At some point, Executive Assistants might have considered writing "Tetris Master" as their profession in your LinkedIn profile.
Let's face it: As an Executive Assistant, sometimes calendar management can feel like a nightmare. Oh yes, we have all been there! But the truth is that there are keys to unlocking the power of a strategic calendar. Once I found them, I never looked back, and I can’t wait to share some of them with you.
Calendar management can be tough.
There are endless variables that go into successful calendar management. It's a bit like the movie Inception; you have to go deep to find the root of the problem — all while trying to match business objectives with the calendar. You are constantly slotting your days to fit in the most critical meetings and tasks — only to have them change on a dime when your executive throws you a curve ball.
"Help is on the way, dear!"
We want you to be a champion for your executive team, starting with calendar management. We train executive assistants worldwide to stop the calendar chaos and build an intentional structure. A structure that limits the number of calendar fires and helps you plan your executive's time with purpose and intention.
Here are 4 actions you can take TODAY to make you an expert strategic scheduler.
Be Proactive and Get the Calendar Data
Data matters when you start becoming intentional with your executive's calendar. You cannot quantify your work or clearly understand how they spend their time until you focus on getting the calendar data and start analyzing it. This is an incredibly powerful asset that you can use to make better decisions and become more efficient with your executive's time.
What trends and patterns do you see in your executive's calendar?
What do you need to rearrange or align?
How do these trends and patterns affect how you manage their time, projects, and deliverables?
How do you ensure tasks, projects, and meetings have a clear goal and definition so that it isn't open-ended?
Understand Your Executive's Top Priorities
Do you know what are the top priorities for your executive this year? If not, it is hard to align their calendar with their goals and priorities. How can you use their calendar efficiently if you don't know their top priorities? How can you allocate your time and resources wisely if you don't know what the most important things are for them?
Understand their top priorities for the year.
Do they have time in the calendar to accomplish their goals and priorities?
If not, what can you rearrange to make it happen?
Schedule Meetings Strategically
It is critical that you understand meeting lifecycles for the meetings that your executive is involved with. Trust me when I say that it will make your life much easier as you implement strategic calendar planning. Your goal is to ensure that your executive's meetings are productive and that they focus on what's business critical.
7 Things You Need Before You Schedule Any Meeting.
Meeting Type: Brainstorming, Decision, Project Update, 1:1, etc.
Meeting Purpose: 1-2 sentences about why the meeting is being held. 💡And no, it can't be the name of the meeting.
Expected Outcome | Next Steps: What is the desired outcome or what needs to happen after this meeting?
Agenda: If the meeting is over 30 minutes, I require a detailed agenda.
Pre-read: Is there a pre-read to the meeting?
Facilitator: Who is facilitating the meeting? You need to know who to go to for meeting minutes, action items for your exec, etc.
Expectations for my EBP: What is their role in the meeting? Do they need to come ready to make a decision? Is there any prep or simply a project update?
Creating a strategic calendar will help keep your executive's priorities front and center. Strategic calendar planning is a powerful tool for you to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Don't forget that you are the secret sauce to this whole process. Your empathy and emotional intelligence will help you create a thoughtful and intentional calendar that will keep productivity humming. Be proud of your expertise, and know that what you do is critical to organizational success.
Want to Learn More?
Do you want to elevate your calendar management to the next level? Just imagine you could gain more respect, reduce calendar fires, and become a trusted advisor with just one project. Oh yes, you can!
I've helped Executive Assistants worldwide learn how to create a strategic calendar that changes how they work. Some of my clients include The New York Times, Dell, Microsoft, Google, Adobe, PGA, and more.
If you want to stop the calendar chaos and finally take control of the calendar, then click here to learn more about our upcoming live workshop!