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"I need a meeting with your Executive." You cringe internally as you know they will need that meeting tomorrow and there is no room AT ALL. How do you manage your Executive’s Calendar???
As an EA, doesn’t it feel like sometimes the only thing you do is toggle back and forth between email and calendar? And everyone is a priority and needs an appointment yesterday? Oh yeah, there is a board meeting that must happen at the same time, a top client has a meeting scheduled.
A request I have sometimes received is to do a time audit. Whether it is to see how much time is spent in a particular department, how many sales calls there have been in the last year, etc. One of the things I like to do, when I first start working with an executive, or at least before this is requested (you know, when you have downtime!), is to start pulling a report of the meetings for any period. This can often be done through your provider if any type of software is being used to schedule like Calendly or Acuity. I will use this to get a baseline, start categorizing the time spent, and for meetings going forward I will add them to the appropriate buckets.
One of the most challenging requests is also the most common: scheduling meetings. There are times when I will be trying to schedule 5 to 7 meetings at a time. With each executive, I make a list of what people and organizations are non-negotiables; if they need time, everything gets cleared. I will also build in times when they do not accept meetings as well, such as late in the week or first thing in the morning. Finally, I prioritize the other meetings without overloading the schedule. I like to add tentative holds to the calendar, so I do not give away a time that I've promised to someone else.
The organizational tools for executive assistants that have helped me the most is Cabinet. I can easily connect my executive’s (or several) calendars, find availability, and email it to the other person. No more trying to keep track of correspondence back and forth to match up times. And it takes out the hassle of keeping track of time zones too because nothing is worse than figuring out a time zone or using one of my most disliked phrases “what time zone are you in?”. Cabinet also, keeps me from having to type, over and over again, the time and date of availability into each email.
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