Tools for the Personal Assistant

February 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Whenever I picture other personal assistants, I see someone on the go, focused, and handling multiple chores at one time and switching into those roles without missing a beat. I often thought it would be funny to have a shelf in my office with different hats on the shelf. As the next request came up, I would say, “Hold on,” take off one hat and put on the next, “okay, speak,” and on and on it would go as I systematically put on five or more hats within a three-minute conversation. When you’re the go-to person, you are handling such a variety of situations in one household, you could easily wear ten hats or more in one hour or one day: accountant, secretary, data processor, pharmacist, construction manager, shopper, employer, staff manager, sales manager, publicist, manager, psychiatrist, nanny, pet sitter, organizer, party planner…well, you get the picture.

On crazy busy days here’s the hat I wear the most.

And here are the tools I must always have on hand to do my job effectively:

Paper and pen
Cell phone (preferably an android type)
Laptop computer
A good bottle of wine
A good night’s sleep
A good man
(okay, you can omit the last two…maybe)

There are just some of the organizational systems and forms I have developed which are my lifelines:

Employer information list system
Weekly/Monthly/Annual house maintenance system
Filing system (business and personal)
Medical insurance billing system
Staff scheduling/hiring/firing system
Petty cash system
Accounting / bill pay system
Order taking, fulfillment and shipping system
Call sheets and end-of-day update forms
On-going grocery lists
Hot Sheet of important telephone numbers
Holiday Gift/Card Lists
Monthly Birthday Lists
Legal forms

Clearly the job of personal assistant is one that encompasses many and you’d be smart to sneak some of your employers Xanax pills every once in a while! (Just kidding, I don’t know anyone who takes that???) This is the one constant with every employer I’ve ever had-not the Xanax but wearing many hats part. With your demonstrated competency the job usually morphs into as many areas that you can handle so remember, at some point to re-assess and request a runner or a 2nd assistant to help with the more routine tasks and allow yourself the tools, systems and forms to help you do it easier. Remember to be humble and know you can’t do it all and still do it well without the help and cooperation of co-workers and systems.



P.S. Don’t take credit for the help you get.  Support rocks!


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