Scheduling a Meeting

A large majority of my job is scheduling appointments for my boss. Whether it’s people who are requesting to meet with him, or individuals he would like to connect with, I have learned that there are key questions to ask that will make for the most successful meetings. To help our bosses be most efficient with his schedule, below are some questions I ask before just adding a meeting to the calendar:

  • To help my boss be best prepared for this meeting, can you give me just a brief context about it? (Ask someone requesting to meet) For example: is this meeting about relationships, marriage, finances, counseling, church life, future, business opportunity, or children (you may have some categories that are more common for your boss). Encourage them that you aren't asking them to share the details, but that this context helps your boss to be ready to the meeting.
    • Sidenote: This can also be a huge help for him not to be caught offguard with an unexpected meeting like a disgruntled employee or a heavy marriage counseling session.
  • How urgent is this meeting? Because our boss’ schedules tend to fill up quickly, we want to make sure meetings are happening in a timely manner. If it is time sensitive, I will do my best to rearrange other meetings while still valuing every person and making sure they understand the nature of any adjustment.
  • Who would you like to be in this meeting? Usually our boss will drive the attendance list so it is good to get an idea of who needs to be there. That way you can check their schedules and set a time that’s good for everyone. 
  • How long do you anticipate needing for this meeting? Typically I schedule meetings for an hour with 15 minutes buffer time between just to give some breathing room or if a meeting goes over, but sometimes people just need to “pop in” (still usually takes 30 minutes) or other meetings will last 1.5 hours so it is good to be prepared for these so your boss isn’t running behind the whole day.
  • Would you like lunch brought in? Any meeting that is between 11:30am-1pm, I will check if my boss would like food. Otherwise, I will do my best to make sure that his schedule has at least an hour in the middle of the day for lunch. Everyone’s got to have time to eat ; )
  • Would you like to meet at the office or at the restaurant? I ask this for any lunch meeting because sometimes it is more convenient to meet somewhere if he has another appointment offsite afterward. Other times he prefers to ride with the individual. 
  • Is there anything you need to be prepared for this meeting? If my boss is meeting with business men, key leaders, or prospective employees, I want to make sure he has any documents, questions, or information he needs BEFORE the meeting so I am not rushing to print when the meeting starts.

 YOUR TURN: What questions do you ask that help give you context to schedule meetings at the best and for the right length of time?


My Favorite Task List

I LOVE to write to do lists. You might call it an obsession. I may spend more time writing a task than it would just take to accomplish it. There is something about crossing things off the list and seeing what I have completed each day that fuels me. I must confess that sometimes I write things I have already done just to cross them off- lame, I know. In our home, my husband will come across my lists on post its, backs of bills, and even jotted down in my kids' journals. What can I say, I like making lists.

There are unlimited options when it comes to list makers: Wunderlist, To Do, Remember the Milk, Producteev, Trello, Evernote, and good old fashioned pen and paper (just to name a few)--- and people are passionate and opinionated about their to do lists. 

For the last four or five years I have used Google tasks. My friend Michelle sold me on it, and I have found it to be very helpful and easy to navigate.  Google Tasks works for me mostly because I use Google Calendar and keep my browser open in the background at all times. I also like that it syncs to my phone through an app called GoTasks, and I can categorize different lists for assistant, personal work, and home. (I used to have a groceries category, but since the Walmart grocery pickup app, this category is no longer needed-- yes, I love Walmart grocery pick up, but that's a different post). Since Google Tasks syncs to my phone, when I check it off in one place it checks off in the other--- and I LOVE checking off tasks. 

I definitely find it to be more phone user friendly--- the app allows me to sort in the order I want, set alarms at specific times to remind me, repeat tasks that are recurring, and I can view ALL my lists at the same time. Through the browser it only sorts alphabetically, can only set a due date (not time), and views only one list at a time. 

I have heard there are some amazing other options out there, like Trello that works great for group lists or Producteev where I can create subcategories. Honestly, I haven't made a lot of time to explore all the options out there... I will add that to my to do list. Check.

What do you use for your to do list? What do you like most about it?

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

Wednesday, April 26 is what we now call Administrative Professionals Day, more commonly known as Assistant's Day! Honestly, I didn't even know it was today until I got the vendor emails about celebrating. Seems like a "Hallmark holiday" to me, but I also recognize that I am blessed to work in an environment where I feel loved and valued every day.  

Anyway, we were joking at the office about how funny it is that if our bosses forgot about this national day, we only have ourselves to blame for not marking it in their calendar. It is one of those awkward items to add, like your own birthday. ; )

But do them a favor and mark it down for next year, so they can celebrate you and all the value you add to the workplace. 

Enjoy your day, treat yourself to a coffee or dessert, and know you are making a difference!