Get Super-Productive By Becoming Your Own Personal Assistant

Doug Aitken

If you had a person in your life who could pay your bills, run your errands, create your to-do lists, make sure you kept your schedule and pretty much handled everything in life that was tedious and taxing wouldn’t that be lovely?!  If you learn from the shorthand notes of Hollywoods top Personal Assistants you will have powerful tools to feng shui your actual daily life!

Ed Ruscha

One of the magical things about high-level Hollywood are the teams of people that support the luminaries of town.  Personal Assistants (PA’s as they are generally called) are often referred to as Gatekeepers, and there is a reason why.  When you are truly functioning at a high level in your work, you suddenly realize that you NEED people to shield you from random inquiries, keep your actual life running properly (from scheduling trainers to picking up dry cleaning, and everything in between) and allow you to have more time to fully focus on what you do best.  In a sense, a PA is a “life-feng-shui”-keeper.

I thought the most efficient way to present this efficiency information would be a bullet-point list.  Lets now get int0 the business of teaching you how to ramp up your productivity by becoming your own personal assistant!

  • Before you get started, really sit down (a friend or co-worker can be helpful here) and determine what you actually need to make run better in your life.  This is the hardest part.  Great assistants can understand issues and anticipate problems pretty quickly. Do you have no time for your passion project? Are you flaking on dates because you are swamped with work? Is your house a disaster area? Dig deep and see what you need to “smooth out.”
  • Sit down and learn how to use a computer calendar.  I know that paper calendars are amazing and luscious, but they also can’t be backed-up and they are unable to send you reminder messages!!! Learn to use your computer calendar well (google a tutorial if you have to!) and be sure you learn to back up your material/synch with your phone.
  • Start using a to-do list but, also, using it with your calendar.  Don’t just say you WILL DO things, plot out WHEN . Yes, I am suggesting that you truly manage your time.  This will be painful and stressful at first if you are used to free-flowing through your day.  If that method works for you and you have a happy, productive life, bravo!  Most people aren’t good in this way.  Review your to-do list early in the am with your favorite beverage of choice, and if its a tough day to focus, try sniffing a few drops of peppermint essential oil (you can put on a tissue or cotton ball and sniff).  NOTE: only use peppermint oil early in the day, as it can cause insomnia.
  • Get stocked with every essential you need to run your home well!  This means: buying several paper towel rolls, dish detergents, stain remover for your shirts, tooth paste tubes, lint roller replacements, packs of gum and everything in between regularly.  By taking the time to go through your home and take stock of what is ESSENTIAL and stocking up, you will never be caught “without”.  If you are strapped for time, you can sign up for  Amazon Prime and for a yearly fee you can auto-ship lots of specialty items for free to avoid trips to the store.  If you have pets, you can auto-ship their food and supplies, too. National Pet Pharmacy is my fave for pets!
  • Confirm your meetings and appointments the morning of the day before.  Give yourself plenty of time to fill that space if someone or something cancels.
  • Schedule weekly time for a major house cleaning, or schedule a house keeper.  Only you know what that time is worth to you, but cleaning deeply and weekly at the least will keep the chi flowing in your home.
  • If you are planning a trip, keep a running itinerary day-by-day of the plans, plugging in all the information as you go.  If you do this, you won’t be as stressed or be as apt to forget things.  Planning any event becomes 100,000,000% easier if you keep a day-by-day complete master itinerary as a Word doc. on your computer.
  • Outsource!  If you can’t get yourself a full-time PA, think about the tasks that are simply overwhelming time-suckers for you like cooking or grocery shopping.  It may be worth the extra fee to have your groceries delivered once or twice a week.  Personal Chefs can prepare an entire week of healthy meals for quite a deal if you shop around for someone that meets your diet needs.  A once-a-week helper can run all your errands for an hourly wage. If you can afford to have some help, invest!
  • And, last but not least, check in with yourself every night.  Send yourself a few emails if you have stray thoughts that come up before bed, or write a note to yourself and plop it on your computer keyboard. If you struggle keeping your day straight, pinpoint why…then make adjustments.  And…make sure you get duly excited when your days goes exceptionally well!
If you are your own best assistant, you will have more free energy. Suddenly those creative projects can be “scheduled” if you are really accountable to a yourself and your calendar. You can live better, running your life instead of having life run you!

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