A common frustration among Executive Assistants is that there just isn’t enough time to accomplish everything they need to do in a day.
Indulge me for a moment while I challenge your thinking about this.
You see, the admins who have this figured out are the ones who are winning at the time game.
The reason why you are feeling such a conflict over this is simple. There are exactly 24 hours in a day – typically 8 of them are spent working at your job. 8 hours is a definite amount of time. Those hours are finite.
The amount of work you have to accomplish is infinite, right? There will always be more work. Always. There is no end to the work unless you quit, you die, or you are fired.
You see the conflict here right? You are trying to fit an infinite amount of work into 8 hours. It can’t be done.
Your fretting and worrying about it only makes it worse. You think, “I’ll never get all this work done. It’s too much. My plate is too full already. There’s not enough time.” Do you really believe that you can accomplish more in your 8 hours by thinking these thoughts? I’ve reference this BOLD Law before – What You Focus On Expands.
What could you focus on that would allow you to accomplish more in your day?
Really, truly stop and do this exercise. Write down the question above and write out your response by hand.
Because I’m going to let you in on a little secret…all the answers you seek are within you! That’s so exciting!
Think about this: what do you control? There’s only one right answer: Y-O-U
Everything else is out of your control. You can’t make the lender get back to you about whether the house met value or not. You can’t make the agents on the team report their numbers. You can’t make your rainmaker fill out your home information sheet. The only thing you have control over is yourself. Your thoughts, your feelings, your actions, and your results.
When you focus on thinking there’s not enough time in the day, you’re going to get a shortage of time in your day.
When you focus on thinking there’s more than enough time to get all the critical things done today, you’re going to get an abundance of time in your day.
Make a list of all the critical activities that absolutely must get done today without fail. And by critical, I mean, if it doesn’t get done today it’s going to hold up a process that has a deadline. (Which, by the way, every single thing you work on should have a deadline. Our listing and closing contracts have a start date and an end date. The contracts you make with yourself and with your rainmaker should have a start date and an end date. Otherwise, what’s the point?)
Once you have that list of critical activities, set about putting them into your calendar. This is time blocking. We make time for the critical activities. You know how to tell the difference between a critical activity and a non-critical activity? It’s on your calendar. Only critical activities belong on your calendar.
Let’s say you actually believe me and you have your day planned based on critical activities. Then, your rainmaker gets a “come list me” call and makes an appointment for 2:00 PM today and now you have to prepare a listing contract for him. What are your options?
- You could say no. Some of you will think this is not an option, and I will say you are wrong. Saying no is always an option. It’s the consequences to saying no that have you freaked out. Every hear the saying, “Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”? Is it possible that your rainmaker could take blank documents to the listing appointment and have you fill in the details later? Absolutely.
- You could say yes. Which means something else gets bumped to another day. You don’t get to the cheat the system by staying staying late today. Remember there are 24 hours in a day. The rest of your hours are booked with other critical activities such as sleep, time with family, eating, cleaning, watching TV, etc. You’ve promised your rainmaker 8 hours today and that’s exactly what you are going to deliver. So you bump something to another day. Was the something you bumped critical to accomplish today? No. How do I know this? Because you bumped it.
- You could delegate it. Give it to someone else to put together. Don’t have anyone to delegate to? Now is the time to consider hiring additional help. Could be a part-time virtual assistant from the Philippines. Could be a full-time transaction coordinator. Could be a marketing specialist. Doesn’t matter; it’s someone else to take on the critical activities that need to get done today.
What are you thoughts, concerns or worries about this? Is this something you can do? How do you feel about your options when presented with an unplanned request? Let’s have a conversation in the comments. You start.