Scheduling appointments is one of the greatest responsibilities of an assistant and can either be a difficult task or run smoothly. By answering just a few questions initially with our boss, we can help organize their ideal schedule and feel empowered to set appointments without getting written consent every time.
Here are some items to discuss with your boss to time block their week:
1. What are the "Big Rocks" or non-negiotiables you want to add in first? These may be activities they are committed to regularly, which can include anything like workouts, family dinners, board meetings, bible studies, or picking up kids from school.
2. Based on your job responsibilities, who are the people/what are the meetings that you want to make sure to set regularly? For example, my boss's primary responsibilities are communicating and casting vision, so every week he wants to meet with our communication team, our leadership team, and set aside ample study time to prepare a message.
3. What times of day do you have your best energy? When are you most productive? Based on this answer, you can begin to map out their schedule, putting the (answer to #2) meetings at these times. This ensures that their greatest priorities get their best attention. As you work with your boss, you will also notice these rhythms and times.
After locking in these meetings, here are some other helpful questions to streamline your boss's schedule even more:
How regularly should we meet? The frequency of this meeting is different for every assistant/boss relationship, but DO NOT neglect this meeting or martyr it for others. You help move things forward and if you don't connect often, people will be waiting on answers.
What hours can I schedule appointments? For example, I only schedule meetings from 9am-5pm during the week and on Sundays. He is willing to meet at other times, but I text him or his wife before scheduling any breakfast or evening appointments.
What margin of time do you want between meetings? When a day is packed back to back with appointments, it is likely something will go overtime and you will end up needing to reschedule or frustrating people in the process. It is a good practice to have 15-30 minutes for your boss to travel, return texts, or regroup between meetings.
Once you have created an "ideal" schedule, review it with your boss for any adjustments they want to make. Remember appointments are always written in pencil, but this is a good template to help arrange their week.
Your Turn: What are your tips for scheduling appointments?