“Tips For the Efficient Executive Assistant”

Last Revise: 3/29/16

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As a former Executive Assistant for many years, I have mastered the art of what will help you become a valuable asset to any busy executive and want to share them with you. You may find some to be very helpful that you can start using right away to make you more efficient.

These are easy to learn, yet effective techniques that are used by thousands of Executive Assistants.  Together, we will address the specific behaviors that are used to support the highest of senior executives. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an Administrative Assistant and an Executive Assistant?  It’s not a secret.  It’s not what you do, but how.  What qualifies me to write on the subject?  I have been an Executive Assistant for almost 20 years and have decided to share my experiences and add some useful information on communication that I learned while working on my Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.

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Since you are all presumably working as secretaries and administrative assistants already, you should all have the basic skill of typing at least 50+ wpm.  For heaven’s sake, if your typing isn’t at least 50wpm, get on that keyboard and type, type, type.  If you have access to the internet, there are online typing tests that will calculate your words per minute and  you can practice to your heart’s content.  Go to http://www.typingtest.com/ and test yourself.  Today, 8/7/10, I tested at 82 wpm with 3 errors for a total of 79wpm.  You can do it too!!! After a few weeks, you should see a gradual increase in your typing speed and you’ll hardly notice that you’re practicing because you should be having some fun.  And please tell me that you can all TOUCH TYPE (type without looking at your fingers).  This is essential and will significantly add to you typing speed.

Alright.  I know that some of you may be on your well deserved, yet rarely taken lunch hour, on the train or bus or curled up in a nice comfy chair at home.  So without further ado, let’s go straight to what this blog is all about… tips and techniques that I have found to be effective as an Executive Assistant.


To add some interest at staff meetings, sales meetings, etc., some fun ideas are to print the agenda on colored paper and add a decorative, holiday friendly border or insert a picture pertaining to the holiday or meeting agenda item. Whatever the meeting’s main topic is, insert a clip art and a cartoon bubble with something funny but not offensive in the bubble.  For instance, if the meeting is on upcoming deadlines, you could either insert a clip of a funny character like Homer Simpson and in the cartoon bubble, write “Doh!” or you could insert a clip of two hands “high fiving” as if co-workers are saying “Yeah, we rocked it!”  So, those are just examples of how clip art and color can be implemented in a fun way for meetings. Also, when employees see colored paper, it sparks more of a curiosity then simply passing around the same old boring white page with “Agenda” splashed on it at the top.  Also, the clip art will get people laughing and interacting with each other, which sets a good mood for the meeting because everyone enjoys a good chuckle.  Also, employees like to see that the agenda setter has set a new tone for the meeting and this one little thing can make the difference in how employees receive and respond to what is being said about the topic. They should be engaged a bit more when the meeting starts instead of everyone looking at their watches and thinking “OMG, when is this gonna be over, it’s close to lunch?” But remember before implementing a new idea, run it by your boss or supervisor.  Then get creative with it and these meetings can have a new look, new border, new picture and presto! you’ve just contributed to improving employee morale, even if it’s on a minute level……still better than no change at all, right? Again, this is what will set you apart from your ordinary admin. Work like the administrative professionals that you are, which lets your boss know that you have good ideas also.


You’re on the front line, you are the company!

Always remember that to all outside callers, you are the company.For  internal calls, you are an extension of your boss and represent the department. When you answer the phone, speak from your throat, not your nose. You never want to shriek or sound  shrill to callers. Remember Fran Drescher’s voice in The Nanny?  Imagine hearing that voice when calling the President of a major corporation. Not the greatest first impression.  For those who aren’t familiar with this sitcom from the nineties, The Nanny, played by Fran Drescher had en extremely nasal and shrill voice. Practice a few times into a mini cassette until you hear (and feel) the difference.  When your voice sounds throaty and velvety smooth, you’ve got it.

Phone Messages

Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a thorough message (time, date, name and telephone number) on a carbonized message pad if that is what you or your executive prefers.  However, I will show you a new way  that is a constant giving and taking of paper, with you taking the total initiative, but your boss will never have to search his/her desk for those little messages again.  Here’s how it works:

Using colored paper (not a dark color, but definitely not white) you will type his name and date at the top of the page in the center and under that a column for the caller’s name and message.  The reason you want to use colored paper is so that your boss can easily locate it on the desk among the white paper.

When someone calls, you’ll type the caller’s name, phone number and message, print it out and give it to the executive.  Of course, if your boss is not at the desk at the time, you will continue adding to the log until e/she returns to the office.

Give your boss the log so he/she can begin reviewing messages and returning calls promptly. As your boss returns calls, he/she will cross out the names of everyone who’s call has been returned. Now, remember, that while your boss is on the phone returning calls, you will be adding calls to the call log on your computer as new calls come in.   Periodically (you decide when), you will go in to get the old log where your boss has crossed out the names of people who’s calls were returned.  You will update the log by shading the names of the people that he/she has called back. You do this by highlighting OR striking through the entire line (name, message and all), clicking on “Format” and then “shading” then choosing one of the lighter shades of gray and clicking “OK” or use the strike through method.

 Do this on your computer to each name that your boss has crossed out, leaving alone the names of those that were not crossed off.  Now the log on your screen has some names shaded, some not shaded and any new calls that came in.  Now, print this sheet and give it back to your boss.  At a glance, your boss will be able to see everyone who called, including those whose calls were returned and those that must still be called back. There has been so many requests for the call log that I’ve recreated it below.

Here’s how it should look:

Name of your boss and date at the top.

Johnnie B. Good

May 1, 2011

9:15am         Bud Weiser     212-555-1212       re: the budget

9:23am         Dr. DoLittle    212-555-1213       confirming lunch

10:30am         Candy Barr   212-555-1213      mtg on 6/2 postponed

Previous Days (these are ALL the message from every previous day. Sometimes it may be months of calls. That’s ok. You boss knows he hasn’t called them back because they’re still here on the list.)

4/30/11    Robin Byrd       212-555-1214        email her the report

4/30/11    Harley Davidson 212-555-1514     returning your call

NoteUpdate your log on a new sheet every few calls or every call depending on how frequently the calls come in. You will be doing this all day long, but your boss will only have one place to look for ALL of his messages, instead of wasting time scrambling around looking for loose messages from a message pad. You have now created a time management tool for both of you!! You will have already instructed him to simply cross out who he has already spoken to so you can remove them from the list OR just shade it out (see above) until the end of the day and then you can remove it on the next day’s log if you like.

After a while, even when he’s on the phone and you come in to take the old log to update it, he will automatically start handing it to you when you motion for it or pluck it off his desk if he is busy. I have never had a boss who didn’t appreciate having ALL of his messages in one place, one sheet, ALL OF THEM. You’re a super star in the making!

 Don’t forget you can email me at any time for answers or help at LettersToMyFather@yahoo.com.

At the end of the day, you’ll create a new page in your log document and type, “Previous Days”.  This is where you’ll cut and paste all the people that your boss hasn’t spoken to yet, so that the first page is always left for the current day’s calls.  So, tomorrow, you will print out the first sheet with the current calls and the second sheet with the “previous days’” calls.

By now you’re probably thinking “Ok, she’s nuts. I’m not doing that all day long; that’s too much work.”  Well, I agree with you that it is a lot of work and it is all based on your taking the initiative and being proactive. But, this is the type of extra activity that Executive Assistants do to simplify their boss’s work day.  Executive Assistants always take extra steps and go beyond the call of duty to minimize confusion and maximize productivity for themselves and especially for their boss(es).

But don’t worry, stick with me, it gets easier from here.

If you requested the call log, was it helpful/useful to you?

SOCIAL STYLES (not personalities)

Now, let’s take a look at your boss.  There are basically four different social styles in which we communicate. Many people confuse someone’s social style with their personalities.  Ever notice how someone can be the nicest person in the world, but at work they behave differently? That’s their social style at work and their personality outside of work. Each style gives and receives information differently. If you can identify your boss’ style (as well as your own), we can begin improving the communication process between you.





Drivers are business-like and want the facts. They want you to get straight to the point. are very decisive and can be impatient and demanding. Drivers want power, control and authority. Their primary focus is on results.  To effectively communicate with a driver, be clear, specific, brief and to the point in a business-like manner.  Have all of your supporting material, be well organized and present your information logically and efficiently.  When presenting facts and figures, give the probability of success and offer options.  Avoid rambling conversations and non-essential information.  In other words, don’t waste their time or try to build a personal relationship (save that for the Amiables).  Don’t bring a disorganized presentation or leave issues open ended.  Remember, get to the point, be efficient and thorough, and give them options.

Analyticals need data, data and more data.  The more information you provide them, the better.. They are very detail oriented, good at problem solving and organizing and tend to be very thorough and will take their time coming to decisions. Their primary focus is on details.  To effectively communicate with an analytical, indicate that you have done your homework and extensive research when possible.  Be straightforward, direct and stick to your plan.  Detail the positives and negatives to any suggestions that you make and make it known that you are available to see the project through and understanding their desire to be thorough.  Avoid being disorganized, messy, too casual, informal or loud.  Never rush an analytical!  Always follow through and never appear vague.  Just the analyticals all the facts and details and allow them time to think it over and make a decision.

Expressives  see the big picture and are not interested in details and are risk-takers. They are loud, personable, enthusiastic, love color and tend to be flamboyant and emotional. They seek recognition and visibility. They are primarily right brainers whose primary focus is on creativity.  To effectively communicate with an expressive,  show interaction that supports their dreams and intentions and your intent to formalize the details of their treatment.  Draw out their creativity, opinions and ideas.  Avoid being curt, cold or autocratic and never leave decisions hanging in the air with an expressive.  Also, don’t be impersonal, judgmental, task-oriented and never talk down to them or appear dogmatic.  Expressives are people oriented and will not respond to condescending behavior..

Amiables are warm, friendly, dependable, dedicated and cooperative. They are good listeners, team oriented and very sensitive. They want low risk with guarantees and avoid making decisions. Their primary focus is on satisfaction and  proven results for the others.  To effectively communicate with an amiable, show your concern for them as a person from the outset and find areas of common ground.  Be candid, open, patient and show an interest in their personal goals.  Maintain a nonthreatening manner and an casual, informal demeanor Amiables are not risk takers!  Assure them that risks will be minimized and provide them with benefits, personal assurances and clear, specific solutions wih maximum guarantees.

After reviewing each style, do your best to figure out which one describes your boss and which one describes you.  Then, communicate to your boss in his or her style.  That is the key.  You must identify the other person’s style and deliver information to them in their own style to maximize the communication experience for both of you.  Give it a try.  It really does work, even in your personal life.

I discovered that I had been communicating to my husband all wrong.  I would call him at work and ask him what I thought was a simple question: “Paul would you like to go to Florida or the Bahamas for vacation?”  Paul is an analytical and I am an expressive so he would get flustered and rush me off the phone saying “I don’t know, I can’t think right now, talk to me later.”  Can you identify what I did wrong?  As an analytical, I did not give him enough information; there wasn’t enough details for him to make a decision.  So now, let me show you the right way that actually worked quite well.

“Paul, would you like to go to Florida or the Bahamas next July? American Airlines has a sale for $199 round trip and we can stay at the XYZ resort.  We can put it all on Mastercard and pay it off in three months.”

BINGO!!  That’s the way to give information to an analytical.

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Take the Initiative – Be Proactive

Scenario 1:

Let’s say your boss is in a meeting in his/her office that started at 11:30am and it is now approaching 1:00pm and they haven’t made a move towards lunch.  Perhaps your boss is reviewing the budget with another executive in the company and they haven’t come up to breathe since they started.  It’s probably not that they’re not hungry.  They may have a deadline to meet and just don’t want to take the time to run down to the deli for a sandwich and a soda or even call for delivery.  Time may be  preciously limited.

Go into the office with pen and paper and and excuse yourself for interrupting.  Say to your boss “Pardon me for interrupting, but I notice it is almost past lunch time and I was wondering if you would like me to pick up a couple of sandwiches for you (both).”  Believe me, after hearing your reason for coming in, they will welcome the interruption and may actually be relieved to take a break long enough to give you their order.  This is where your pen and paper come in handy.  (Now some of you may say “I’m no waitress” but again, this is what a proactive, efficient Executive Assistant will do to simplify the day of the executive.)

Remember when taking sandwich orders to ask if they want ketchup or mustard and what kind of bread, if it wasn’t made clear.  Your boss will happily break out a $20 bill and you’re off to get lunch.  Often times, when you take this proactive measure, if you have not had lunch, your boss will likely offer to buy yours as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation.

Upon returning with the bag, don’t just dump it down on the desk and leave.  Find a clear spot away from any papers that may be spread out and place each person’s sandwich and drink down…and don’t forget the napkins.  Tell your boss that you’re putting his change with the receipt on his desk and ask if there’s anything else you can get them.  They will likely thank you, say no and commence to diving into their sandwiches.

Take the empty bag with you and toss it out in your trash can.

SCORE!!  You just scored major points with your boss and left a positive lasting impression on his guest.  See what I mean? It’s not hard….it’s these little extras that go a LONG WAY.

Note:  Don’t forget to have your phones covered while you run out.

Now let’s take a look at our second scenario and this time I’m going to let you get involved.  I’ll give you the scenario and then you will choose the best answer.  Consider all of the choices, but I want you to choose the proactive answer.  Ready?  Here we go.

Scenario 2: You are the “gatekeeper” to the head of the department and everyone looks to you as the “go to” person.  Bob Smith calls and says that a light over his desk just blew out.  What do you do?

A.        Tell him to call the Facilities Department

B.        Ask him what he wants you to do?

C.        Call Facilities for Bob and have them come to you

D.        Call Facilities for Bob and have them go to Bob

If you chose C, you are right on track.  good job!  By you calling the Facilities Department and having the electrician come to you first, you can then walk together over to Bob’s office where you will point out the broken light.  Bob certainly could have called Facilities, but would have been distracted away from his job while doing so.  If you had called and gave them Bob’s location, you would have no idea when the electrician arrived or if he came at all.  Then Bob would call you a second time and you will not know the status.

When Bob called you, he expected that you would take care of it and by choosing C you exceeded Bob’s expectations and got the job done very efficiently.

Note:  Again, don’t forget to have your phones covered while you’re away from your desk.


Does your boss do something consistently enough that you can get a good idea of what he/she will need or ask for?  This is an extremely valuable skill to master if there are some constants in your boss’ job.

These are my experiences, but you will be able to examine your own work environment and discover ways of anticipating that will work to your favor. I worked for a Senior Vice President who recruited Financial Advisors.  He had a series of letters and procedures that he followed depending on what stage of the recruiting process he was in.  After a while, I grew to learn which letter came when, so while he was out of the office with the recruit, I prepared the letter and had it on his desk ready for his signature.  One less thing for him to remember.

Another example is when I would hear my boss on the phone setting up a lunch date.  I already knew what his favorite restaurant was and where he was likely to take the caller.  Since I can hear the conversation in detail with time and date, I was able to not only call the restaurant and make the reservation before he even ended the call, but had already added it to his calendar.  So when he finished his call and mentioned to me to make lunch arrangements, I could tell him that it was already done and taken care of and in his schedule.  You look like a mind reader and yet another efficiency kudo is wracked up in your favor.

Use these examples to identify opportunities in your own job where you can anticipate a need and come out on top.  Let’s keep going.  I think you’re beginning to catch on now.  Again, it’s not hard, just proactive.

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Time Management/Prioritizing

Many of you are probably already doing this, but I’m going to review the importance of  time management and prioritizing.  The key is to work smarter, not harder.

When you come in, determine what is the most important task that needs your attention.  Pay attention to deadlines, time sensitive information and new tasks that your boss may have to incorporate into your day’s work.

In a case where you are given a project that will push back another time sensitive project, communicate this to the owner of the project, so that he or she can come up with other alternatives for getting it completed.  Never let a project remain undone because you had other priorities.  Communicate everything, keeping the owner of the project in the loop  and giving him or her choices on how to get it done,  Perhaps someone else can complete it or the deadline can be pushed back. Communication is key.

Working for Multiple People / Staying Organized

Speaking of communication, when working with multiple bosses, you must keep everyone abreast of their work.  You want to become the assistant that everyone knows they can depend on to get it done without being micro managed.  if you go to them with the status of their project, you will likely prevent them from hounding you for it because they’ll already know where you are in the project.

Create folders for each person that you work for, eliminating papers all over your desk and playing Sherlock Holmes when someone asks you for a project you’ve been working on for them.  By having a specific folder for each person, you can quickly retrieve the work without looking frazzled and disorganized. If you are asked when you will be able to finished their particular project, try and assess a reasonable time frame, given other work pending and ask if the date or time you give is acceptable.  If you are unable to complete an assignment before the deadline due to other priorities or assignments, communicate this.  Perhaps the two bosses can determine which one can wait and lets you off the hook for putting someone second. Let them decide.

Basic Grammar and Spelling

It is very important when writing to know your basic grammar and spelling. Although, most computers will catch these errors, never fully rely on that. It doesn’t hurt to brush up on them yourself. Let’s start with the use of commas, which are sometimes over or underused in sentences.

Commas: When to Use Them.

Commas are used when you want your reader to pause or to divide a list of adjectives.  Adjectives are words that describe. e.g. black, short, beautiful, heavy.   She lifted the heavy, black bag onto the table.  To separate a list would be something like this:  He went to the book store, library, restaurant and delicatessen.  Avoid run-on sentences where you have too many thoughts that are just separated by commas.  If you have to stop and take a breath while reading a sentence, it’s too long.

Semi Colon:  When to Use Them

Not many people even know how to use a semi-colon, so I’m going to teach you and put you in the know.  It is quite simple.  You use a semi colon to break up one thought that can stand alone as two separate sentences.  For example: I love to shop at Nordstroms; they always have the best cashmere. Both parts can stand alone as a separate sentence but because it’s the same idea, you can break it up with a semi-colon in one sentence.  See, that wasn’t so hard and now you it know forever.

Tip: When typing business letters, always put a colon (:) after the salutation. Do not use a comma (,). Commas are used for personal letters, not for business.


I have found that many people do not know when to use certain common words such as there, their and they’re.  So let’s break it down right now and make you all experts.

There – This word is used to describe a different place from here; over there.  It’s that

simple.  “I’d like to walk over there.”

Their – This word is used to describe someone’s possession.  “I like their style.”  “I

would like to shop at their store.”  “Who is their mother?”

They’re – This is a conjugation of two words —  They are.  Put together, you get they’re.

“They’re used to having spinach for dinner”  “They’re coming over to watch a

movie with us.

Overall Example:  They’re doing their own make-up over there!!

Where – Describes a place.  Where is the apple pie?

Wear – This word describes attire, something you wear.  Today I’ll wear my blue suit.

We’re – This is a contraction of the two words “we are”.  We’re going to the movies.

Overall Example:  Where are we going to wear our new dresses?  We’re almost ready.

Its – This word is another tricky word, but here’s an example on how to use it.   There’s a cat outside; let’s see if its mother is close by.

It’s – This word is a contract of the two words “it is”.  It’s going to be chilly outside today.


Also, remember the I before C rule when spelling tricky words.  It’s I before E, except after C.  Here are some words that are sometimes confusing.  receive, believe, belief, conceive, achieve, etc.  You get the idea.  The next  chapter will tell you about a website that will help any spelling problems that may arise.

Test your grammar here. Feel free to post your score in the comments section if you like:  http://m.staples.ca/sbdca/en_CA/cre/programs/grammarquiz/#.UqDEieqW0EX.facebook

Using the Internet To Your Advantage

The internet can be YOUR assistant.  Use the internet to help you write letters and memos.   A very good site for online dictionary and thesaurus help is http://www.dictionary.com.  Even if you type in the wrong misspelled, the site will make suggestions for the correct spelling.  If you are writing a correspondence and need to use a synonym for another word, you can refer to this site and click on the online thesaurus.  This is a great (and discreet) way to boost your vocabulary and write like a pro.

If you place international phone calls or need to set up teleconferences with people overseas, I’ve found a great website that you can use to figure out what time it is in the other part of the world, so you can efficiently coordinate times and schedules and appear to be an international time guru. The website is http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/.

Following Up

Flight Reservations

Pay attention to detail when performing tasks.  If your boss asks you to book him a reservation on a flight to Paris (assuming that you don’t know this information already) before you start to make the arrangements, ask questions.  Most times bosses will provide the details but sometimes they’re just too busy.

Here’s what you’ll want to ask:

What dates to book, going and returning and if those dates are at all flexibile (just in case the flight is booked on the dates that he/she wants).

How many seats to book, never assume anything!

If he/she likes the aisle or window?

Does he/she have a preferred airline?

Will he/she be needing a car for arrival and pick up from the airport?

There may be many more questions to be asked that can vary according to your boss, but don’t be afraid to ask questions to avoid mistakes later.  Chances are that your boss will appreciate your thoroughness and you’ll know some of his/her preferences for the future.

Dinner Reservations

When making dinner reservations, make sure you know how many will be dining and in who’s name to put the reservation. Also, be sure to get the person’s name at the restaurant with who you make the reservation.  People are less likely to be careless with a reservation when they give their name and are personally accountable.

Here’s a tip: If you’re making a dinner reservation well in advance, like say two weeks, call the restaurant a week from the date to confirm the reservation and then again the evening before.  Don’t worry about appearing bothersome to the hostess or reservation taker at the restaurant.  This is how Executive Assistants stay efficient and proactive. You will have egg on your face and tarnish  your own reputation for efficiency if anything goes wrong with these reservations that might embarrass your boss.  So feel free to check and double check. That’s what efficient Executive Assistants do.

Car Service Reservation

When making car service reservations, like all other reservations, speak clearly and give the exact dates and times when and where the car will be needed.  Again, get the person’s name who you are speaking to and always get a confirmation number!  If you are making advanced reservations, call the day before to confirm that the reservation is still on their roster.  On the day of the reservation, call the car service at least an hour before the car is to pick your boss up and make sure that a car has been assigned to you.  Don’t be afraid to make these calls.  The last thing you need is to have your boss standing out on the curb waiting for a car service that never shows!

New!!  Itineraries

This came up in a question that was emailed to me and I thought it was worth sharing with you guys. When your boss is taking a trip, yes, I realize there are all kinds of smart phones, ipads and sexy little gadgets that he/she can keep their schedule on . However, always send a typed itinerary with your boss on a trip and keep one on your desk or close by at all times while he/she is away. Here’s why:

If for some reason your boss can’t access their wifi, ipad or their phone’s battery died, they can always whip out the typed up itinerary. But, suppose they were reading their itinerary over breakfast and spilled coffee, tea or hot chocolate on the itinerary and they can’t access their sexy gadgets for whatever reason….guess who they’re going to call?  YOU!

Now……since you have efficiently and wisely kept a copy of the itinerary close by at your fingertips, you are ready for a frantic call like this:

Ring Ring……Ring Ring

You:  “Good afternoon. Bill Smith’s office, this is Lisa.”

Boss:  “Hey Lisa, I don’t have time to talk, my phone died with my schedule in it and I left the itinerary you gave me in the cab. It’s now 1:00pm and I don’t know where my 2:00pm meeting is!”

You: “No problem. Your 2pm meeting is at The Clarke Building at 123 Main Street, 12th floor with Mr. Monroe. Is there anything else that you need me to do for you?”

Boss: “No, that’s all.  Thanks so much. OK gotta run. Thanks again Ruth.”

You: “You’re very welcome. Have a great day. Bye.”

What did you accomplish here? Luckily, you were at your desk to take this call. You also saved a lot of time by not having to put your boss on hold to find the information. Instead, you were ready with the information that was needed and allowed your boss to make his/her meeting. Don’t think that your boss won’t later remember how well you handled this situation and he/she may not say anything about it, but just know that you did your thing by being efficient and allowing your boss to keep their schedule.

OK, so I agree that this is a stretch, but not really.  This is what I mean by anticipating needs. This kind of efficient readiness is on the executive level. An effective, competent assistant will always have their boss’ full itinerary at their fingertips (but away from prying eyes). So keep it in a folder on your desk or in a top desk drawer. Don’t file it away where you have to put your boss on hold or even leave your desk for a second. You should be able to reach over and get it within seconds.

Greeting Guests

This is an important chapter.  Guests can be anybody and they must ALL be treated with respect and dignity.  When the receptionist calls to tell you that your boss has a guest, it is very important to go out promptly to greet this person.  First, let your boss know that his/her guest is here and ask if he/she is ready for them.  If your boss is ready for them, put on your best smile, introduce yourself as your boss’ assistant with your first and last name.  However, if your boss is not quite ready, still go to the reception area, introduce yourself the same way and let them know that your boss will be with them shortly.  Offer drinks or refreshments to make them feel comfortable during their wait.

When showing them into your boss’ office, offer to take their coats (if necessary) and if they would like something else to drink.  Oh, and don’t forget to include your boss in this offer.   This show of professional hospitality goes a long way and makes the guests/clients feel welcomed and appreciated, makes your boss look great and generally gives a positive outlook on the entire company.


That’s it, we’re done.  You should now have some of the tools to go back to work and perform efficiently on an executive level.  Send me a message through my blog or email me at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com  if you have any questions at all.  SEE ADDITIONAL TIPS BELOW.


Important: Always remember that when you delegate a task, it is still your responsibility, so please be sure to oversee and manage the process (of course without micromanaging). Everyone hates that. Make sure that the person the work is delegated to has clear instructions, knows the deadline and understands that if there is any delay in the completion of the work, they are to notify you immediately.  Follow up  from time to time to ask about the progress, but for the most part, let the person work autonomously if things are going well and the time line is still good.


Believe it or not, although initially this may seem to be a pain, rather than go along with the way things have been done, take the initiative to put some basic systems in place. For instance, if there is no vacation or days off request forms, create some and notify the staff of the new procedure. Be sure to first run things by your boss who will probably find you to be proactive and give you the right of way to set the office up to run more efficiently. All offices run differently, so if you see something that needs fixing or you know of a better way to do it, jump in and do it (as long as you have the green light from your boss).

NEW! Open Door Policy—-Good or Bad for your Boss?

Do you have a boss who believes in the “open door policy” where people can feel free to come and go at their own will?  If your boss believes in this “policy” to appear accessible to others, maybe you ought to think about shutting that situation down or better yet, modifying it (in a professional way of course). Having an open door policy allows visitors to constantly interrupt him which is a huge time waster. If you notice that your boss keeps his door open and allows people to interrupt him, YOU, as the trustworthy gatekeeper can propose that perhaps you can be allowed to “intercept” visitors to announce them or encourage them to make an appointment if it’s not urgent.  Having people respect your boss’ time by making appointments will allow him/her to focus on projects, phone calls, etc. without people barging in and being a nice guy/gal, don’t want to be rude, so he accepts them in.  If your desk or office is situated in a way where you can intercept visitors, and only after you have the permission from your boss to do so, address the visitor and simply say “good morning (name of person), how can I help you?” When they say they’re there to see your boss, you come out from your desk and say “let me see if he’s free”. See……right there, you have now set a new standard and expectation that they must be announced first. This way when you’re boss is on the phone or you know he’s working on something with a deadline, you can help him by “screening”  visitors before you allow them to barge into your boss’ office.  But remember to use discretion. If your boss’ supervisor or someone over him comes and brushes by you, you may have to let that slide.  Again, these are some of the traits that separate an executive assistant from an administrative assistant.  Let’s ALL start working at the executive level. Make sense?


Hey you guys, I want to share with you something you may not already know about that will undoubtedly help you make newsletters, fliers and brochures like PROS.  Recently, I have been producing extremely professional looking fliers and brochures in Microsoft Word!! Simply click on “File” and “New” where you will find a plethora of templates that you can manipulate and change to make it a custom piece of work. My boss thinks I’m a whiz at flier making because of what I’ve done for him so I wanted to share this “new” tool with you guys. Email me at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com if you need any help or have questions.


Don’t be intimidated by PowerPoint. It is SO MUCH FUN!!  Practice at home by just clicking on stuff to see what does what. It is unbelievably easy to add pictures music and videos!! This is a skill that not too many people have so take some time to practice at home and explore it. You guys know that you can email me any time with questions or if you need help with a PowerPoint presentation, you know where to find me. Letterstomyfather@yahoo.com.  Once your boss knows that you know PowerPoint, you will add just that more value and marketable to yourself as an EA, especially if you can do a presentation with movement and/or charts without a plain white background. If you end up with having to do a PowerPoint presentation and need help, just email me. I will help you blow everyone away with your professional presentations!!! We’re in this together as a team!! I thank everyone who visits and relies on my blog for useful information. I will update it as often as possible and if you have any topics that you think I should add, please feel free to write. Keep the emails coming. I love hearing from you!

P.S. If  you have a PowerPoint presentation and want some bells and and whistles,  let me know. We can work something out.

NEW: If you are currently looking for a job, PLEASE make sure that your email is a professional email with either your first and last name or first initial, last name. For example: JaneSmith@gmail.com or JSmith@hotmail.com.  Never send  out a resume with an email address like: cutiepie918@hotmail.com, sexygal1986@yahoo.com. This is a no-no. Remember….first impressions!

Click here for the page on What NOT to do on your Cover Letter: https://latebloomergrads.wordpress.com/sending-cover-letters-and-resumes-what-not-to-do/

This work is copyrighted. All rights are reserved.©

323 Responses to “Tips For the Efficient Executive Assistant”

  1. Sarah Jehan says:

    please help me maintaing event calender n how to make the flight arrangements in details and also can u pls send me the sample log which u were describing in the earlier

    • latebloomergrads says:

      I am so, so terribly sorry that I never answered your post. I had no idea that anyone was even seeing it. If you’re still at this job and want to make detailed flight reservations, first find out where your boss likes to sit eg. aisle or window. This way you won’t have to consult him/her each time. Make sure you have ALL the info that you’ll need to make the arrangements. Does he have a preferred airline or will he/she trust you to just fine the most economic fare? Does he/she want paper tickets or online? When possible, check him or her in online the day of his/her flight and hand them the boarding pass. Remind him/her to bring their passport. This may all sound trivial but when you have a traveling boss, they have so many things on their minds that little things like checking him in and reminding him of things like his passport could save him a lot of inconvenience. After the flight arrangements are done, make sure you call the car service and reserve a car for that date and time. The day BEFORE his flight, call to confirm. Then call the morning OF the flight to make sure that car will be there. Tell them to call you when the car is downstairs (important!). If they’re a reliable car service, they should be there about 20 minutes before the scheduled time. At this time, you alert your boss that the car is here. If a hotel is involved, make sure that his reservation has been made and CONFIRMED. Type out all of this information (e.g. flight info, time, destination, etc. car service name, phone number and car # and hotel name, address, phone number and reservation number on an itinerary and give it to him before he leaves, keeping a copy of course for yourself. Stay abreast of any flight changes so you can notify him/her of this information. This is the way an executive assistant works to stay ahead of and on top of every detail to be efficient. Please let me know if this helped or if you need more information. So sorry again for the delay.

  2. mernsnose says:

    Hello, it really interesting, thanks

  3. Ingrid says:

    How do I handle an indescive boss

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi. What is your boss indecisive about? Give me some examples and I’ll write back. Thanks.

      • GR says:

        I have the same type of boss – indecisive about everything – flights, appoitnments – everything

  4. Ivania Teran says:


    I love your blog. That’s a great question from Ingrid. I tend to have an indecisive boss in the food department. When we have board meetings, he is not sure what he wants them to eat? He is never sure what he wants to eat for himself. I can relate to him since sometimes I am in those moods. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much. I enjoy having people like you stop by and either pick up tips or ask questions. An indecisive boss can be difficult for an employee because you never know where the decision maker stands. It also depends on what your boss is indecisive about. For instance, the boss who is indecisive about the food at the board meeting, perhaps you can volunteer by saying “You know they really seemed to like the chicken salad and turkey sandwiches, so how about if we order that again?” As far as what he wants to eat for himself, he is on his own and you should not worry the least bit about that. This is a very broad question, but one I’m sure many people run into . Hope this helps. : )

  5. Ivania Teran says:

    Also can you send me the call log sample as well? Greatly appreciate it.

  6. Teneal says:

    Can i get a copy of the log, sounds like a great idea.

  7. valerie says:

    I am a current college student (47 yrs old) enrolled in the EOA program, I am lost, we have to present a topic to the class, my partner and I chose “Planning a Conference” and now I am regretting that choice, I don’t have a clue where to begin, what to include in it or where to go.HELPPP!!!.We have to present it in Power Point (which I have never used before), we also have to do it Report style and a synopsis..sometimes I think food service was a better choice for me..(he he) I would appreciate any help I can get on this topic , as it has to be presented on Friday September 17, 2010.

  8. Belyn says:

    Thanks for sharing this extremely helpful information.

  9. melissa says:

    I just accepted an exe asst position and will be starting in two weeks. This is a slight career change for me, i was actually recruited by my soon to be boss as he is a patient at my current job. The information you have posted is extremely helpful for me, especially the scenarios. The company I will be working for is a land developement company; I’m curious if you happen to know some of the task I could expect to do in this type of field?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Melissa. Congratulations on your new position and thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am so glad that it is helping so many assistants who take the time to email me.

      As you know, every industry has a specific set of responsibilities that can’t always be anticipated. Perhaps if I had experience in this industry, I might be able to offer some insight, but then again, every office operates different. But don’t worry, I’m sure you will be trained.

      The main idea is to have the necessary administrative skills to support and manage the work load, meet deadlines, and maintain time management. I’m sorry that I’m not able to offer more specific advice, but as you get in the job, feel free to email me any time, as often as you like with any issues you may have. I’m here to help and get you through, but I know you will be great.

      Thanks again and write any time.

  10. melissa says:

    I would also love a copy of the call log:)

    Thanks again for your information!

  11. MC says:

    Hi! =)

    Your blog by far is the most helpful blog I ever read.=)

    ok, here’s my scenario:
    I am currently working as an EA to the Sales and Marketing Director of a Food and Beverage distributing company, and my current problem is that aside from being indecisive (on meetings, food to eat, plans, flight routes and booking), he also tend to put the blame on me whenever something goes wrong in the business (even i didn’t have something to do with it).

    please advise me on how to deal with it. cause im loosing patience already. and it’s a bit irritating.

    lastly,May I please have a copy of the call log.=)


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Mary Claire.Thank you visiting. OK, it sounds like your boss may feel a little insecure and slightly inept about his job. Perhaps instead of letting him make decisions about foods to eat, give HIM a choice. “Would you like turkey or soup today for lunch?” Or whatever the choices are. For meetings, as his EA, keep track of meetings in his appointment book and remind him that they are coming up so that he stays organized and has everything he needs for them. For flight booking, did you read my section on that? It will help you stay organized when making and booking his flight arrangements. Of course you cannot be responsible for delayed or canceled flights.

      As far as him blaming you, again, this might be his own insecurities and lack of accountability. Perhaps the next time he blames you for something that you were not responsible for, make suggestions on how “WE” can avoid that happening again. This way you are not accepting responsibility nor are you forcing it on him. Remain a TEAM by saying “WE”. Example: “Maybe next time we can hold the meeting here so you won’t have to catch a cab in the rain.” Trying taking charge without him really noticing it by being proactive and giving him choices instead of having him decide on his own.

      I hope this helped. Please email or post a comment again if I can be of further assistance.

  12. MC says:

    thanks a ton!

    your in site on my queries are indeed helpful.

    more power! =)


  13. Secretaria says:

    I will be moving back to my country from USA next week. I have an interview scheduled for next Friday as an EA. I was wondering if you have any tips when it comes to interviews. I know everyone is different but it must be something common to all. OH, last time I worked as an EA was 1999.
    Thanks a lot for your blog

  14. Keisha says:

    my name is Keisha. I have been working my new job as an executive assistant for only a week now. I always worked in the accounting industry so this is a big change for me but like every other job I’ve done I’m up for the challenge. However the most most difficult part of my job so far is drafting responses and cover letters. Can u help me with some tips on that pleaseeeeee

  15. Keisha says:

    my name is Keisha. I have been working my new job as an executive assistant for only a week now. I always worked in the accounting industry so this is a big change for me but like every other job I’ve done I’m up for the challenge. However the most difficult part of my job so far is drafting responses and cover letters. Can u help me with some tips on that pleaseeeeee.

  16. Cindy says:

    Thank you for sharing such great tips.

    Would appreciate receiving a copy of your call log template.

  17. Keisha says:

    Thanks for responding to my mail, I appreciate it and for the advise as well. Now I was wondering what to you call a boss who is between Analytical and Amiable…. and how do you deal with him?

    Awaiting your response….

  18. khadine says:

    Hi i recently accepted a job offer as an EA and will be starting in two weeks my future boss is really young and obviously a driver and i’m really nervous what advice can you give to me to making this transition

    • latebloomergrads says:

      This answer is WAY late and for that I apologize. By now, you have probably been working for your boss for a few months and now have an idea of how you will work together. If he is a “driver” you already know he only wants the facts, no small talk or chit chat…..just tell him what he needs to know or let him tell you what he needs YOU to know. If you have questions for him, please be precise, concise and don’t ramble. Drivers have no time for that. Don’t be nervous, you’re going to be fine. Stick to the tips in my blog and write back for any specific issues. I promise I will respond to you on a timely basis. You can do this! It’s all a matter of knowing your job and knowing or figuring out what your boss wants and needs to help HIS day go smoothly. If your boss is happy, I guarantee, you will be too! Good luck.

  19. Andrea Scott says:

    Hello , My name is Andrea and I am about to start my first job as an executive assistant, however in this new position I will be required to book private jets. I don’t even know where to start . Could you tell me how I can book private jets, what are the details I should ask and pay attention to, where to call? I am in NY and the trips will be both nationally and internationally…

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Andrea. Congratulations on your new position. There are several charter plane companies that you can use. Here is one of them: http://www.stratosjets.com. However, it is likely that your boss already uses a company and it will be up to you to get the name from him or another associate. Perhaps there is a file from past flights where you can get that information from (be proactive). Once you get the name of the place, you can always call and get more info about past flights for your boss and perhaps they will have a profile on him.

      Read the part of my blog about being proactive, anticipation and following up. These three elements will be crucial in your position. When booking a private jet, find out exactly where your boss is going, his preferred departure and arrival times, have a car ready to pick him up on both ends. Typically, when you are booking your first flight for your boss, the travel rep will ask you the questions that they need to know. This way you’ll be able to know for the next time exactly what will be needed. Try not to ask your boss! Use your ingenuity to get it done on your own if possible. Here is a web site that I found for you on booking private jets (forget about the part that says fly it yourself lol). Good luck and keep me posted!!


      P.S. I am also based in New York and I’m planning several workshops based on this blog since it has been very popular! I hope you will attend.

      Best regards,

      • Andrea Scott says:

        Thank you so much for your response. I will check all the tips and read through your blog. I would love to attend your workshop. As soon as you start please send me the info. This is a totally new career for me and will be very challenging. I need to learn all the basics and expertise of this business, so i can use all the help and information I can get my hands on.



  20. Andrea Scott says:

    I worked as a Personal Assistant before and my job was very unconventional, now that i will be working as an Executive Assistant for a Bank i have no idea about drafting responses and cover letters. Can u help me with some tips on that please. I believe this will be most difficult part of my job because English is not my native language and i was also wondering if is there any program or software that will help correcting the grammar. I am taking some classes in college but this still my biggest challenge ….

  21. Denise Wiggins says:

    Hi Latebloomergrad,
    My name is Denise and I am currently my Pastor’s weekend assistant, right-hand-gal, gatekeeper, proofreader and feedback-giver. I also make sure he eats something healthy since he preaches 2 sermons on Saturday and 3 on Sunday.

    The reason I’m contacting you is that you mentioned that you are located in NY and will be holding workshops being and effective Executive Assistant. Do you have a timeframe for these workshops, even if tentative?
    Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with others. I will be sure to return to this site to check your posts.

    Kind regards,
    Denise W

    P.S. I love the typing test site. Right now I’m averaging 45 WPM, touchtyping, but will continue to practice.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      I am currently planning on developing a workshop in New York, but it is in the infancy stages right now and need to find the time to do it. I would love to be able to meet some of the assistants who have written to me for advice (and there have been many)! Practice your typing at http://www.typingtest.com and try to get your speed up to 50wpm. Let me know how you’re doing.


  22. Natalie E. says:

    Thank you for publishing this blog. Your tips are tremendously helpful!

    Do you have any tips for an EA starting employment with a new boss? I’m just trying to determine what initial conversations and actions should take place.

    Also, please keep up the tips regarding staying two steps ahead of the boss…those never get old!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much. I’m always thrilled to hear when assistants benefit from the tips that I provide. I’m a little late responding to you and I apologize greatly!! New EA’s should have an initial sit down with your new boss to determine what his expectations are. In turn, you should go in with YOUR questions too (whatever they might be). If you don’t have a former assistant to train you, you will have to rely on trial and error, unless your boss can be forthcoming on how he likes things done. It’s all a getting to know you process, but the more the boss is willing to communicate his likes, dislikes and expectations, the better your chances are of feeling out your new job. Also, another great way of finding out how things are done is to look through the files and things left by the former assistant. Those files are LOADED with information about how and what things are done. BE PROACTIVE, take a look around and familiarize yourself with previous files and documents. Good luck my friend and feel free to write any time.

  23. Jennifer says:

    What tips do you have on screening phone calls? I am looking for ways to cut down on the amount of calls transferred to my boss’ voicemail coming from ‘unknown’ callers.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Great question. First, how long have you been working with your boss? Second, how many people answer his calls or is it just you? How about the front desk? You should be his first line of defense and as his gatekeeper, perhaps his calls should come through you first. Most times, it takes familiarity with your boss to know who and who NOT to put through. In the beginning, you will probably have to take all calls or messages and in time, learn who he’ll take and who has less priority. It’s a process, but in time you will know who is who and prevent him from having to deal with the mundane calls. Good luck. Keep me posted.

  24. Maria says:

    Hello. My name is Maria. I used to teach high school in my home country, USA, but a month ago I started working as a PA in the Middle East. I worked in offices before. I never had any trouble with computer skills, organization, communicating with difficult personalities, or influencing/managing people and tasks. Since I started as a PA here, I have a lot of difficulty determining the needs and expectations of my boss. I seem to make a lot of mistakes without realizing it, and when I ask for specific details so I can correct behavior, I get a lot of generalities. He travels more than 50% of the time so his time in the office is extremely limited, made even more so by the fact that he has many meetings while in town. He is always too busy to train me on tasks, and when he does sit down with me it is to talk about how I dont stay on top of the tasks. This latest session of criticism was just after I fell and hit my head very hard while on an apartment viewing. He told me to take the afternoon off because I felt dizzy. The next day he was in a very bad mood; i think it was because he didnt get anything done with me the day before. He ranted for an hour about mistakes that I used to make that I already corrected. Long story short, he is unpredictable, busy, moody and vague. I really need some help. Could it be cultural differences? I also got the feeling when I first arrived that he was attracted to me, although he didnt do anything inappropriate. I made sure he got the hint, without rejecting him, that it was strictly professional with me. He has been acting much more difficult ever since then.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Maria. This definitely sounds like it could be a cultural thing, although I’m sure there are plenty of bad bosses in the USA who have these character traits. Everyone does not know how to be a boss. The fact that you fell and hit your head and wasn’t sent directly to the hospital is disturbing, especially if you got dizzy. However, before we judge him and label him a “bad boss”, we have to accept that there may be unseen variables that we don’t know about. For instance, maybe he’s under a lot of pressure from his own boss or a key client and he just doesn’t know how to channel his conflicts appropriately. OK, so first, make sure that your health is good. Health first, job second.

      So you say he is unpredictable, busy, moody and vague. I will have to use my own interpretation on this one, without really knowing him. But if he is unpredictable, that kind of tells me that he is a bit unorganized and doesn’t plan well, so he is spontaneous and the outcomes of his spontaneity may not always be favorable for him. He probably seems busy because he is…..however, he may be busier than he has to be because of his inability to plan and organize himself, his tasks and projects. Vague tells me that perhaps he himself does not have a comprehensive understanding of what he needs to do, what he wants or what he needs YOU to do. Sounds to me like you will have to overcome these obstacles because your boss needs a top notch, thick skinned, proactive mind reader who can keep him on track, prepare him for meetings and conferences and generally keep him organized. This is where my blog may come in very handy for you. Buckle down dear heart because you have work to do. Keep me posted on how things go. I really care about you guys. : )

  25. Annamarie says:

    These tips are great! Thanks so much for posting them.

  26. Maximo Sauro says:

    I wish more people would write blogs like this that are really fun to read. With all the fluff floating around on the net, it is rare to read a blog like this instead.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much. When I wrote it, I specifically did NOT want it to be bland, dry and boring to read, so I’m glad it came across the way I intended. Thank you for stopping by to comment. : )

  27. Someone essentially assist to make seriously articles I might state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and so far? I surprised with the research you made to make this actual submit incredible. Great task!

  28. domi says:

    hi! Maybe you can help me. I love this blog by the way. I started as an ea in April of this year. I am an assist to a VP of my department. But I’m also the department admin for 47 people. I book travel for 4 of his direct reports. I also expense for 9 managers. On top of those tasks, I handle the regular day to day help needed by the other employees in my department. I’m having a hard time balancing all of the requests I get for help booking meetings, travel, etc. On top of everything, I’m the right hand man to my VP. Any tips on keeping everything sorted out? This is a department for a large financial institution that hasnt had an admin in years. There are no rules in place and I need to gain control. Thanks!1

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Working for 47 is just plain crazy. Even if you had another set of hands and worked 12 hour days, you would never catch up…..never mind staying ahead of things. Clearly, your company needs to hire at least two more assistants because no way should you work for a VP AND support 47 other people. I would highly recommend remaining extremely organized, making folders for each in your computer as well as in your file drawers. How do some of the managers feel about doing their own expenses? They can’t possibly be busier than you? As far as the travel is concerned, it sounds like the company needs to utilize their resources better and hire a travel agent. They obviously don’t realize that they are expending valuable time by bogging you down with this much work. Speak to your VP and suggest that since the company is busy and seems to be doing well, perhaps a new assistant could be hired to help with the workload. Volunteer to fully train this person and bring them up to speed so that no one’s work really suffers. You handle all the pressing issues and deadlines and let the new assistant handle smaller issues that aren’t emergent IN THE BEGINNING. Slowly, you will familiarize her with all of her responsibilities without overwhelming her the first few weeks. Step into a leadership role and do what should have been done a long time ago. Perhaps they are all too busy to even think of the obvious. Keep me posted if you can. Good luck girl. Take charge!!!!

  29. Vero Ellison says:

    I am so glad that you exist and that I found you.
    My question is when there is a luncheon for retirement, anniversary or such events how do I word the Outlook invite so that it is elegant and proper. Also if you have any tips around this subject it will be appreciated.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much for visiting and I’m glad to help you. For a luncheon retirement, anniversary party or festive event, it would be much better to create a festive flier for the event and then attach it to an email. A simple email invitation would be too boring and dry for such a festive, happy occasion. You can find several flier templates on Microsoft Word by clicking on “File” then “New”. I have used their templates for several events because they are already formatted with pictures appropriate for the event. Please let me know if you need help with your flier. I will be glad to assist you. Good luck, write any time and keep me posted.

  30. Cynthia says:

    I would like to write a 30-60-90 day plan. Do you have any strong suggestions that will impress my prospective boss?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Cynthia. Sounds like a great idea but what kind of plan are we talking about? Is this a new boss, or a new job? Email me again with a little more detail and I’ll get on it ASAP. : )

  31. Rose says:

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! I particularly like the call log. Can you please send me a copy of it?

  32. annexroom says:


    Great site! I’ve already learned a few tips from you that will come in handy. It’s been a while since I’ve sent Outlook invites to clients and booked travel for someone so here’s my question for you; when putting flight info and scheduling appointments in different time zones, what’s the best way to do this? His outlook is defaulted to Eastern Standard Time and I put notes in the body of the Outlook Appt (Ex; 3pm EST/12pm PST) but that is not enough.

    For example, he is stationed in NY but will be flying back from Las Vegas @ 11am (PST). When I put his departure info on his calendar, do I put 2pm so that when he gets to Vegas, his Outlook automatically will set it to his new time zone? Or do I put in 11am? I’m scared it will change his 11am to 8am. (3 hours back, because it thinks his flight out was for 11am EST)

    Also, for calls with several people on it with different time zones, do I keep it on the time zone we are in(EST) and then everyone else’s should automatically change?

    I don’t want to accidentally put the wrong time down and have my boss miss a call or miss a flight!

    1 more question:

    My boss says he doesn’t mind having an open door policy but throughout the day, he gets several interruptions from other department staff that are under him. Because his door is open and I’m right in front as well, people ask me if he’s available- while they are looking right at him! It makes it awkward and I’ve asked my boss if he prefers me to close his door and schedule times to meet with these walk- ins but he says its fine. Yet I feel like he keeps getting interrupted and gets no work done. He is also new here so I think he wants to get acquainted with his colleagues & show them that he’s approachable, yet it feels ineffective. He’s also new, only being here for 2 months. Should I propose that we schedule meetings 1 day of the week so he can get updates with each dept, that way it could hopefully cut down on walk ins? I feel like I should be the gatekeeper and this “open door” policy he says he doesn’t mind, makes me feel like I’m not doing my job. And he is VP of a prominent company, so things must be handled with the utmost professionalism.


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Wow! Really great questions. Let me take them one at a time:

      1) The time zone question can be tricky so I completely understand your concern. You are already on top of things by putting his calendar into his Outlook calendar. However, you say that doesn’t work? Perhaps also send him with a hard copy of his itinerary in his brief case. On his hard copy, write down the date and times of his flight with notes that make it clear what time his flight is. You should also email a copy of his itinerary to him. For example:

      American Airlines
      Flight 432
      Departing Las Vegas: 4:37pm (Las Vegas time)
      Arriving New York: 9:43pm (New York Time)

      This way it will be clear to him when he has to get to the airport. Also, hopefully, he is smart phone savvy and can also pull up the itinerary on his phone if he loses his copy. (Carrying around hard copy itineraries are sooo 1980’s), but sometimes necessary. Also, when scheduling appointments in different time zones, it is important to establish to ALL what time zone to go by so they can adjust their calendars accordingly e.g. Eastern Standard Time, Pacific Time, Mountain Time, etc.).

      2) It is understanding that a new V.P. wants to remain accessible, however……I admire your attentiveness to the interruptions. Yes, you are the gatekeeper and I’m sure he would not mind at all if you were to take the lead on this and get people in the habit of stopping at your desk FIRST to ask if he is available. Then, based on your knowledge of what his day is like or who the person is, you can either poke your head in to announce that “John Smith” is here or you can say he’s busy at the moment, ask if it’s urgent and tell the colleague that you will have him call when he’s free. This way your boss doesn’t look like the bad guy and you have injected some much needed time management into his day. You also set a standard that yes, his door is open but it doesn’t mean that anyone and everyone can just barge in whenever they feel like it. You sound like a great assistant. He’s very lucky to have you.

      Hope this was helpful and please feel free to stop by the blog again.


  33. Marquita Sanders says:

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! I particularly like the call log. Can you please send me a copy of it?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      You are so welcome. Thank you for visiting and feel free to come back soon for updates.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      So glad you stopped by Marquita. Please feel free to visit again or even subscribe so when I post something new, you will know about it ASAP. Thanks again.

  34. elizabeth says:

    One grammatical point it might be worthwhile to add is the difference between “who’s” and “whose”. “Who’s” only ever means “who is”, while “whose” is the possessive form of “who”.

  35. nick says:

    This is an awsome help!! I am an EA to a CEO and am always strugleing to keep up. Everyday i get in about 15 min before he does and type up a paper that lists all his meetings, upcoming events, and current projects. I will be seperating the call log now at the bottom as phone calls can be a seperate task. Because I make this everyday and he can go through checking things off he now relies on it and if he comes in and it isn’t on his desk he asks me for it. I have a small office next to his and my problem is everything gets “dumped” on me. I am so busy tring to keep his desk and office organized i walk into mine and he has tossed 4 projects on mine. What organization tools do you use for yourself.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Nick and thank you for writing. I like that you take the initiative and have already established your own system that your boss has come to rely on by asking for it when it’s not there. That’s excellent! That means he finds value in it. When he “dumps” the projects on your desk, the first thing you should do is organize them to keep them together and all the relevant information and papers together. Once everything is neatly organized, you may need to have a conversation about him on each one regarding deadlines or any special instructions UNLESS that has already been established. If you are so overwhelmed that you don’t think you can actually meet the deadlines of each projects, it may be time to have a discussion with your boss about a temp or someone who can lift some of the burden from you. However, if you CAN do the work and it’s just a LOT of work, get yourself organized, continue coming in a little early, stay focused and sort through each project to see which one is needed first and stack them in the order of priority. BUT BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR BOSS AND WITH YOURSELF and you will be just fine. Sometimes we can be so efficient that our bosses lose track of how much they are pouring on us. Hang in there, continue doing a great job and email me whenever you like. lettersTomyFather@yahoo.com.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Awesome! You sound well organized and innovative. I love it!!!

  36. Faith says:

    Can you please send me copy of call log.

    Thank you.

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      Well actually, the entire site is from my own experience and education. The social styles information is from graduate school and it is very relevant in the workplace. Thanks so much for coming by to comment.

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    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Jane. Thank you for stopping by to check out the blog. I hope some of it helped you. Good luck on your EA job search. Keep me posted so I can cheer for you. GO GET EM GIRL!!!

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  45. Lou Huschle says:

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    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you for your kind words about my blog. If you are starting a blog on motorcycles, just start blogging all the knowledge that you have about motorcycles. My blog is 100% original, all from my head and experience. You’ll be surprised at how much you know when you start putting it into a blog. I am just glad that so many find value in it and I love hearing from people. Good luck and have fun with it.

  51. reneelondon says:

    Thank you very much for the time and effort you put into sharing your knowledge. I am currently working for a Senior Manager at my firm and I was recently asked to hold on for the ea of the dceo whilst she is on vacation. Since I’ve started working for my current boss he has lamented that I am not up to his standard. He is a weird mix of all 4 personality types. I wanted to throttle him today; he asked me to re-do an executive summary for a survey I did over 3 months ago (after umpteen revisions) in a tabular format. I asked if he wanted it done like X; he said no do it like Y. Then when I gave it to him he said I should have done it like X. Since I was offered the trial with the dceo with an option to be promoted when his ea retires my boss has been even more unbearable. I really would like to ensure that I get the promotion. These tips were exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thanks again and I will definitely be checking you again in the near future. Also please send me the call log.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Renee. Thank you so very much for commenting. I understand exactly what you’re going through and I hope you get that promotion. Please feel free to print this blog out and use it as a manual if needed. You can also email me any time if you need help with anything specific. You’re doing great. Don’t let your boss steal your shine.


  52. anonymous says:

    your blog is very informative and useful. will do your tips. i am an executive assistant too for a year now. i enjoyed my position though sometimes i get bored especially when my boss isn’t around. anyway, thanks for this blog of yours!:)

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I enjoy hearing from visitors and truly appreciate all comments. Email me any time if you need help with anything specific. Thanks again.


  53. Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi,no I am not on Twitter. I wouldn’t be able to sum up all the work of an admin on Twitter. But you can always find me here at any time. : )

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  59. Suzanne Luca says:

    Thank you! I came across your blog by chance and am pleased to find I work instinctively to your guidelines…but I just labelled this ‘common sense’, not understanding ihave some valuable skills! Your tips have given me validation and greater confidence…I have also learned some new tricks.
    Thank you. I commence a new job, with my old boss after a year and a half out of corporate. I feel I have the confidence and ability to be efficient and succeed after reading your blog. Thanks again, best regards Suzanne

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Suzanne. First, thank you so much for taking the time to write. I can totally understand what you are saying about thinking that your skills are simply common sense. That’s what happens when we become so proficient at our jobs that we take it for granted and don’t acknowledge the skills as being valuable because we think that EVERYONE does it that way. But that is not true. It sounds like you have fantastic skills and have mastered quite a few tricks over the years. It is always great to hear from you guys out there who are enjoying my blog. Thank you so much again.

  60. Helen C says:

    Hi – congratulations on your excellent advice! I have a second interview on Tuesday and anticipate questions on what it takes to be an EA that goes ‘over and above’ expectations. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Congrats on landing a second interview. Questions vary so much that it would be hard to say what they will ask. But just know that employers are looking for PROBLEM SOLVERS. So come across as an administrative professional who gets things done by being proactive and focused before issues become problematic. Then be prepared to give examples. Best of luck to you!


  61. Adneia caldeira says:

    Very good I liked a lot. But its still not what I am looking for.
    I was.hired a month ago, and he have never had someone to assist him, so as much as I try to do what you said on your site and try to be creative, I feel like I am doing muxh. I dont have my own desk, we share desk. When he is working I try my best to find something else to do. He never let me in in the things that I can see I can help him. We dont recieve calls but I do call people who send emails to him interesting in franchise. What should I do? I feel like he thinks I dont really know what I am doing. I already created a inspection book, organized all his files,

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you for taking the time to write. It sounds like you are doing your best to be efficient but if you have to share a desk, that may hinder your progress. You don’t mention if there is enough space for another desk. If so, mention it to your boss that in order to work efficiently, you would prefer to have your own space. The issue sounds more like the office needs to be managed more efficiently, not necessarily you.

  62. Nancy says:

    Hi! I’ve been an admin for over 30 years, and I’m about to go on my third interview for an EA position (finally, with the CEO himself). Your tips are fantastic for someone trying to transition to that top position. Some are things I already do, but I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas from your blog, including some that spurred great questions to ask him in my interview. I especially appreciate the piece about international travel, which this man does a lot. There are also international meetings to schedule, and the website you listed will be a big help in dealing with the various time zones involved. Thank you so much for creating this and for making yourself available for questions! I think the biggest challenges for me would be in learning about the organization (because there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world) and with being a great gatekeeper. In the organization’s infancy, this executive had an open-door policy and now has to be “trained” to pull back from that. Do you have any suggestions for being an excellent, but approachable, gatekeeper, and for helping an executive to feel like he doesn’t have to have his hands in every project? One idea I thought of would be for me to get weekly status updates from project managers that I could organize into a single document for the executive; good or bad idea? Thanks!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you so much for writing. I think your idea for weekly updates on projects is an excellent idea. Be sure not to make ot too lengthy and just provide the info that your boss needs to be fully updated. For instance, you may include the project manager’s name, name of the project, start date, deadline, potential delays, their plan to address the delays, a cew details about the project, etc. You get the idea. If possible, make it no longer than one page and give it to him on the same day every week for consistency. If you find that he has additional questions, ask him what information he would like to know going forward, then add that to your report.

      As his gatekeeper, there is something to be said about an “open door” policy. I love it when high level executives like to stay in touch with their staff. HOWEVER, ask visitors to make appointments when possible, even if it is for the same day. This way, your boss has control over his day and will not be continually interrupted with unexpected visitors. If someone unannounced just shows up and wants to see him, if he is not in a meeting, simply excuse yourself and quietly ask your boss if he would like fo see this person. Again, this will respect your boss’ time and not put him on the spot with people showing up in his doorway. You have a lot of experience and will be an excellent assistant to a CEO. keep me posted on how the interview goes. Hope this was helpful.


      • Nancy says:

        This is the toughest interview process I’ve ever been through! Met with the CEO today, and he indicated that the next step is a behavioral test wtih 250-300 questions. The process also included the initial interview and a “stress interview” with the CIO via Skype. Just the fact that I’ve gone this far, I’m told, is pretty impressive, but I’m wondering if you’ve been through a stress interview and if you have any tips for others who might have to go through one. Honestly, I’d rather have a root canal than go through that again.

  63. carmelita says:

    Wow your information was so useful! Thank you for sharing!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you so much for visiting my blog. I love hearing from all the assistants all over the world and so very grateful that the information in my blog is helpful. None of it is from a book; they are all original tips from my own experience. Thanks again. Have a great day.

  64. Ayane says:

    Hi, Thank you very much for creating this blog, the tips are extremely helpful. Could you please send me the log and also give me an idea on how i could reorganize certain things in the office. I am new in this department and would like to add my own input but the lady that was here before has done an extremely good job.I would also like to know if you could give me tips on how to handle multiple calendars. Thank you!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you so much for taking the time to write. Since you have not been in the position long and the person who preceded you was good, I recommend that you wear her shoes for a little while and get to know how things work first. Effective change occurs after you have been in a position for a while and understand the day to day operations and short and long term goals for your departmet. In time, you will be able to put your mark on things once you have a firm grip on how things are done. One thing you will be able to implement right away is the Call sheet which I will email to you.

      Hope this was helpful and pleae feel free to write again.


  65. Sheron says:

    Hi Pam
    Your blogs the best I’ve read in a long while. Many thanks for the time and effort you put into this and mostly for the great tips.

    I’m taking up a new role soon but have been asked to come in for a try out for one day. Any tips on what my focus should be on this try out day will be most appreciated as I’ve never done this before.

    Many thanks in advance

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Sheron. Thank you for visiting my blog and I am so happy that you found it helpful. For your trial day, that may be a good time to introduce my call log which I will email to you. Also, answer phones promptly and professionally as they will want to see how you handle yourself. If you are asked to type anything, make sure it is PERFECT and error free. Greet people with your name and never ACT like it is a trial. OWN IT and it will show in your performance hopefully resulting in a job offer. Good luck!!!

  66. Donna says:

    I love your blog. I am about to start work after a long sabbatical leave from the working world. I thank you for your insight and help on this. Keep those articles coming!

  67. Donna says:

    Could you also please email me the call log and anything useful for an EA. Thank you.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Donna. Thanks so much for reading my blog and taking the time to write. Good luck in your new position and feel free to refer to the blog for ongoing tips that will set you apart from the rest.

      I will also email you the call log. Stop by again and email me as often as you like.

  68. Weam NAtek says:

    Really a very good information buti have couple questions to you I will send an email to you soon

  69. jom says:

    Thank you! i wish i could learn more tips from you =)

  70. Shuaa says:

    A great blog !

  71. Michelle says:

    Great blog! Great advice! This has helped many assistants get an upper hand on their positions and responsibilities. Keep up the good work!

  72. Erika says:

    Love this blog, so useful, keep the advice and tips coming!:)

  73. I have to say that for the last few of hours i have been hooked by the impressive articles on this website. Keep up the good work.

  74. mariegrafrie says:

    Amazing! Thanks to your blog, I recognized that my bosses (I got 2) are both “Drivers”, I know how to handle them better now. Thanks!!!

  75. Lauren says:

    I love love love this site. It is refreshing to find likeness and passion for our industry. We are paid to make ourvboss or bosses’ lives easier, which will in turn make our jobs simple.

    I will be emailing for the call log.

    Regards, LQ

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    • latebloomergrads says:

      I am so glad that you took the time to write and tell me that you found the info in blog useful. All of the info is unique to my own experiences and knowledge and I laid it all out in a simple way to help Executive Assistants all over the globe. I also teach the info here in a live workshop and will bring it to businesses or organizations who want their office staff trained in Efficiency. Thanks again for writing.

  77. Geraldine Hunter says:

    I love your blog. I an administrative assistant at a university. I don’t really answer phones any more since I was diagnosed with a voice disorder (spasmodic dyspnonia). For 2 years, it was really bad, because I hardly had a voice at all. My boss and other executives are really understanding and I get lots of quiet work to do. But I still have to communicate. I am a little better now but my voice is really quiet and breathy. How can I be effective when I need to communicate because we are a big division and encounter people all the time that don’t know about my disability because you can’t tell by looking at me.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Geraldine. Since your bosses are so supportive, perhaps you could encourage people to contact you via email as your primary source of communication. I’m sure they would understand. Thanks so much for writing.


  78. Melanie says:

    Hello. I emailed you January 31st regarding a 30/60/90 day plan and received your reply that evening. I replied with the information to answer your question, but have not received a response. I am not sure if you received my reply or if maybe it was directed to you SPAM folder. Please let me know. Thank you!

  79. Melanie says:


    I have not received a reply yet. My interview has been scheduled for Monday. Have you had a chance to review the information that I emailed for the 30/60/90 day plan? Can you offer any advice?

    Thank you,

  80. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post!
    It’s the little changes which will make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I’m so glad that you found the information helpful. You’re right….it’s these little things that end up being a big deal in your role as an assistant. Good for you! : )

  81. KHUSHI says:


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Good for you for being proactive and taking the initiative to get more work. However, as a new EA, before you seek out more work, make sure that all of your previous work is 100% accurate, done and complete. The worse that can happen is that you ask for more work and your boss finds errors in your previous work. Also, before you ask your boss for additional work, check your own are and make sure that everything is filed, organized, prepared, etc. in an admin job, there is ALWAYS something to do to keep busy.

  82. Nikki says:

    Great Information!!!
    Every single technique you spoke about really does work!!! I’ve used them for man years.
    At my previous job I was the Facilities/Purchasing Manager, Credentialing Coordinator and Executive Assistant to the CEO. I worked for the company for 11 years and knew everything about the company, I was the GO TO person. The previous CEO (I was not his assistant) totally ruined the company and we lost all contracts. I became the executive assistant to the new CEO was came in to try to save the company. She and I worked so well together. She shared all information so I can always stay a step ahead of her. When she asked for something, I already had it ready for her. I took care of all her emails, make appointments for her. She followed any schedule I gave her to the T. We worked on projects together, we cried, we laughed together. She valued my opinions, welcomed all questions. She was such a great person to assist. Unfortunately, it was too late and she was not able to save the company. The administrative part of the company had to shut down and everyone was laid off. The clinical part of the company was taken over by another agency. Through the transition the CEO and I of course dealt the new agency often. Well, they were so impressed by me they offered me to be the Executive Assistant to two of the owners. These owners have never had an executive assistant so this position was so exciting to me, I was going to show them a whole other world and I was going to be in control. So much for that!!! These women are so self sufficient and do not communicate. I have no job description, every morning when they decide to come in I ask them if there is anything they need like coffee, water; if they have any projects they need me to work on; if they need help on what they are working with; they always reply “No, I’m good but thanks allot”. So I go my office, check their calendars, I add appointments, they change them, delete them and don’t tell me. I have access to their emails, I print them out ask them if they need me to reply or provide any information, the answer I get is no I already took care of it, and when I go back I see that it was done. They say they need to organize their office but they don’t have time. I tried to organize the files myself but since this is something we actually need to do together. They showed me how to generate some reports so they don’t have to do it. I do the reports and till this day they have not made time to sit down with me to review the reports, I still do them every month though; I also email the reports them monthly. They take days off and don’t tell me, they communicate with each other but forget to include me. I usually check on them around 3 pm to see if there is anything that needs to be done before the end of the day and allot of times they have already left for the day. They didn’t even say good bye. Most mornings they have been here for hours and I didn’t even know about it (my office is down the hall). I honestly don’t think they need an assistant and I’ve started looking for another job before they figure out they really don’t need me. What do you think about all this? Your opinions, thoughts and advice are much appreciated.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you for visiting my blog and for your support of the techniques given here.

      What a joy it must have been working for a CEO who communicated and acted like she was part of the team. That is an ideal situation and you were lucky to get that from a CEO. Now, you have two women who sound like they need an assistant it don’t have a clue how to utilize one. It also appears that they deliberately hoard the work to shut you out and keep you in the dark. It is also very catty and unprofessional for your bosses to disregard your input into their schedules and for them to delete info without telling you. Taking days off without letting you know is a little much! Totally disrespectful. What do you say to callers when you don’t even know they’re out? Did you interview with them before you got the job? It appears that they are deliberately keeping you in the dark and that is unacceptable and cripples you in doing your job.

      Can you transfer to another area of the company? Or do whatever you can and exhaust all measures to make it work and earn their trust. Perhaps, the 3 of you can have a working lunch and go over their expectations for you or if there is no job description, perhaps the 3 of you can develop one together.

      Thank you again for taking the time to write and share your story. Please write again or feel free to email me directly at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com.

  83. nikki says:

    The three of us having lunch and working on a job description is a perfect idea.

    As far as phone calls, they don’t get many. Their calls are not directed to me, the receptionist transfers all their calls directly to them as they have requested. Most just call their cell phones. My phone rings twice a day and that’s when one of the friendly girls let’s me know the Cuban espresso is ready.

    In the meantime, I will be sending out my resume to see what is out there for me. I feel confident that I will find that perfect job and CEO again.

    Thank you so much for your advice. I will keep you posted:)

    Nikki from Miami

    • Hi Nikki. I’m so glad you posted again. Before you send that resume out, suggest the meeting to create the job description. It doesn’t have to be at a restaurant, I would suggest ordering in some food and booking the conference room for about an hour and a half to two hours. I just hope that they don’t like the idea and leave you out of the process. Hang in there a little longer. They may just need some time to get used to having an assistant or getting to know you. Try breaking the ice by suggesting the business lunch where you all get together and come up with a job description. If you are successful in getting them to agree, have something already typed up to hand out as a guideline. It’s ok for you to take the initiative in this way, rather than have all of you show up empty handed, looking at one another as to who will speak first. This way, they will have something already in front of them showing what you are already doing and they can just add to it. They may have no idea what you do, so this would also educate them on what it is you’re already doing and let them add to it. Be sure to get their orders for lunch and have it delivered and set up in the conference room just before the meeting. Business meetings over food are always more preferable than sitting in a stuffy office with someone behind a desk.

      Also, feel free to make suggestions that you think may ultimately make them (and you) work more efficiently together to manage their time. Phone calls take up a lot of work time. Perhaps they would be comfortable steering some people over to the work phone to have you screen calls and perhaps handle issues that will save them time. Let me know how it goes. You sound like a smart cookie! You can do this!

  84. Nomes says:

    Hello All,

    After Temping for 4 years I have just landed my dream job, EA to a young CEO at a Not-for-Profit, I’m 57 and the average age of my fellow employees is 26.

    This first week has been quite daunting since it is a brand new position with no processes but I have come to understand what I need is to be highly organised using lists in separate folders, I have set up spread sheets for ongoing tasks and projects in those folders.

    Lucky for me the entire office have gone on a 2 week Study Tour so I have time to put in some processes for myself and the office in general. I am trying hard to understand/work with all the ‘Cloud’ data bases, passwords etc.; I’m used to switching between drives but not Cloud servers.

    During the interview with my prospective boss, after he explained what he needed, he asked what I thought, I replied: “What I think you need is an Office Mum!” Bingo, the job was mine.

    I did a google because I felt I needed a few tips and discovered this wonderful blog, I have read all the posts and have found the questions and your responses very helpful and interesting.

    Thank you.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      First, congrats on landing a job at the wonderful age of 57! Thank you for visiting my blog and I’m glad you found value in the comments and responses. So nice to hear from you.

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    there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems
    like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Many thanks!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thanks so much for writing and I’m so glad that you like my blog. I’m not quite sure if you are referring to my writing of this blog or writing In an admin capacity. But I will tell you this….when I was creating this blog, I was just writing about what I already knew. Just start writing what comes in your mind about the subject you are writing about. Although it is much easier when the topic is one that you are very well versed in. I wrote this blog in a conversational style as if I was talking to you guys personally, not in a boring text book style. But everyone has there own style.

      You will probably go back and revise, edit, change, etc. because tomorrow, when you have a fresh look at what you wrote today, you will likely change some things before you continue writing. Hope this helps and thanks again for writing.

  86. lizzette dominguez says:

    I came across this blog and i have found such good information in here. I am going to be applying for an executive assistant position and have found everythign in here very helpful. Would you please send me the phone call template? I think this would be great to use in any job. My email address is ldominguez@myrgh.org thank you so much

  87. lizzette dominguez says:

    I was wondering if you had any tips for a hospital executive assistan?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Lizzette, I would be happy to assist you but would request if you could please be a bit more specific and narrow down a particular issue and I would be more than happy to help you. Thanks.

  88. Britania says:

    Wonderful blog. Exactly the type of information needed by up & coming Executive Assistants.
    I will be starting a new Job within the next two weeks & no doubt, the information you have provided will be a great help. Keep up the good work!!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much Britania and congratulations on your new position. Keep checking back for updates on the blog. : )

  89. Angelina says:


    I’ve read your blog on the latebloomergrads website. Thank you for the tips! I have a question regarding working as an assistant to an Investment Advisor. If my boss has a book of 250 clients, how do I keep an up to date record of all his/her clients if my boss is mobile? If they need access to the file/documents as they are mobile, what is the most efficient way to keep/send the records for them?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Angelina. I finally got around to catching up on my emails and I really apologize for the delay. However, I am not sure that I understand what you are asking. Is your question about contacts or sending files. Sorry, please clarify. Thanks. : )

  90. Maria says:

    Dear Ma’am,

    First of all, I would like to congratulate you for the such good information. Thank you so much. I found it helpful.

    May I kindly ask you to provide me a copy of the call log template?

    Thanks again and kindest regards,

    Maria Meilak

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Maria. Thank you for writing. I am always so glad when I hear from my readers and you find the information that I’ve posted useful. I emailed you the call log and I sincerely apologize for the delay. Please feel free to write again. I love hearing from you guys!! : )

  91. Claire LeBlanc says:

    May I also get a copy of the call log sent to my e-mail address….thank you. This site is awesome and very helpful. Do you have any suggestions for organizing manual filing system for different types of legal agreements…. should I categorize and color code each category then add individual company folders in alphabetical order with their related catergory? Any suggestions welcome.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Claire. Thank you so much for writing. The key to great filing is to make it simple and easy for ANYONE looking or a file to be able to find it. Some assistants think that a complex filing system that they created is wonderful but if no one can find a file without them being there, it is not a good filing system. You, on the other hand have the right idea. If you have many categories, color code them and then file by alphabetical order. However, make sure it is clear what color is what. Great question. Thanks for writing.

  92. belle says:

    thank you so much for this blog, i have a boss who doesn’t like to offer anything to guests. i come from a school of thought that considers this to be downright rude plus it makes me very uncomfortable. How do i get him to see reason especially when he has to keep visitors waiting before attending to them?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and you are very welcome. Thank YOU for visiting the blog. I have to agree with you. Although it is not obligatory, it is considerate to offer guests a beverage if they are waiting. Perhaps your boss doesn’t want to offer but would not mind if you took that initiative. Do you know why he does not want to? Perhaps it’s just that he doesn’t want to do it himself but may not mind his assistant taking that initiative. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. Thanks again for writing. I really appreciate you guys!!

  93. blake stephanie says:

    Hi! I Love your blog!
    Is there a specific expense report form that you find most effective?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Stephanie. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I’m so glad you found it helpful. I haven’t worked as an EA in many years and have since moved to management, but since most expense reports are probably online now, I would think that each company has their own version of their expense report as part of their intranet. It’s likely to be already a prepared form that you just plug in the information and submit. If you have any other questions or need further assistance, just drop me a line at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com. : )

  94. Kylie Cox says:

    What such an exciting blog – I have bee headhunted and been given my second job as an executive assistant and am really interested in obtaining a copy of your phone log and also any information you would be willing to share on the 30/60/90 day plan as I want to ‘have a plan’ impress and reach my bonus at the conclusion of the first 6 months. I am about to start this new journey in two weeks…

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Kylie (I love that name). Thanks so much for writing. I really appreciate hearing from you guys. I’m going to email you the call log also. Frankly, I have never done a 30/60/90 plan and would find it difficult to advise on someone else’s simply because I have no idea what your tasks and projects would be. If it is required of you, someone will be there to assist you on what you should be focused on. If this plan is not required, I would focus more on the position and what projects or reports are upcoming in the position. Every EA position is very different so sometimes, it’s hard for me to nail down an answer that should be specific to your particular job. Feel free to email me again at any time. Thanks Kylie.

  95. Christine says:

    I love your blog! Can you tell me what to expect on the first week as an EA?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Expect to meet people and learn where certain departments and key people are located. It is difficult to say because every EA’s first week will be different since companies have their own ways of onboarding new employees.

  96. Paulette says:

    Very interesting blog! Lots of great information for EAs. I was wondering if you could e-mail me the call log too. Also, I have one question you may be able to help me with. During the interview, if I am asked how I plan to keep the VP and 8 of his reports organized, what is the best answer to this question?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Paulette. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for taking the to email me. I will also email you the call log as requested. In the meantime, to answer your question…..

      You could mention that you have a clever call log that will keep their phone calls logged and accessible on one sheet of paper that will show them in a snapshot the status of their call backs. Also, if you are supporting multiple people, I would create a separate folder for each on your computer with their names. Always save their work to their own folder. You can also say that you plan to meet every week with the VP for about 10 mins at the beginning of every week to plan the week and status updates so that the communication and expectations between you are always clear. This way you can also be clear on upcoming or impending deadlines and assist your boss so that they are met.

      These answers should be sufficient in giving a clear vision of your organizational and support skills. Hope this helps. : )

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Keeping 8 people organized can keep you quite busy. However, I can’t imagine that all 8 have the same amount of work. Some will be more, some less. Create separate folders for each on your computer and save their work in their own file. I would suggest that you meet weekly with the busiest of the 8 to prioritize and organize your week especially with the VP. His work should take priority. If you come across a conflict in deadlines, you should immediately communicate this to the lower level boss and offer to delegate the work or perhaps the deadline is not hard and fast. It may be a flexible deadline, but you won’t know if you don’t ask. Also, talk about the call log and claim it as your own. Speak about it as if you have been doing it for years and how it keeps your bosses organized and clutter free of those pesky pink message pads. The call log will allow him to see weeks of unanswered messages at a glance on one sheet of paper.

      So those are my recommendations to tell how you will keep them organized:
      1) separate computer files
      2) communication
      3) call log

      And you will probably think of some on your own. Good luck and thanks so much for writing.

  97. Mikesha Huntley says:

    Hello, I LOVE this blog. I have a job interview coming up very soon for an executive assistant to a executive director and 2 duty directors. I would like to bring a 30 60 90 day plan to the interview. It is a new position for the executives. I need some key points to address on my plans to show the executives how I can free up time for them and also show them I am the best candidate for the position.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so very much for visiting my blog and then taking the time to email me. I am thrilled to hear from you so let’s get started.

      Personally, I have never had to do a 30/60/90 plan. But what you can do to detail how YOUR efficiency and organizational skills will ultimately help your boss be organized. My blog is packed with ideas to discuss. For instance, adopt my call log and show your boss how he or she will be able to see weeks of unanswered phone calls at a glance. Also, talk about your attention to detail and how you follow up and double check meetings, flights, reservations, etc. the third thing you can talk about is your ability to anticipate needs and be proscti. But be able to back this up in your performance! Very important!

      Hit those points and talk about them with confidence like you have been using these methods for years. I think this is more effective than a 30/60:90 day plan. Please let me know how it goes.

  98. Lenny says:

    Loved reading your blog..it was so helpful..I just wanted to know what your suggestions were for when your boss does not want to answer someone on the phone..for example many times we get people calling for him that is just a waste of time for him to be talking to them and I know he does not want to talk to them but I am not sure what to say to the caller. I say let me take a message and phone number but some are very persistent to keep calling and wanting to talk to him and he really does not want to answer..

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Another excellent question! Here’s how you handle these calls:

      Be very polite, pleasant and professional with these callers. You never want to burn bridges in the business world. Simply tell them that he has their contact information but has been very busy and thank them for the call. This way you are not denying or confirming that he will call back, but simply tells the caller that their message was conveyed.

      Never burn bridges. I always say “Be careful of the toes you step on today, because they may be connected to the butt you’ll have to kiss tomorrow.”

      Thanks for a great question. Hope this helps.


  99. Nicole says:


    I am currently a Team Assistant, and the Executive Assistant is going on sick leave for two weeks and has nominated me to assist in her absence. She has been training me over the past month, although there is alot to learn – we only had time to go through everything roughly.

    Today is the first day she is on leave and I feel abit overwhelmed! Do you have any suggestions/tips of how I can really shine within the two weeks? And also keeping everything under control for both the EA role and my current TA role?

    I am very interested in progressing into an EA role and I want to stand out in my moment to shine!

    HELP ME!:)

    Your blog is very knowledgeable and I appreciate your assistance!

    Thank you in advance

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thanks so much for writing with this great question.

      I can imagine how overwhelmed you must feel on that first day. I can only hope that you were taking massive notes as you were being taught. Taking notes allows you to reflect back on a detail that you may have forgotten with all the information your brain was absorbing. Don’t worry too much about doing anything extra to shine….because if you can keep things afloat and moving efficiently, you will get your shine automatically. You want people saying “Wow everything went so smoothly with her in charge/” That alone will show people that you are skillful and able to manage work flow. But don’t be afraid to ask questions. Better to ask and do it right the first time, than screw it up and be corrected. : )

      Drop me a line and let me know how it’s going. Thanks so much for writing.

  100. AJ says:

    I’m beginning as an EA soon and would love a copy of the phone log emailed. Thank you!

  101. Patricia says:

    My name is Patricia Nakiwunga from Uganda. I was wandering about and landed on a very useful blog. Tips for efficient executive assistants.

    I’m due for an Executive Assistant interview in a week’s time. I have been looking for a good job for some time now and I really would love to come out the best candidate. I’m kindly requesting if you could be kind enough to take me through some of the questions that are usually asked at the Interviews?

    I appreciate your help.

    Thank you.

  102. Sylvia says:

    I’m a seasoned EA and enjoyed reading this as a refresher. Good stuff. Thanks.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Sylvia. Thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to comment. Glad to hear from you and the validation is awesome! Come back any time.

  103. Saskia says:

    Hi there, Congrats for the awesome blog! Your tips are very helpful. I wanted to ask you, how can I handle my boss’ lunch? I am told he does not like to be asked… He is vegetarian certain days… So, one day I tried to be proactive and ordered the usual food (Japanese), and he was irritated because he wanted pizza. He said he does not like to eat the same thing two days in a row. Nonetheless, he ended up eating pizza for three days in a row…. That day, I ended up buying his food (and eating it) because it was too late to cancel. FYI, he is an intellectual and he always closes his door… So far, it seems that emailing him is the best way to communicate, as he does not appreciate to be interrupted by phone (intercom) or while he is walking by -ever since he has his mind engaged with what he is printing out.- Help!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Saskia. Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to write. Your boss sounds like he doesn’t know what he wants. I agree with you about emailing him and was going to suggest that right before I read it. If you are or want to be responsible for his lunch, send a simple email that says “what do you feel like eating today? X or Z? This way you give him a choice and a say so in his own lunch without having to actually interact with you personally. He may not even want X or Z and may say get him Y. So be it. Good luck and come back and visit any time.

  104. homesweetharbor says:

    I am SO glad I found this post! I’m thinking of applying for an EA position and honestly am pretty intimidated! This has been super helpful, so thank you.

  105. EmprezBBmom says:

    Hi! So thankful I’ve found your blog, it is very informative & will really helped us to become an efficient EA. Hope you can send me the call log you’ve mentioned in there. Thanks once again & continue being an inspiration to all of us.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. I really enjoy reading and responding to the comments and questions and feel so glad that you guys find the info helpful. Look for the call log in your email and dont forget to use pastel colored paper. Thanks again.


  106. Julia Schmidt says:

    Very interesting blog. Congratulations. I have been working as PA and EA for many years and think it is always good to refresh our memory and systematize what we do. It would be nice receiving your phone log.
    All my best,

  107. Sandra says:

    Good Afternoon,
    In a week I will start working as EA this is my fist job as a EA so excited but at the same time very nervous, I will like to get the call log information and more of your tips will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much!

  108. Ms S Rams says:

    Hi there
    I am currently a PA and I will be moving onto the role of EA at a large international organisation. With all my confidence and zest, I have to admit I am a bit nervous but I am currently reading up on how to be an efficient EA and I came across your blog. Thank you so very much and God Bless.
    Kind regards
    S Rams
    South Africa

  109. Charlène Andréa says:

    Really intersting Blog! Very helpful. I feel less lost! I would like to have ur phone log too!

    My best,


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thanks Charlene. I am sending the call log to your email address. : )

      • Charlène Andréa says:

        I got it! Thanks one more time. It is my first job as Executive assistant for the CEO of a big group in Africa. I was very confused but now I feel confident because someone great had
        the smart and nice idea to share experience. Thanks for helping.

  110. Barb says:

    Very useful information. Good Job! I am an Admin. Asst. and I would please like a copy of your Call Log. I work for a Tax Firm and get numerous calls. Thank you in advance!

  111. Allie says:

    Hi there,
    I’m currently working as an administrative assistant for a small church office. There are only about 10 employees, and although I have one direct supervisor, it is my job to serve as an assistant to each of the pastors & the communications director.
    I am actually in a temp-to-perm situation at this point, and while the feedback has been excellent, I was just wondering if you have any ideas on how to really make myself stand out. Are there any special projects or overhauls you can think of that I could take on? Something beyond the day to day stuff that will really make them see I would be an asset to the team as a permanent employee.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      I get specific questions like this a lot. But since I have no way ofknowing your tasks, it is impossible for me to tell you about a project. My advice to be noticed is to do your job well. It’s that simple. Some assistants trying to get hired believe that you have to do something over the top to get noticed, but that is not always true. Most employers are just looking for a reliable, responsible, efficient and talented admin professional. Get the job done as a temp, but work hard like you’re a permanent employee. Once they see consistency and efficiency, someone will notice. Perform their tasks by using my tips and you will be just fine. That is what will get their attention. Good luck.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      I get specific questions like this a lot. But since I have no way ofknowing your tasks, it is impossible for me to tell you about a project. My advice to be noticed is to do your job well. It’s that simple. Some assistants trying to get hired believe that you have to do something over the top to get noticed, but that is not always true. Most employers are just looking for a reliable, responsible, efficient and talented admin professional. Get the job done as a temp, but work hard like you’re a permanent employee. Once they see consistency and efficiency, someone will notice. Perform their tasks by using my tips and you will be just fine. That is what will get their attention. Good luck.

  112. Sherry says:

    I’m beginning as an EA soon and would love a copy of the phone log emailed. Thank you!

  113. Sherry says:

    Thank you so much for sending the phone log, that was really helpful. Would you please send me anymore helpful templates you might have such as, phone contact list, daily or monthly planner,… et,whatever can help me to be organized.You are doing an awesome job as for me, much appreciated.

  114. Susana Miguel says:

    Although many of the tipps may be known, it is great to find them listed and detailed here.
    Makes me review my performance and find new ways to tackle the everyday duties, going the extra-mile whenever possible as well!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Best regards.-

  115. Hazel Crawford says:

    Thanks for the blog and the really useful tips, some of which I already use. It’s helpful to know why we need to use them just in case you have to explain to a colleague or to use as an example in an interview (I’m currently job hunting). I also use a work log so that me and my boss know where we are with a situation, what was agreed and any current developments. In my last job I used to meet twice a week and take the work log with me. I’d go through the work log, update it by writing what the situation was from both perspectives and then type it up again, updating it daily as I go. Each log was then kept as a record of what we’d agreed the situation was. It proved useful if my boss or I forgot where we had got to (particularly useful when you do forward planning or situations lay dormant for months) and is a proactive way of supporting both your boss and your admin colleagues (in case you’re off work for any reason). It was also ideal as part of a handover and formed part of my systems practice, which is something I’m passionate about.



    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Hazel. Thanks so much for reading my blog and for sharing the use of your log. I hope you are successful at finding a job. The unemployment rate is still tragic. If you like, you can post your city and town and maybe one of my readers will support you with a lead or referral to a position. Also, use your Linked In account to network and search for jobs there (assuming you have one). I wish you well, friend.


  116. Gwenda says:

    Dear Jane

    Thank you for sharing your tips. I think we sometimes forget that a large proportion of our role of PA/EA is just common sense and requires us to place ourselves in the shoes of the executive. Equally it is just as easy to become complacent without giving some thought to being as proactive as we possibly can. For example, I particularly enjoyed your piece about booking the restaurant before your executive finished his phone call (assuming you are in earshot). Thank you again.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you for writing and yes, I was within ear shot of my boss when that happened. Our offices were connected, only separated by a door. I appreciate you taking the time to write in and comment.


  117. C. Raines says:

    Can you send me the phone log? Thank you!

  118. Lyn says:


    I need your help. I was laid off for a yr and dire straits to be employed as unemployment retired. I took an admin position job. I was quite reluctant but I really had to choice as I was given a job offer. Just 3 months in this fast paced biotech company where 80% are contractors (i am one of the contractors) and hundreds of molecules are in clinical studies – the dept is FULL ON BUSY! I have this one boss who color coordinates his mtgs, when yellow it means reschedule. Though, I feel stuck most of the time bc ill end up rescheduling on an average of three times. I’m getting the feeling he doesn’t want to attend the mtgs bc he’s not prepared or avoiding the ppl he’s scheduled to meet. He told my admin boss I need to be proactive and not bombard him w/ emails asking if this mtg could be moved or cancel. I had a mtg w my admin’s boss who told me 5 TIMES during our touch base that not all ppl are made to do this type of job and that I need to should already understand the company’s culture. I honestly felt like the guy whom I manage his cal threw me under the bus and made me look incompetent. I think he does a poor job in communicating w me. Can you suggest how I should handle this?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Ok this is quite an ordeal and I think you right about your boss trying to dodge and avoid meetings by having you constantly rescheduling them. This is a huge mismanagement of your time. Perhaps in the 2nd time that he reschedules, you could ask him if he would like you to communicate that he is unavailable for a certain period of time (let him determine that) and that they will be contacted when he becomes available. This buys him time them off his back and now you won’t have to continue rescheduling meetings needlessly.

      Also,mI do not blame you one bit for accepting this job and how dare someone tell you what position is a good fit for you. PROVE THEM WRONG by being the utmost professional and efficient assistant you can be. be. Be a gatekeeper for your boss and figure out how to keep him out of meetings he has no intentions of attending. But first get his blessing before proceeding with this plan. So sorry you had to wait so long for my reply. My notifications somehow turned off. Let me know how it goes. You can reach me by email also at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com.


  119. Jme says:

    I work as an assistant for the owner of a small family owned roofing company. My boss goes to in home appointments to prospective customers and I need help with scheduling his appointments. Right now I need to look up each address and hopefully put together leads in the same area so he doesn’t have to run all around town. but sometimes people reschedule and it takes me forever to try and reschedule and even just getting the schedule together period takes forever and is the most stressful put of my job. I need help and instructions of an easy way to schedule his in home appointments fast and effectively. PLEASE HELP!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi. I needed to read your posts a few times to make sure I understand what you are asking. So YOU have to find the leads for him to go out and visit? That seems like a lot of running around and phone calls. Try the website Tulsa.com. You can type in an address and it will give surrounding home addresses?

      But perhaps your boss can up the ante on his marketing. Cold calling and going door to door may not be the only way to gain clients. Vistaprint.com offers loads of marketing products. Has he tried door knob hangs? A referral program to get existing clients to refer their friends and neighbors? Does he have a Social Media page like Facebook? What about a newsletter giving tips on roof care or other handy advice with his company name and number all over it? Does he have a web presence? What about Sunday paper inserts? Send out holiday cards offering a $100 gift card for referrals who purchase a new roof or whatever. The $100 is already built into the price and provides an incentive for existing clients to do some of the leg work.

      Email mr at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com if I can be of further assistance.


  120. LearningontheFly says:

    Hey, thanks for the great post! I recently started as an EA for a small, but extremely bustling business. I have no admin experience but I’ve been learning on the fly and thing are going about 90% great. The 10% I’m struggling with is what to do when I’m out of options. Example: I book flights for the boss and I know he strongly prefer aisle seats. I can choose aisle seats for 3 out of 4 legs, but the airline website for some reason won’t let me set a preference for the 4th. When I call them it’s because there are none left but they will update his preference. When I check him in and print his boarding passes, I see that leg 4 is a middle seat–which he hates!

    I feel like there must be a better way to deal with this then giving him his boarding passes and saying “sorry, I couldn’t get you an aisle seat for the 4th leg”. Then he’s leaving with a bad impression.

    Anyway, there is stuff like that which happens more often than I like–things go wrong that are out of my control (and I’m learning to exhaust all options before calling it defeat). Any tips?

    Thanks again! I’m sure I will have many more questions.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi there and thanks for writing. I wasn’t too sure what a 4th leg meant. But here’s what you do. Next time you have to book a flight for him, acknowledge this problem with him and assure him that you always try to get his first preference of an aisle seat and are well aware that he dislikes the middle seat. Assure him that although you know this, sometimes there may be times when aisle seats may not be available, which shifts your priority to getting him A SEAT on the plane. Offer your apologies that this occurs and leave the conversation with him having the understanding that some things are just out of your control.

      Note: when you make your apologies in advance, be clear that you are not apologizing for anything that YOU’VE done. You are simply apologizing for the inconvenience for him having to sit in the middle. You don’t actually SAY this, but you convey it in a way that exemplifies your competences and acknowledges his inconvenience. Hope this helped.


  121. Anita says:

    Hello, and thank you for writing this blog! You give great tips. I am starting a new position as an EA with a Human Resources department and would love a copy of your phone log. Also if you use any other templates for recording info., taking notes, making lists etc. I would love to use them as a resource as we’ll. -Thanks in advance!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and congrats on your new position. Check your email for the call log. Unfortunately, I don’t have templates because every EA and PA position is completely different and not a one size fits all. So feel free to use your creativity and create one that suits your needs dear friend. Thanks again.


  122. Kyaw says:

    This is a great blog. I just accepted an exe assistant position and this is a career change for me. you blog is really useful for me. Thank you for sharing tips. Can you send me the call log please? And I also want your helpful formats or templates. I’m sure it will help me a lot at my new position. Thank you again. You are AWESOME!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much! Check your email for the call log. But so sorry…I don’t have templates because every EA position is different and generic templates are not always useful in every job. So I encourage you guys to get creative and build your own power templates to show your efficiencies. YOU GUYS are awesome! Thanks again for writing.


  123. Tran says:

    Thank you very much for your posting. I really enjoy reading your tips and found it very interesting. I emailed you this morning for further advices. Please help check out my message. Could I have your name? I couldnt find your name in the post. I dont think latebloomergrads is a name😉. Once again, Its very precious to read your experience and sharing as well.

  124. Tran says:

    Sorry to spam you again. I put my comments and ask for yr support sincerely but i donnot know why my comments are still under your moderation. I havent received any feedback from you. What was wrong with me while others were received the feedback right after they sent you a post. Just feel to be treated differently. Thank you

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi. So sorry. Did not mean to neglect you. My notifications for comments didn’t seem to be getting through so I got a little backed up. Please resubmit your question and I promise to answer. Thanks so much.


    • latebloomergrads says:

      So sorry. I emailed my responses to you and you should have them now. Thanks so much for writing.


  125. blondegrrl says:

    I was an EA for many years supporting Fortune 500 CEOs throughout my career – I am now retired. Your blog is fantastic and so beautifully comprehensive and organized. You must have been (or still are) one heck of an EA!!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Wow! Thank you so much! I actually started the blog in October 2008 with absolutely no purpose. I just started typing stuff from my head that I knew from working as an EA for 20 years. I had NO IDEA that once I went live that my blog would be so popular worldwide! It has been fun hearing from everyone and assisting them in any way that I can. I answer every email and comment personally. So I say THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kind words.


  126. Michelle Norkin says:

    Amazing information! The webpage for the world clock is such a great find!! Thank you!!

  127. Debbie M. says:

    Thank you for such helpful information. I was wondering if you have suggestions when one of your colleagues isn’t pulling her weight. I support the CEO and Board and we have a team of 3 EAs supporting VPs. One of the EAs pulls down the office through attitude, personal business during work, unprofessional comments/remarks, etc. all of which has been brought to the attn of the current and former VP, with only temporary behavior changes and an even more terse attitude not always “behind the scenes”. This behavior has been condoned/tolerated and I fear we are about to lose a very good EA whose workspace is adjacent to this person’s. A direct approach would only be seen as confrontation and would create more tension . Any suggestions for dealing with a challenging colleague? Thank you!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Great question! You didn’t mention if you were friendly with her but consider having lunch with her and over lunch, talk to her about how you feel and the affects on the output of work, general morale of her coworkers and work environment due to her attitude. But don’t do it in a confrontational or accusatory manner. Ask if there’s anything in particular that irritates or annoys her at work and offer her a helping and if necessary. Wrap up the conversation in an upbeat fashion, but try to get her to commit to changing up her working style so that the everyone benefits, including her. Privately speak to the other assistants and fill them in so they understand what is going on.

      Give the attitude girl 30 days to show that she is a team player and WANTS to cooperate. HOWEVER…if after 30 days, you see little to I change, you and the other assistants should bring it to the attention of your bosses but when doing so, don’t come across as complaining but simply focus on the affect of the business, clients and office. But who knows, maybe her boss is happy with her and that’s why they tolerate her behavior. Big mistake when management allows a toxic employee to stay and in the process loses the good ones.


  128. Toni says:

    Dear Jane,

    This is the first time I have read your blog and I really enjoyed it. I am currently and Executive Assistant and have been in the admin field for over twenty years. The one thing that caught my attention is that you have you have gone back to school for your Masters in Organizational Leadership. I am currently in school pursuing my Masters in Organizational Leadership as well. The one thing I struggle with is after I complete my Masters do I want to continue working in the admin field or is there something else out there for me.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you for writing. Congrats on pursuing your Masters Degree in Leadership. I decided years ago that I no longer wanted to be an assistant, I wanted to have one. So I’ve been in management for the last few years. For you, ask yourself if after you get your degree, do you still want to be an admin professional? There is nothing wrong with the profession should you choose to stay. But if you choose to go into management, maintain all of your admin skills because they always come in handy. Good luck.

      Pam (not Jane)

  129. Toni says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words and I apologize for calling you Jane.

  130. Laura Mel Lazzano says:

    When i saw the first comment on the blog that was dated 2009 i said to myself “oh no! she doesn’t blog anymore”, but i was happy to see your latest comment was recent, which means you still follow your blog and followers (i’m one of them!)
    You are a TRUE BLESSING to all those that come across your blog!
    I have been hired as an EA for a big company in Rome that works with the ministry on environment and the first thing my boss told me to do is “study the tecnical terms of the equipment we use”.
    I will be going from organizing board of directors with translation from/to english/italian, to ordering his lunch.
    I would love to have a copy of your useful call log and hope you can find a minute to send me one, it would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thank you so much and please keep posting these incredibly useful tips!
    Laura from Rome (Italy)

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Laura. How nice of you to write to me. Yes, I am very involved in my blog and love hearing from you guys. Thank you so much for your kind words. Check your email for the call log and feel free to write in any time.:)


  131. Adri says:

    Hallo Pam, Thank you for an interesting blog. May I also have a copy of your log please.
    Thank you

  132. Gwenda says:

    Hello Pam

    I too have been reading your blog with great interest. I have been working with Directors for over 15 years now. Having been out of work since December 2012, I needed to do some motivational reading to assist me before re-entering the workplace, so it’s great to be able to find that here.

    I’ve just been offered a permanent role starting at the end of November. The role is a new one and therefore a great opportunity to put my own stamp on it. What better way to do it than to pick up new skills and ideas from your blog. Would you send me a copy of your call log please.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Gwenda. Thank you so much for writing and keeping up with my blog. I am always so happy to hear from each and every one of you who write in. Congrats for landing that job and I am so sorry that you were out of work for so long. But now, you are going to bounce back better than ever!

      Many assistants who landed new jobs, write in and ask how to make a good impression and highlight their skills. My advice to you gloriously talented professionals is to first learn the job and if being trained, TAKE NOTES! Don’t rely on your memory or say you understand something if you don’t. Trust me….your notes will save you if you take down step by step accurate information. Once you start knowing your job, you will be able to put your stamp on it. But remember that in the beginning, stay alert, consistent, punctual and flexible. You’re going to blow their minds in a few months! If you like, follow my blog to get updates as I will be adding new info shortly.

      Thanks again for writing. I really appreciate hearing from you. Check your email for the call log.


  133. Samantha L says:

    This is an excellent synopsis of the proactive attitude that separates the layman from the professional. This kind of attention to detail is something that a select few people naturally have. Luckily, it is a skill that can be learned and, with practice, perfected. Either way, your blog is an excellent description of the ‘little things’ that separate a professional executive assistant from an administrative assistant. I do the hiring for my boss and I especially liked the suggestion to get a professional email address such as first name, last name @ xxx. Those addresses that are immature and inappropriate are a sure way NOT to get hired. Nicely done!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so very much. I am always so pleased to hear that my tips are helping others. Back in 2008 when I started this blog, I had no idea that it would become so popular worldwide. I really enjoy hearing from you guys and hope to keep adding to the blog whenever I think of new situations or ideas that others might find useful. Thanks again.


  134. Rebecca Hillingborth says:

    Hello, I find your site very useful. In the past, I have been an administrative assistant for 35 years off and on. My administrative skills have helped me to gain some valuable experience that I have been able to transfer to other jobs. The past 10 years, I have not worked as an assistant; however, after relocating from another state, I had to take a job as an administrative assistant. I like the work and the culture, but I have noticed that the administrative assistants do not work together. It is difficult to communicate with the other administrative assistants because they typically will not respond to messages. I have had to work with several of them to schedule meetings for my boss, they all have different protocal – some leave their managers calendar availability open while others hide it. When the availability is restricted from others to see, you have to contact the assistant to request availability. When you contact for availability they do not respond for days or sometimes not at all. I Howe do you handle this type of situation? I’m interested to receive your feedback on this. What is your suggestion for this type of scenario?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Rebecca. That is an interesting scenario. It sounds like there is definitely a communication issue in the office that needs to be resolved. The other assistants’ refusal to respond to messages affects the business indirectly because it delays meetings from being confirmed or rescheduled. Definitely a no no in the profession of office administration.

      Is there an office manager or someone in charge who you can go to privately and ask for a admin staff meeting or collective lunch so this can be addressed? Who knows how long this has been going on or why. The point is that it needs to be addressed and resolved so that you’re all working together on the same page and getting things done without delay. This is a situation where I would love to come in and do a workshop to try and fix this problem. Have you tried talking to them about it and offering a solution? (When possible, more often than not, if you see a problem, have a solution to go with the problem). This way, when/if you speak with them, you can address the ISSUE not the person and then offer up a solution to the problem.

      It’s a little harder to offer a solution when it involves a group of people with me not knowing the variables that have contributed to the problem in the first place. But if you have an office manager who can address it collective (in a productive way), let him/her handle it OR pick one of the assistants who you feel a connection with and speak with her about the issue without sounding like you’re pointing fingers but simply to put a system between you in place that will make things run smoother.

      Email me at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com if you are in New York and maybe I can arrange a training session if your company approves of it. Thanks so much for writing in and I hope I advice that you can use.


  135. Pingback: Tips For the Efficient Executive Assistant | Second Street Assistant

  136. Sunitha says:

    hi – a great blog. I commenced a position as EA for a reputable international concern. I am based in South Africa. Combined skills of personal assistant, secretary and admin for 28 years so I guess the role of EA was to be easy peasy but i found the thought very daunting. I came across your blog which is informative, friendly and very apt for us “EA starters” Frustrating part of current EA position is the calendar invites. Due to my CEO travelling extensively, I have colleagues from around the world requesting telecom times; so i have found a wonderful site for time conversion for all countries so i am currently winning. Thank you once again imparting your expertise, gainful knowledge and wonderful serenity to us all – God Bless
    Ms S Patel
    South Africa


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you for visiting my blog. I also provide a worldwide clock site in the blog if it’s helpful to you. But I’m glad that you and so many find the information helpful and useful. Feel free to visit any time.


      • Debbie says:

        hi there. I attended a workshop you gave this morning and found it to be very helpful…thank you !

      • latebloomergrads says:

        Hi Debbie. Thank you so much for coming and I am so glad you found the info helpful.


  137. Laura says:

    Extraordinary ! I will just start on Monday as an Administrative Assistant, your info will help a lot. Could I please get a copy of the log?

  138. Mersha Rose says:

    Great tips! I am also starting as an executive assistant and I need all the help I can. So glad I was able to read your blog. Many thanks for sharing.
    Could I also get a copy of the call log? Thanks!

  139. Roseanne says:

    Dear Pam
    II have been an EA working only for CEO’s for more than 35 years and have loved every single part of my job. All of my bosses have been great. All of my positions have been long term; The unfortunate part was the companies were sold leaving me job hunting with the President. I have been job hunting since 2011 and finding it very difficult to find a job at my level. My level meaning compensation. The other problem I am facing is my age and years of experience (over qualified). I have been told I am the full package but it’s difficult for me to land a position. I have a lot to offer a Company if given a chance. Do you have any suggestions for someone at my level? I am becoming extremely concerned since it has been 2 years since I have been working other than doing personal booking at home for one of my previous bosses.
    Your suggestions and feedback is greatly appreciated.

  140. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the great blog – fabulous ideas! Just an FYI, in the Itineraries section, the example assistant’s name changes.

    Have a great new year!


    “New!! Itineraries
    You: ”Good afternoon. Bill Smith’s office, this is Lisa.”
    Boss: ”Hey Lisa, I don’t have time to talk, my phone died with my schedule in it and I left the itinerary you gave me in the cab. It’s now 1:00pm and I don’t know where my 2:00pm meeting is!”
    Boss: “No, that’s all. Thanks so much. OK gotta run. Thanks again RUTH.””

    • latebloomergrads says:

      LOL thanks so much for pointing that out. The names aren’t important though, just the concept. However, as soon as I catch a free moment, I will change it. Thanks so much.

  141. Terri says:

    I love this blog! Great tips/suggestions, I have bookmarked it! I have been an admin for a team of 1 manager, 1 supervisor and 15 Facilities technicians, for the past 4 years. Tomorrow I start my new job, as an Executive Assistant! Super excited, will definitely continue to follow your blog!

    I would love to have a copy of your call log! Thank you in advance!


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Congrats on your new job! That’s awesome! And thanks for following. I will also send you the call log via email.

  142. Jasmine Wright says:

    This blog is the BEST! I am an admin assistant reaching out for growth as an EA and these tips were gems I will always remember (especially since I printed them). Thank you so much!
    Could you shed light on how admin assistants can reach out as executive assistants by way of their resume and interview process, if you haven’t already?

    Thank you again.


  143. Sandra says:


    I really LOVE your blog!!! I was wondering the difference between an AA and an EA, as well as the different details to pay attention to. Your blog has answered my questions! And after reading your blog and a myriad of the comments/replies, I ended up having more questions.

    I’d like to know how one should proceed to plan AND organize events (e.g. office party, fundraisings, charity balls, award shows, receptions, luncheons, etc). – This would be great to add as a section of your blog -.

    I’m also interested in the emotional part of being an EA. By that I mean, what to do to feel “at home” in a job and not have this feeling that I don’t belong there – and therefore constantly feel anxious on the job and feeling that I can’t settle in one place, and that I’ll be out of that job soon for whatever reason -.

    Does working for an executive, as an administrative assistant, automatically means you’re an EA, and therefore your title should be that of an EA – as well as the salary that comes with it. (I’ve noticed a lot of job postings that are for administrative assistants and which stipulates that it’s to work for an executive. The logical side of me says that it should be called EA and not AA and feel that they may be using the term AA in order to avoid paying the salary of an EA. I’m I correct? Can you bring clarifications, please, because at the beginning of the post you said that “It’s not what you do, but how.”. Then again, I see many EA job postings and see that the job description differs from that of an AA..-)

    When discussing/negotiating your salary during an interview, is it okay to ask for a signing bonus? If so, how much one should ask for? And is asking for a signing bonus a current practice? Are there other matters that should be asked/reviewed before agreeing to take on a position as an EA (or even as an AA)?

    And lastly, could you please send me a copy of your call log? (It would be great if you’d put it on your blog so that people can download it instead of having to email you – it would save you time and the hassle to do it for every single person)

    Thank you so much in advance for your reply and the call log!!!

    I’ve already bookmarked your blog and will be returning often to see the new things you ad to it!!!

    Best regards.


    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Sandra. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the great questions which I will tackle one at a time:

      1. For events, parties, etc. there is a lot involved and many, many details that go into planning big events. Every event is different First, ask if they have people in mind already from previous events who you may be able to contact to help plan. Is there a budget? If so, you will have to plan according to the budget given to you. There will be many, many details that will have to be planned and followed up to pull off an exciting and fun event that the company will remember. The largest Christmas party I planned and organized had a theme with entertainent, caterers, decoraters, etc. When employees came in, the place was transformed into an exclusive night club (and it was just a huge dining room on the executive floor. So be creative, stay on top of every detail and throw a party, event, etc that will have them talking for years to come!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      I almost forgot the rest of your questions. I’m not sure what you mean about the emotional part of being an assistant. It may be that you lack the confidence in your ability and feel that you don’t belong there and they may fire you. To help build your confidence, remember that it was YOU who got the job and you prrobably beat out quite a few other candidates, so obviously they saw something in you. NOW….you have to live up to their expectations by performing on a level that is efficient and reliable. You should feel more “at home” once you know what to do and have learned the job. Everyone feels out of sorts on a new job. But don’t worry. Stick with it and learn as much as you can, then do it better than anyone else.

      Companies who post jobs for an “administrative assistant” vs “executive assistant” can decide what they want to call the position. Sometimes it is possible that the title will be AA and you will be working for an executive. That is not uncommon. Don’t get too involved withthe title because whatever your title is, you want to PERFORM on an excutive assistant level. That’s what will make you stand out from the other assistants if they are not doing the same. Remember, it’s not what you do but HOW you do it. The way you answer the phone, the way you dress, the way you carry yourself, speak, interact with other employees, etc. The executive professional performs on a higher level at all times, not matter what their actual title is.

      Asking for a signing bonus on the AA or EA level is typically not done. Usually, high level executives are offered signing bonuses to entice them into the position. I would stay away from asking for a signing bonus, as it might turn off the hiring manager. Questions, you could ask while interviewing could be “Are there any pending projects that would require immediate attention?” to show that tyou are interested in knowing what’s important in that position before you even start. Always tailor your questions towards the position and not so much what you want. Of course, if you get an offer and it’s a low ball, you are allowed to counter offer and see if they will agree to it. But signing bonus, not really.

      The call log is on it’s way to you and YES…..I had planned to make it available via a dowwnload and hope to have that done soon. Thank you. Hope this was helpful.

  144. JenJenn says:

    I am the EA for a company where we all work from home. So I’m assisting my boss, but from 45 minutes away.

    I work 30 hrs a week and have 2 other assistants who work 10 and 15 hrs a week. I’m trying to create tasks they could do to help our boss become more efficient. Do you have any suggestions of things we could do FOR him that he isn’t already doing?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      So sorry for the delay in my response. It has been very busy. Are you still doing this job? If so and you still need help, email me at letterstomyfather@yahoo.com with a bit more information about your job so I can determine what you could be doing. Every admin position is different. Thanks and I look forward to your email.

  145. Beneta says:

    Great tips/suggestions & I love this blog!
    I would like to have a copy of your call log

    • latebloomergrads says:

      So sorry for the delay. It has been very busy. I just emailed you the sample call log and you can recreate and adjust it any way you like.

  146. Amazing Article! Beautifully described our profile, nature of work & situations. Indeed a great work!

  147. Nikki says:


    I just go hired for an EA position in an IT Consultancy Firm, I’m a little nervous but I’m also very excited. Being EA to the COO makes me worried since i don’t have much experience, I want to be able to do well, reading your blog really helped.:) Can you please email me the call log as well?

    All the best,

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Nikki, thank you for your comment and for visiting my blog. I emailed you a sample of the call log which you can recreate any way you like.

  148. Tanu says:

    Hi. Can I get a sample of your call log?

  149. Sunny says:

    This has been very helpful today

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thank you so much. I’m so glad that my tips are useful to so many assistants. I appreciate your comment.

  150. Ericka says:

    Hello! Congratulations on such an awesome blog! Very insightful and well written! I will be starting my first job as an EA for the VP of Operations in two weeks and I am extremely excited. I definitely want to WOW my new boss by having some of my own practices in mind (or yours:) ). Could you forward me a copy of the phone log mentioned in this article? Also, I understand I will be utilizing excel a little more than I am used to. Do you have any suggestions as to where i can get some great practice online? Thanks so much for your time.

    Best Regards,

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Erikaa. Thank you for writing. Feel free to take any of my tips and techniques and use them to wow your boss. The call log is on its way to you shortly. Also, to learn excel in a quick, easy way, go to youtube.com and you can find just about everything you need to know about excel. How do you think I learned? lol Good luck on your new job.

  151. Thao Nguyen says:

    Your blog is really interesting and useful to me. I have a number of years working in administration service support for non-profit organizations and now I really want to settle down to develop my career in business environment. With obtained experience I am confident to serve the EA position well and I am open to learn all the needed skills. Your blog help me to imagine and prepare myself in that way. I started by applying for EA position and waiting for good news,:). I am very grateful if I can have your advice on my career change, what should I need to convince the interviewer. by the way, can you share me your call log mentioned?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      When applying for an EA position, your skills, demeanor, mannerism and professionalism are all taken into account. You must be able to deliver all that you say you can do. Never say “I’m a people person.” That means nothing to interviewers who want to know just exactly what skills and innovation you bring to the company. So brush up on your computer, organization, telephone and communication skills and get that job! You can do it.

  152. thea says:

    Hello, thank you for your great article. It is very comprehensive. I have questions to ask. How can a PA handle working with a very eccentric boss? Its a real bother to me as I have worked with one for 2 years now and I know we all have flaws, I do and try to work on them and make myself better. I try to be efficient, timely, proactive and effective. I am not trying to praise myself but the question is, when you really work hard at being the best in your field and everyone around you and your very self even the eccentric boss know you are good at what you do yet how do you handle situations when all efforts put into being better is thwarted and you experience verbal and emotional assault daily? How do you handle being told daily that you are incompetent and irrelevant to the growth of a company that you watched grow with your effort and contribution, How do you handle being told daily that you are being done a favour to have the job you worked hard for even when you know you are overly qualified for it? How do you do it?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Thanks so much for writing. It sounds like you have a challenging environment that goes beyond my reach. However, no one should have to work with verbal and emotional abuse in the workplace. Perhaps you can sit your boss down and let him know that you don’t appreciate being spoken to in that manner and if there are areas that he thinks you should improve upon that you are open for contructive criticism. If the abuse continues, you may want to consider changing jobs.

    • Rochelle says:

      I’ve worked for a boss just like this, and I was feeling the same exact way. Eventually I stuck up for myself to the boss and explained that the way he talked to me was unprofessional and disrespectful. My boss actually apologized and made an effort to not be so rude. Unfortunately some people will never change, but it’s better to stand up for yourself, instead of getting walked all over.

      • latebloomergrads says:

        Good for you! It’s just a shame that someone has to work at NOT being rude. Hope things get better. Thanks so much for visiting.

  153. Debbie Holloway says:

    Hello! I am so happy to have found your blog. I start my new job on Monday as an EA for three executives, and I know I will need plenty of help to succeed in this position as this is my first time as an EA.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi Debbie. Congrats on your new position and thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope you will find my tips and techniques useful in your new position. Please feel free to email me directly if you need specific help. Thanks again.

  154. Kiesha says:

    Recently taken a position as an assistant to a director in the human services field. YOur information was extremely helpful. One question I do have is ways to stay organized. What advice can you give on this? Any tips would be helpful.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi and thank you so much for writing. I really enjoy hearing from my readers and thank you all so much. Staying organized is an essential part of an EA’s responsibilities. Since there are so many aspects of organization, it would be helpful if you could narrow it down to what it is you need help organizing. Let me know and I will answer promptly. Thanks so much again.

      • latebloomergrads says:

        Sure. Check your email for a copy of the call log. I’m still working on making it downloadable. Thanks for writing.

  155. Valerie Rosas says:

    I am so grateful to you for posting these tips! They are all very helpful. Thank you and keep em’ coming!

    • latebloomergrads says:

      You are very welcome. I appreciate each and every one of you who stops by to read my tips then takes the time to leave a comment. Thank you so much for that. Pam

  156. Liz says:

    Good Afternoon –
    Would you mind sending me your template for the phone log? I think this is a great idea. I would like to incorporate it into my office. Thank you.

  157. Prince Tasker says:

    I truly learnt a lot from ur write-up. Am a novice at administration but recently got a job as an executive assistant. pls, kindly share write-ups dat will help me grow on d job. thank u.

    Again, my boss ask me to draw up his job schedule. how do I go about dat.

    • latebloomergrads says:

      First, thank you so much for visiting my blog. Unfortunately, since I know nothing about your job, task or responsibilities, I have no idea how to advise you. If you like, you can email some details and I will be happy to respond. Also, as an Executive Assistant, in order to be viewed as professional and be respected by one’s peers, please never use the word “dat” for “that”. You will likely be composing letters and that would not look professaional at all. Hope you’re ok with this advice. Thanks again.

  158. Paulette says:

    Hi Pam, how do I effectively manage my boss busy and hectic calendar?

    • latebloomergrads says:

      Hi. Ideally, I would like a bit more information about your position and responsibilities so that I can customize my answer to you. Do you use Outlook? Outlook is a great way to stay organized and to remind you of meetings, trips and things to remember. Does he keep a black apptointment book or does he use a web based calendar. I would need to know this information to advise you correctly. Please feel free to write again.


  159. Stephen Clark says:

    If I had read this on your blog before I went for a written test at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the position of an Executive Assistant, I would have got the job. Everything they required me to do in the test, I have just read in your blog. I lost the job because I never had knowledge of what is required from an Executive Assistant. Anyway, thanks for this blog. I will contact you when I need further help.

  160. Dee says:


    Thank you so much for these tips, I’ll definitely be changing the appearance of my agenda. My
    boss has requested I set up a template for all her meetings so she can see what has been done. Have you any interesting ideas?

  161. May Lockhart says:

    I’ve been a secretary for over 30 years and have spent the last 12 working as an Executive Assistant in the Netherlands for various international companies. I’ve just started a new position so thought I’d brush up on a few things and came across your very helpful blog. I already do many of the things you list but came across a few new ideas that I’m looking forward to trying out.

    From reading the comments, I see many people have trouble with complex diary management. Last year I started using Doodle, a free online meeting scheduler that allows you to propose several dates/times for meetings so inivitees can respond with yes/no/maybe allowing you to find the timeslot that suits the most people. This is very handy when you’re dealing with high level execs who all have busy agendas and saves you having to make many calls or send emails back and forth to other assistants. My new company uses Lotus Notes rather than Outlook – it’s very similar but not quite so straightforward. If anyone has any tips for getting the best out if it, please let me know.

    Another online tool I’ve found really useful is Smartsheet. You can create online excel spreadsheets then share them with your boss/team, deciding if they can simply read the document or can also edit it. I think this could be used to create the call log you talked about but as an online interactive document rather than something you have to print out each day.


  162. Evelyn Gomez says:

    Hello! great information! May I please have a copy of your call log?

  163. Evelyn Gomez says:

    May I please have a copy of your call log? Please and thank you!:)

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