How to Hire a Personal Assistant

How to Hire a Personal Assistant

Does the term Personal Assistant feel fancy-pants and out of reach? Do you think that having a House Manager is overkill to help you work in your line of genius?

If you said yes to either, I’m writing to help you realize not only can you wear department-store or athletic pants to hire assistance, but the investment can be a higher return when it comes to your health, happiness, business, and relationships. I often coach business owners on all things virtual assistant –how to hire, interview, onboard, and delegate. Sometimes that’s a struggle for people to admit they need one or to give up the tasks that they think only they can do. Personal Assistants or House Managers are an even harder sell, but having one can be life-changing.

What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and House Manager?

Maybe nothing, depending on what they like to be called. I used to call mine my a personal assistant until she introduced me to the term house manager and it fits her much better, based on what she does for us. The job descriptions are gray, but here is what you might expect from either. note what mine does for me.

Personal Assistant

  • Runs errands – dry cleaning, shipping, grocery, etc.
  • Light housework
  • Light meal prep
  • Makes calls or sends emails
  • Schedules appointments
  • Some pet duties

Attends events where you need someone to manage logistics, i.e., when I’m speaking, I would likesomeone to set up the tech, make sure I have what I need, tear everything down, take photos, etc. This allows me to engage with the attendees before and after.

House Manager

  • Maintains schedule of when things need to be done, i.e., descaling the coffeemaker, cleaning the fridge, steaming floors, and caulking sinks and tubs.
  • Laundry – she folds like the Gap and now I don’t even bother trying.
  • Housecleaning – She cleans what needs it since not all rooms need to be tended to every week.
  • Tailors clothes – mine notices a hole and takes it home and sews it without me asking (yes, I know, she is fantastic).
  • Runs errands
  • Some pet duties
  • Meal prep – mine chops and preps my produce box that gets delivered on Wednesdays.
  • Manages other assistants, i.e., lawn care, housecleaning service (if you have a bigger house you may need a service as well).
  • Meal creation
  • Is the Doer of Things – mine just sees what needs to be done and does it. She has bought us razer holders for the shower and straws to fit in my tall water bottles.

This is not a joke. Some people really do these things and love it. Mine does this full time and works for several people. She takes great pride in how she helps people and how it allows me to be able to spend more time with clients. It took me several months to admit I hired herbut two years later and I can’t imagine my life without her. At first, I had to justify it by saying it gave me more time to work on my business, but now, I don’t feel I need justification. It’s too beneficial in other ways.

I get 4-5 hours more a week to build my business.

She’s better than me at all of the tasks she does.

It’s cheaper than marriage counseling since my husband and I have different standards and timelines for what needs to be done, when, and to what level of perfection.

How do I find these angels, gnomes, or fairies? Do they really exist?

Depending on where you live, it may be as simple as asking Sir Google for Personal Assistant companies in your area. I have had great luck with my clients through Care.com. It’s mostly known as a nanny and babysitting website, but you can also hire PAs and HMs through here. Create a profile and set up your job description based on what you want and need, not what you think fits into a perfect box. Get creative. What do you not like doing, never make time for or aren’t good at? Do you have a housecleaning service but they don’t do laundry? Do you have visions of cooking at night but don’t want to spend the time washing and chopping? Do you despise errand running like I do (my husband does this in our household) and want someone to be on hand to make trips?

Write down your specifics and give them a heads up on how big your house is, how many errands you need per week, if you have pets, if you work from home, etc. They need to know what they are getting themselves into. You will start getting several inquiries, so the more specific, the better. After you have performed interviews, do a reference check from at least 2-3 people and use the upgraded service in Care.com to do the background checks too.

Pick one or two applicants and test them out for 30 days. They can’t read your mind so be patient with them learning how you want things done.

  • What can this free you up to do?
  • Spend more time generating income.
  • Enjoy a night out by yourself or a partner.
  • Eat healthier by avoiding the fast food run.

Intrigued? What three things would you delegate right now to a Personal Assistant or House Manager and what’s keeping you from hiring one?

Shrink Your Inbox with the OHIO Method

Shrink Your Inbox with the OHIO Method

Did you know every time you reread that email, you’re wasting willpower on a microdecision? 

Stop wasting your time and OHIO. Only Handle It Once.

We don’t wake up every morning with a neverending bucket of willpower. Instead, willpower gets depleted throughout the day based on our food intake (type, kind, when), how much sleep we’ve had, how much we’ve moved, and how many decisions we’ve made. Yep. The number of decisions we’ve made, big or small, can deplete our willpower bucket.  I had a client tell me that after a two-hour inbox session she was exhausted as if she’d had a hard workout. I was making her look at her behaviors of email processing and DO something with the emails that were in her inbox.

I think of the inbox as a flower garden (stick with me here). Your essential emails are the flowers from your clients, prospects, supervisor, etc. The weeds are the newsletters, junk mail, and already-read emails choking your flowers.

You can’t see the flowers through the weeds.

How many times have you read an email just to get that unread number down to zero, to get that bold font to go away or the badge to disappear on your phone? You just wasted a micro-decision on opening an email, reading it and not doing anything with it.

Instead, OHIO your email.

Only Handle It Once.

If you can tell by the subject line that you won’t be able to do anything with that email right then, don’t even open it, no matter how tempting it is. Don’t waste the decision. If you aren’t able to make a thoughtful response or it’s a task that you need to do later, save it for when you are ready or open it up to assign a task date.

Already opened it thinking you will have time? Your options are to Delete, Delegate, Reply (if less than two minutes), Archive (read and file) or Task. Do you see where there is no option called Come Back Later?

Sorry Michigan fans, but OHIO is the way to go with your email. Same with your physical mail. Why open it if you know you can’t address it yet? If you pay your bills on Saturday, why open the letter on Tuesday from Time Warner Cable. Put it aside until you’re ready.

Only Handle It Once. Shrink your inbox and save your energy for more important decisions throughout the day.

Email Extinguisher Case Study

Email Extinguisher Case Study

Virtual Training Success Story

When a team decides to invest in themselves, they shrink their inbox with an Email Extinguisher course and work in their line of genius.

The Situation

A team of nineteen people from an international non-profit wanted to learn how to communicate in a more meaningful and productive way while focusing on the tasks that moved the needle. They decided to invest in a 45-minute Email Extinguisher virtual training session with Marcey Rader. Marcey had performed two lunch and learn sessions on Email Extinguisher at the company, and they were intrigued by how this could help their team.

The team was located in California and had a few remote workers, so virtual training was ideal.

Marcey sent out a Productivity Scorecard to see where the team struggled with their email and the most significant pain points. She performed a 45-minute remote session and asked each person to make one commitment to change within the next thirty days. She then resent the Productivity Scorecards at days 30, 90, and 180 from the time of the training.

The Opportunity

Marcey focused on email reactivity, treating email like a task, streamlined communication, and settings that optimize workflow. The email check-ins gave Marcey insight into what they were struggling with, and her personal feedback helped them along the way.

The Results

The results of the scorecard speak for itself. Before the webinar, 47% of people suffered from email reactivity and telepressure most of the time. In 180 days, that number was zero! Initially, 57% processed email as a task rather than reacted. In 180 days, over 90% of the team used this method. Initially, no one had a system for RSS feeds or newsletters, and in six months, 45% had a system. Lastly, 47% of people were able to entirely unplug on a day off. In six months, that number was up to 86%. Studies have shown that employees who are able to fully disengage come back to work more productive and energized.

All of this came from one 45-minute virtual training. Seventy-three percent of the team agreed that they experienced a difference in team communication after taking the course.

Thank you for the training. I must say it’s given me pause about how much I’ve given over control of my work life to be in responsive mode.
– A.M, Senior Research Epidemiologist

I’ve been doing pretty well with Only Handling It Once. It is making a difference and helping me focus my work based on priorities and not based on my inbox.
– S.R, Research Epidemiologist

Investing in Email Extinguisher: Simple Steps to Shrink the Inbox virtual training has proven to be a worthwhile investment for this team. To see the full scorecard results, click here – Productivity Scorecard Summaries.

Would your team like to shrink their inbox and start working in their line of genius? Contact me to find out how!

Ways to Manage your Time Wisely

Ways to Manage your Time Wisely

This infographic about ways to manage your time wisely is speaking my mind. I plan out my top tasks the night before, but always start my day with a meditation and the 5-min journal app. I use Focusboosterapp.com to track my time because most people underestimate how long it will take them to complete a task and I am one of them.

My Work Well. Play More! door hanger is the sign to my husband that I'm in deep focus mode. He's respectful and knows not to interrupt me. I time box my social media and batch my tasks. Mondays I work on my presentations and upcoming speaking gigs, Tuesdays are for website edits, Wednesdays are social media, etc. Read on for more great tips!

Is it work-life balance or lagom?

Is it work-life balance or lagom?

Recently I came across a great word in the Swedish language – Lagom.

Lagom means just the right amount, enough, in moderation or in balance.

I don't use the words work-life balance because I think work and play are more like a teeter-totter or see-saw. Some days you are going to be tipped in one direction over the other, with a longer, more stressful work day, and others you might have more fun and play. The problem is when that teeter-totter is tipped too far and too long in one direction. The weight on one end (typically the working end) is so heavy, the play end is always up high, or you are tottering with uneven speed.

When people love their job and feel like some of what they do is play, it might feel balanced. However, we all need to step away to recharge our batteries. To find the lagom in our life.

Where can we start to live lagom?

  1. Food! If lagom means just right, what about stopping before you are full? I used to eat until I felt uncomfortable, but now I do it so rarely, that I feel miserable and I won't let myself eat that much.
  2. Possessions. If lagom means enough or sufficient, can we ask ourselves if yet another thing in our Amazon cart is worth it? Will it make us happier today and a month from now or even a year from now?
  3. Meetings. If lagom means the right amount is best, how about making sure that you are scheduling time for your own genius deep work time. Look at your monthly schedule today and try to remove yourself from 2-3 meetings that no longer give you value (if they are recurring) or that you don't need to attend.

Lagom is an adverb or adjective. However, I am going to start using it as a verb. I am going to lagom my schedule, lagom my Amazon and lagom my podcasts because I am getting too many in my queue.

What can you Lagom?

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