Calendar management is a skill. A highly delegatable (yea, idk if that's a word), super valuable, time saver, life saver, I love my Virtual Assistant for life, skill. For it to work - to get calendaring off of your plate - take into consideration the below #ProTips and never miss another meeting (or miss all the meetings you want because your brilliant assistant just cleared your day).
The following will get you started or help you master (calendar) delegating. You will save HOURS per week of emailing back and forth. You will never have to configure a beautiful calendar marker again. You will never get backed into a corner with one of those funky automated schedulers. You will win.
1. Set parameters. Call it what you will - your manifesto, your keys to your secret garden, your rule book - they are guidelines your VA will follow. Make sure these things are communicated before you even begin -
- What time do you start your day? What time do you end it?
- Do you like meetings back to back? If not, how much space in between meetings do you prefer?
- What is the standard length for a meeting at the office, coffee, lunch, or phone chat?
- What's the least amount of notice you need when your VA schedules a meeting, lunch, call, or coffee? How do you want to be notified if it's super last minute?
- Are there any days you'd like to keep free of appointments?
- Where do you like your lunch meetings, coffee?
- Is there such thing as a priority scenario that can break all of these rules?
- Do you have a preference on how your calendar marker should look?
- How do you want to be reminded that an event is coming up (this determines reminders set on the calendar event)?
- Do you want the invite to come directly from your calendar (in this case VA needs full rights to your cal)? OR do you want the VA to send the invite to all parties from their calendar directly adding themselves as an optional party?
- Are there any check-in instructions for the office? Is there a Point of Contact for the space (phone no.)?
- Oh, and don't forget to give your assistant calendar access!
2. Be Consistent. VAs are masters of consistent behaviors. If they notice a red flag on the schedule - i.e. you said Thursdays you're working remotely, but you scheduled an in person on Thursday. - they will ask you about it.
3. If you can help it, and you're not doing a lot of last minute switching, don't do any of your scheduling. It will just be easier this way. Not to mention, this gets you started practicing core trust and out of sight, out of mind mentality.
4. A good VA will take responsibility if something gets messed up - sometimes they'll do it just to make you look good, but never call out your VA without them offering to take the fall :) Technology can be a bitch, and we are there to guard you from the worst of it - just don't take advantage of this *secret* tip.
5. Keep up with your personal life on your calendar (or vise versa work life). If you're not sharing your personal calendar, your work calendar and every other calendar you own, then please ensure your one calendar is completely up to date. We don't ever want to schedule over your daughter's school play, but we need to know that the play is something that you're going to.
6. Review your calendar at least the night before. Understand that scheduling things can be last minute. We will alert you when something hits the goog in the middle of the night but always get accustomed to planning your week and your days ahead by a quick review of the calendar. Also, if you add something on your calendar that wasn't there, but is coming up soon - review that day or week and alert your VA of any conflicts.
7. Be open, and allow mistakes to be made (ok for the first couple days :) ) . Nothing with a calendar is life or death. With that said VAs understand the hurt and waste of a messed up calendar invite (or no invite at all) can cause so we try our very very best so that does not happen.
8. Encourage creative freedom and cancel your days once in a while. Your work is SO backed up, or your little one is sick, or maybe you just need a day to BREATH. Ask your VA to clear your day. Ta da. Done. What's the excuse? Who knows, who cares :) Now you have a full day to do what you want - work, play, spa day!
Yes, ultimate trust. Life saving trust that once gained you'll never look back. Just do what your calendar says to do, go where it says to be, and eat what it says to be eating (okay maybe not that far)! This will increase your productivity and help with decision fatigue. #ProTip concluded.