good. This week, we're going to be sharing, or I'm going to be sharing with you three systems that every assistant should have in place, implemented, ready to go, fine-tuned. The first system is a task tracking system. As many of you all know, I love Trello. I've developed a system for tracking tasks using Trello.

The reason I love Trello so much is because, A, it is a centralized list, and B, it is a digital list. The reason why the digital piece is so important is because you can access it from literally anywhere. I can access it from my phone, from my laptop, from a tablet, anywhere. This eliminates the need for sticky notes. It eliminates the need for trying to remember if something occurs to you in the evenings, which I know for me sometimes it does. I can just pop on my phone and add it to the list for the next day or add it to my task tracking list. I would strongly urge you to develop a task tracking system that works for you. It took me many, many years to discover and fine-tune my way of tracking tasks. If you're interested in learning more, I do offer a free webinar about how to set up your task list using Trello. You can get on my email list, and I will notify you for the next round of free webinars regarding that.

The second system that I would urge all of us to develop and fine-tune is our communication system with our executive. This has looked very different for me over the years, because ... and it'll look very different for all of us, because we all have different people that we support. We all have different personalities that we work with. We all have different preferences in terms of how we communicate. But it is essential to think of how you communicate with your executive as a system.

For me now, this looks like, well, I share my task tracking board, my Trello board, my to do lists board with my executive. However, he seldom looks at it, so it's up to me to be in communication with him. I generally send out an email at the end of every week outlining all the night accomplished for him that week, unless he happens to be in the office, which is rare. My executive is out of the office maybe 70% of the time, maybe 75. So, we really work hard at keeping the lines of communication open. I will send him a summary email for the week, and then the next week I will send him a list of things I'm planning on working on, unless of course he's in or whatever and I've had the chance to have a face to face with him. Those are more and more rare, because we are more and more digital, because of our lifestyle, because of his lifestyle. It is important to be accommodating to that.

In the past, I've had weekly one on ones with my executives, because they haven't traveled as much as my current executive does. Whatever works for you, you need to ... I would just encourage you to systematize it. Create a system around your communication system, so that you know how you're going to communicate when you're going to communicate, when you're going to touch base, and then stick to it.

The third system that I would urge us all to put in place is an excellent time management system. Let me see. We need to figure out a plan of action for when we're interrupted, for dealing with distractions, for dealing with our email inbox. We need to develop protocols for all of those things, kind of like an if-then scenario, because that way will have a plan of action ahead of time, and we'll know exactly how to manage everything on our task list, everything in terms of time management so that we get things done.

Then we also need to communicate that system with our executive or manager, so that he or she knows when you can't be bothered, because you're working on something high level for them, and when you can't be bothered, because ... or when you are more open to receiving new tasks or hearing from your colleagues and coworkers regarding other things. Just really be sure to develop your time management system. If you're curious to learn more, you can also get on my email list. I've created a course all about time management for assistants and how to deal with the unique challenges that we face as assistance.

If you've ever been in a place where you have been constantly interrupted, your office is a revolving door, you know exactly what I mean. That is a time management issue that primarily assistants deal with because we are the go-to people in our offices. I also go into how to tell what your boss's priorities are. If you want to get more information on that, the doors are closed for this round of my UTMA, Ultimate Time Management For Assistants, but if you get on my email list, I will be happy to share with you when I am opening up the doors again. You can also download my Peak Productivity Roadmap, which will help you in figuring out your own time management system as well. Be sure to download the Peak Productivity Roadmap. I will talk to you guys next week. We are where I will share with you my goals for 2019, give you an update on those, and also check in with regards to your goals for 2019, so stay tuned for that. I look forward to speaking with you guys next week.


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