Nowadays, more and more daily average tasks can be outsourced by having an executive personal assistant. From ordering weekly planned meals from food delivery services to paying bills and getting your mail.
All of these service providers promise one thing – free up your time, at a small cost.
Hiring an executive personal assistant has gained popularity since the boom of offshore ‘virtual PAs‘. Assistants from India and the Philippines offering their services for about $1-3 per hour have made it more possible for entrepreneurs and even mid-level executives to consider getting themselves a personal assistant.
But the million dollar question is this: Would an Executive Personal Assistant Really Make You More Productive?
What Can an Executive Personal Assistant Do?
Lisa Krohn, who has done personal assistant jobs for Martha Stewart and Jimmy Wales (co-founder of Wikipedia), tells her clients that “I will take away everything in your life and take care of it”– except whatever it is that you do best.
“I will take away everything in your life and take care of it” – Lisa Krohn
So what can a personal assistant do? Essentially anything – from handling emails, organizing your schedule, booking trips, researching, to doing your morning coffee runs.
Difference Between Two Workflows
This infographic by Sid Savara quickly explains a basic workflow without an executive personal assistant versus having one:
Without a Personal Assistant:
This base task workflow is very linear. The beauty is in its simplicity. The quality is consistent and there is only one point of contact, making communication a lot easier.
But with single point of contact comes a single point of failure.
With a Personal Assistant:
Having two people did increase efficiency, but only after going through setting up initial expectations and ironing out kinks. Although the need to review the work of the assistant may seem like an extra step, this process takes a lot less time than actually doing it.
All of these take into consideration that the executive personal assistant is functional. Read about Farjhad Manjoo’s virtual assistant nightmare here.
Delegation is Key
If you have decided to finally hire someone, be it a short-term engagement or a for a full-time position, keep this in mind: A personal assistant is only as effective as your capacity to delegate.
Finding the appropriate workload that can be taken on – or restructured to be partially taken on – by the assistant is a crucial necessity to harnessing a streamlined workflow between you and the assistant.
How to Find an Assistant
Outsourcing companies around the globe offer match-making services to make sure you find an assistant that fits your needs and lifestyle. However, going through agencies is only cost-efficient if you are looking for a full-timer. Posting an ad on Craigslist or perusing Care.com is a good place to start.
One of the biggest hurdles in hiring a personal assistant is that people don’t know what they need. One day you may need coffee runs and ordering lunch then the next day, research and content writing.
If hiring a full-time personal assistant for odd jobs every now and then makes you feel uncomfortable, then an on-demand personal assistant service might be more appropriate for your needs.
Magic is a text-based service that can do anything for you (provided that it’s legal and possible!). A team of highly skilled individuals ensures that all the logistics to make your request happen are in place.
Ask and you shall receive, in every sense of the word.
Ultimately, are you more productive with an executive personal assistant? Gwyn Waters, founder of SF Bay Area’s only community for personal assistants – the PAN Network explained it best:
“The capacity that you gain isn’t necessarily productivity related or measurable, but I think it’s almost like an increased intellectual capacity, you have time to think about the big stuff for once.”