If you want to grow and scale your business, you must focus on tasks that bring the most value and growth to your bottom line. Unfortunately, there’s one thing that you do every single day that takes up 28 percent of your workday–that’s 2.6 hours a day.
We are talking about email. But, thankfully, that’s 2.6 hours of your day that you can easily get back with a little bit of delegation.
Personally, I don’t check my email that often. I don’t scramble to read every time I get an inbox notification. I don’t weed through hundreds of emails every day looking for that presentation that a team member sent over or spend time organizing my emails into carefully coded folders. Instead, I spend maybe 10 minutes a day in my inbox and the rest of the time my assistant handles everything else.
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Your assistant is going to see everything, and as such, it’s imperative that you have someone you can trust. You both should understand the confidential nature of the position and the responsibilities within. You need someone who is mature enough to handle everything that comes their way and not be privy to office gossip.
They won’t be able to answer every email, but over time they will be able to handle a good portion of what comes into your email box. They’ll be able to delegate another portion and leave you with a very small number of emails each day that need to be addressed. Over time, you should see the number of emails you have to answer a day decreasing as your assistant gets more comfortable answering your emails for you.
With you and your assistant both in your email box, it’s imperative that you develop a system to communicate with each other. I like to do this through either a color-coded system or a series of subfolders. You could set up a folder titled “handled” and every time your assistant answers an email they file it away in the handled folder. You can then review the folder as time permits to check in and see what your assistant has been working on.
This will be especially important during the training phase, because if you see something that you would prefer to handle yourself you can flag it for a discussion. Over time, your assistant will start to learn your preferences and you will find yourself flagging items less and less as you get comfortable working together.
Any emails that are left in your inbox for review could be color-coded in terms of importance. Red, for example, could be items that need to be addressed as soon as possible, blue those that need to be addressed this week, and green the ones that are “FYI” only.
The last tip I have to working with an assistant in your inbox has to do with personal emails. If your spouse or family members have a tendency to shoot you emails throughout the day, or your child’s school sends out daily updates about the latest fundraising efforts, you should set up a personal inbox for items that you don’t want your assistant having access to. You can check that box as needed, and rest assured that your personal emails are kept private.
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