Manual Boss with Benefits 1: Very Personal Assistant

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Modern personal assistants have come a long way from secretaries working in typing pools.

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These days, a personal assistant is more likely to be involved in making key decisions, even managing budgets. Personal assistants now work with chief executives and, in some cases, perform roles on their behalf.

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Secretaries that were retained were required to work for more than one executive, occasionally taking on roles that were traditionally assigned to middle management. Successfully handling all these requires quite a broad skill-set, including being efficient, flexible, self-motivated, proactive, a good communicator — and much more. But of all the skills required to be excellent at their jobs, personal assistants find that being organised offers the most benefits.

They are constantly pulled in so many different directions, that the only way to get anything done is to stay organised.

How to Stay Organised as a Personal Assistant

But how do you do that, exactly? To help you get started, here are my top 5 organisational and time management tips for personal assistants. With your boss relying on you to get it right every time, how can you make sure that you remember every vital detail? The best way to do that is to develop a system that works for you. This means that you process documents as soon as they are received. Read it, process it, and file it away — never allow documents to pile up on your desk or in your inbox.

Grouping similar messages or documents together will also make them easier to retrieve later, but you can store them in a way that suits you best. If you need some tips on how to do this, Activia has a detailed guide on why developing and sticking to a system is important and how you can get started and get the most out of your day. In order to avoid this, make calendars, post-its, and notebooks your new best friends. Whether you are using an electronic device or putting pen to paper; make sure you take notes and write down everything.

Writing details down provides a record you can track and double-check whenever needed, and it also allows you to cross items off your list once they get completed.

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Ticking them off provides a proof of progress and makes you feel good for getting things done. I was working at an event in London last week where I was asked what my role in the company I work for involved. There are huge benefits for staff that are good at managing up. They are seen, by the boss, as a helpful resource rather than a hindrance and they learn very quickly how to get the most out of their manager in a way that will advantage them.

Develop your system

We spend all day managing our boss and evaluating their needs, but do we effectively manage up? If not, we could really miss out on some fantastic benefits…. To start managing up we have to come to terms with the fact that our manager has limitations. We are in the perfect position as assistants to understand what those limitations are.

Know your manager’s limitations

We work very closely with our manager and should already be helping them with the work that takes most of their time. For example, we will know if a big problem for them is their organisational skills, or that they are not good at delegating.

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We will more than likely have first hand knowledge of this and already be aiding them with their needs so managing up for us has to be more than just helping with their limitations. If we take that job on, we have access to important documents that we should read to gain a greater understanding of what is happening in the business. Again, if you ever manage staff this training will come in handy. You are increasing your skills while managing your bosses limitations.

As an assistant we are in a fortunate position in that quite often we get to tell our boss what to do.