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Rules to Better PA (aka Personal Assistant)

Rules to Better PA (aka Personal Assistant)
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  1. Do you ask your boss whether he has any time-critical tasks?

    Often a day can go by quickly and important jobs won't get done. Every night at about 5pm you should call your boss and say "Are there any time critical tasks or emails you need me to do before I go home?"

    P.S. The longer after 5pm you leave this call, the likelier it is that you'll be staying late!

  2. Do you make sure your boss is aware of his appointments for the following day?

    Every night at about 5pm you should call your boss and say "I've just checked your calendar for tomorrow. Can you tell me important appointments you have?"

    It is better to ask you boss what they have on tomorrow rather than tell them because making your boss think for themself means he or she is more likely to remember any appointments.

  3. Do you remind your boss of daily events on a "just in time" basis?

    Look at your boss's calendar, if you see a meeting at, say, 3pm, call him at, say, 12 noon and say something like "Do you have anything going on this afternoon?"

    If he knows he has a meeting at 3pm say "How many hours away is that?", "How long will it take you to get there?"

  4. Do you encourage your boss to put new appointments directly into his phone?

    Bosses are busy and forget. Just like you encourage a developer to book their own appointment Do you know to make sure that you book the next appointment before you leave the client? a boss should be the same.

    When your boss takes a call from someone wanting to book an appointment there are two options to offer the caller:

    1. create a 'Outlook Calendar Appointment', or
    2. call his PA and have him/her double check that they are free, and then create an Outlook Calendar Appointment

    It used to be that if the appointment was for the same day, your boss would have to take option 2 to keep the PA informed but now with mobile devices you should generally use option 1.

  5. Do you enter your bosses Timesheets daily?

    Every night at about 5 you should call your boss and say "I am doing your time sheets. Tell me what you did today." You should follow Rules to Better Timesheets when drawing up the times.

  6. Do you indicate when you are sending an email on behalf of someone else?

    You shouldn't have to send emails on behalf of other people because people now have email on their phones. However, on the rare occasions that you do have to send an email on behalf of someone else (eg. your boss), ensure that you BCC the person you are sending it on behalf of and add [ ] in the subject field (at the end) so that such emails can be identified.

    Sending Emails on behalf of someone else
    Figure: Make it easy to identify when you are sending emails on behalf of someone else
  7. Do you know the best way of booking flights?

  8. Do you try to be one step ahead... doing tasks before they come up?

    It is never easy to be a mind reader.

    Try to help your boss by saving time by removing minor details or distractions before they arise. This means you will sometimes need to perform tasks such as rescheduling their appointment, researching a product they are looking to purchase (to help them make a faster decision) or chasing up repairs on their behalf.