Imagine that I have fulltime amazing assistants. What am I doing with those capabilities?
Two days a week, I’m focused on talking to people. I’m booked efficiently; tea, lunch, tea, second tea. Some of these meetings involve walks instead of food. The meetings cluster in various locations in order to minimize travel time. I might have one day for face-to-face meetings and one day for virtual meetings.
After each meeting, I have at least half an hour to define next actions and get the ball rolling. It’s easy to prioritize based on time and importance. We get the first actions out right away, impressing people, and then we follow up with depth. My assistant fills in the time with other tasks from the next actions list. I have at least 20 hours of work for people, so it’s easy for them to focus.
Types of things I delegate:
- Scheduling – I forward them emails and get back neatly formatted calendar entries
- Email response handling – they read my mail, prioritize, send me action items, and work on tasks.
- Web research – I send them questions and get back summaries of the top ten resources I should read. I suggest search queries, and they add their own.
- Illustration – I have backup illustrators who can sketchnote things that I can’t get to, or who can share different styles and metaphors.
- Development – When I have an idea about Rails or WordPress, I can work with someone to make it happen.
- Web design – themes, tweaks, beautifully HTMLized pages…
- Copywriting and copyediting – I send things over and get polished, engaging content
- Calls – Assistants can take care of calling businesses when they’re open and following up if needed, such as when setting appointments or making reservations.
- Layout – I share a Dropbox folder with a bunch of graphics or documents. The assistant lays things out so that they’re well-balanced in terms of whitespace and size.
- Transcription – I save webinars and interviews (or set people up to record) into a Dropbox shared folder, and I send an email. I get a well-formatted blog post or document with the cleaned-up transcript.
- Outlining and writing – someone helps me brainstorm blog post topics and outlines, fleshing them out with research, and organizing the topics into books
- Video – editing, synchronizing sound, adding transitions, etc.
I have this lovely web-based process manual and a visual overview of tasks. I also have recurring tasks for projects and initiatives I care about. Things just work smoothly. I get confirmations, so I know things are being worked on. If people are busy, I can send the task to someone else.
I regularly appreciate the work that people do. I know what their career goals are, and I shape the tasks to fit them. I’m always collecting people for my pipeline. Hiring is not stressful – I have good onboarding and offboarding processes. I hire shortly before I really need to, so that I can ramp up people.