These notes based on a document I got from Chad Johnson, my favorite executive coach at Strategic Coach.
Executive Assistant Role
#1 objective: Protect your entrepreneur
Eliminate, destroy, and make disappear the vast majority of email (think 80% plus) that is sucking the time, life, and soul out of your entrepreneur.
You are the life-giving, time-saving, soul-enricher by doing this great deed!
Note from Jamie: I try to keep Nick’s email with as little as 1-5 emails in it at a time. As I go through emails, I move them from his inbox to my own so they become my priorities and not his. This allows him to feel less overwhelmed by the amount of email he receives and spend way less time in his email box combing through them.
#2 objective: Vital few
Your second objective in email management is ensure the vital few (20% or less, usually far less) are identified, quickly communicated, directed, solutions provided for, with nothing slipping through the cracks.
Every other week, ask if you can unsubscribe from lists and newsletters.
Note from Jamie: By going through his email several times per day, I can identify the emails that are important and need more urgent responses so we can quickly communicate with everyone.
Regular Daily Duties
- Read and filter all email
- Check emails from the day before and archive or get out of the In Box as many as you can
- Keep inbox lean and clean
- Filter for “spam” messages
- Help the CEO quickly reply to messages, giving a personalized response and copying yourself to help with follow-up and hand-holding to give a special touch and making the contacts feel important and like VIPs
Note from Jamie: I do this several times per day!
Daily Email Digests: 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Create a “Summary Highlights” email for your entrepreneur.
Summary Highlight Email: Summarize and Highlight the most important emails in red or use the highlighter so it immediately gets the attention of your entrepreneur. Put these items on top.
List any urgent comments/questions from the day and remind your entrepreneur of important appointments for the current and/or next day.
If you have added any new appointments to the calendar, remind entrepreneur on this email and let them know they are on their calendar.
Note from Jamie: I create the digest once or twice a day and add only the items I cannot take care of myself or need his direct replies or attention. This way he can focus on the ones that are the most important.
Nick’s note: this is my own preference!
I really like it when I can respond quickly to people. I believe it shows them that I am responsive and responsible. I can use your help to reply on my behalf, and copy yourself for follow-up, when it is for things that you know you can handle.
Use my email signature whenever possible while replying on my behalf. Here’s the one I’m using now:
Always use your email signature on your messages from your account.
Be a solution finder: Anything that does not specifically need your entrepreneur’s direct attention or response can probably be forwarded to the right team member or responded to with answers/solutions. Instead of a direct forward, though, you can reply on my behalf and CC: yourself and/or others on my team.
Note from Jamie: While this has required some time to get to know the ins and outs of how Nick likes things to be handled, it has become easier and now I can quickly respond to many emails in his inbox without even needing his input!
- Goal: Be in your inbox no more than twice a day.
- For no longer than 10-20 minutes each time.
- At 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Read ONE “Summary Highlight” Email
- Which should take no more than a few minutes to read, and
- Respond, dictate replies, give directions or make decisions.
- Focus on growing your business, being proactive, NOT reactive.