PA your Day
PAs are known for their efficiency, they keep the office and their Boss working effectively throughout the day. How do they do it? One of the key items used to do this is a Diary. Whether paper or electronic, diaries have to be managed to provide super efficiency. Use a diary effectively and you will be well on track to PA your day and your business will benefit.
Schedule your day, the day before.
Before you leave the office or your desk at night, schedule your next day activities. Remember to block out enough free time to eat and take a break.
Block out regular meetings in advance.
If you have a regular meeting each week or month or family commitment, write in all of these dates in one sitting. This way you will never forget and you won’t double book yourself. You might like to colour code these regular meetings.
Have a back-up of your diary.
If you use a paper diary, consider photocopying it occasionally ~ better still, start using your Outlook or Google Diary, they’re free and simple to use. If you use an electronic diary already, synchronise this and back it up weekly. This will prevent any embarrassing situations if you misplace or lost the data from your diary.
Allow time to travel time to and from meetings.
Make sure you allow sufficient time to get to and from your meetings. Use this travel time wisely. You should also consider if you really need to travel to a meeting – why not try a teleconference instead? And if you’re travelling by train use the time to catch up on emails or make phone calls.
Block out time to perform follow up activities from each meeting.
This will allow you time to action minutes, follow up on projects and create the communications required as a result of the meeting. By disciplining yourself to do it after each meeting you will not forget items and the information will be fresh in your mind.
Book times to complete regular tasks i.e. weekly reports, project updates and monthly newsletters.
Don’t leave these until the last minute to cause you frustration and don’t procrastinate. Book the time to do these tasks and stick to it. You’ll soon become accustomed to thinking that if it’s in your diary, it has to be actioned not ignored.
Remember to put holidays in your diary, well in advance of when you want to take them.
This will allow you sufficient time to plan for your holiday and up skill someone else to do your role while you are away, or you’ll know at a glance when you can’t meet with a prospective client. If working for someone It will also give you time to process your leave application. How many of us have forgotten, and then at the last minute found we cannot have the annual leave date we wanted. Advise those around you when you’ll be away-give them plenty of notice.
Protect your time.
If you have a paper or electronic diary that is accessible to others in the office, always ensure you have allocated yourself time to work on tasks or projects by blocking out this time. Only give diary access to those that are in a position to need to book time with you. Provide guidelines to those around you of meeting bookings you will accept to prevent them wasting your time.
If you have a Personal Assistant, explain which appointment can be made without your approval and agree which appointments must be referred to you before approval to book.
This groundwork will ensure your diary is maintained and you are only seeing people that have a direct impact on your results. This is effective diary management and allows others to PA your Day.
Use a sticker or colour coding system for bookings and confirmations.
If you are in a position where you are paid for your time i.e. speakers, consultants or trainers, use one colour sticker to hold a date and then another colour once the booking is confirmed.
Don’t delete an entry.
If a meetings been cancelled or an appointment rearranged then block it out in a set colour code and note it as cancelled or rearranged. A meeting cancelled in a diary will still be in your head and it will save confusion when thinking that you should be somewhere, if you have a visible reminder.
Prioritise your daily tasks.
Set aside 10 minutes each morning to go through your tasks and “to do” lists to decide what will be accomplished today. Group into A – highest priority, important; B – next priority and needs to be done; C – not urgent, not important and possibly doesn’t need to be completed.
Allocate time twice a day to check your emails and respond.
This will allow you to be more disciplined and avoid wasting time reading an email each time it hits your screen. You really do have to discipline yourself to do this, as sometimes the ‘ping’ of mail received is just too tempting, so turn the sound off.
I may not be supporting a Boss any more but by using these diary management tips within my business I am able to work efficiently and take care of the small businesses I now support. It really is easy to PA your Day.