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PRODUCTIVITY

6 Ways a Good Assistant Can Change Your Life

My executive assistant has become key to my productivity. With someone to attend to administrative details, I can focus on building my business.
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"My job is to worry so you never have to," my amazing executive assistant Meg Riedinger told me recently.

I don't like the word assistant, because for some, the term conjures up someone junior, someone less able, someone on a lower level. The truth is that my executive assistant is truly my right-hand person and someone it's difficult to imagine not having around.


Meg, known as my "time Nazi" to some of my friends, knows me as well as anyone on the planet who's not married to me. She co-hosts a radio show with me. My previous EA, Theresa Braun, co-authored a book with me. Other assistants have gone on to become vice president of sales and product manager at our companies. The bottom line is that a good assistant is an administrator, a friend, and a leader--and for an entrepreneur of a fast-growth company, an essential resource.

Here are six ways a good executive assistant can change your life:

1. Never worry about scheduling again.

Scheduling is the worst time waster on the planet. You can go back and forth for what seems like forever trying to organize a simple 30-minute meeting. A good assistant can handle all scheduling requests for you, both inbound and outbound, so you can focus on more vital issues. A good EA also knows how much time you have and how important any potential meeting is and can juggle changing calendars daily.

2. Never worry about lunch again.

It might seem silly to some people, but before I had an assistant, I had to plan where I was going to eat lunch and whether I had to bring lunch. I had several days where I didn't eat a thing all day because I was so busy! Now, I never have to worry, as Meg knows all of preferences and where I have open times each day, and my lunch is always taken care of. It's actually improved my overall health.

3. Never worry about meeting preparation again

A huge part of any key business meeting is preparing. A good EA researches everyone who will be at every meeting, helps prepare and send out an agenda, and even helps with presentations. This way, you can focus on getting the big meetings. With an assistant fully preparing you, you' ll be more likely to shine in those big meetings, leading to sales, partnerships, and investments.

4. Have someone anticipate your needs before you even have them.

It's amazing to me how many times I've thought and said things like, "Wait, what about printing the boarding pass?" only to hear "It's in your bag, already, Dave," or "I need to send an email to her" only to hear, "It's in your Drafts." A good assistant knows what you'll need ahead of time, sometimes before you even realize it.

5. Stay focused on your priorities on a daily, hourly, and minute-by-minute basis.

Time is the most important asset you have as an entrepreneur and leader, and staying focused on what matters most is essential. A good assistant helps you with the all-important task of prioritizing what to work on and whom to meet with on a daily, hourly, and even minute-by-minute basis. Literally, as I write this, Meg is ushering me out the door for an important meeting with an investor.

6. Have unconditional support from someone at work.

I'm blessed to have unconditional love and support from my wife and children at home, but, boy, is it great to have unconditional support from someone at work. I know that any time I'm having a bad day or meeting, my EA will be there to brighten my day, cheer me on, remind me of perspective, and help me move forward. This alone is priceless.

These six things have definitely changed my businesses and life for the better. Whether it's a virtual assistant or, ideally, an in-person executive assistant, every entrepreneur should strongly consider this employee as a go-to resource.

Last updated: Feb 5, 2014

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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