“I can’t figure out what to give to my assistant”

I hear stories from time to time of executives who have an administrative assistant but never give her any work. They do everything themselves. Why? The reason is quite often something like this: “Well, I’m not sure what to give her. I’m not even sure how to hand it over.”

So, instead of becoming efficient with their time—doing the profit-making work that only they can do—theses execs do all the work.

Here’s how I work with new clients who are taking on an administrative assistant for the first time.

It’s called The Box Method.

Step 1: Get your to-do list out. Mark off the tasks or projects that are critical for your business’s or position’s survival. These are the “high value” activities.
You should be already keeping some kind of to-do list, so look it over and determine that tasks that absolutely must be done.

Here are some examples that might be critical for some businesses, but not necessarily for all: depositing checks, paying bills, creating proposals, filling out insurance forms, ordering supplies, creating a Facebook ad, hosting a webinar, working on a marketing campaign, researching a new technology, upgrading a piece of software.

You might even rank the tasks with an ABC rank—A is mission critical, B is important and C is if you have time.

Step 2: Now, take the same list and find the things you like to do and the things you hate to do. You can rank them, or use icons—heart for “love it” and an X for “hate it”.

Let’s say you really love the marketing part of the job—you love writing ads, you love checking your ad stats, you love sending out emails to your list. But you hate accounting and paperwork.

In our examples above, depositing checks, filling out insurance forms and paying bills all get “hate it” rankings. Creating ads and working on a marketing campaign get high ranks for “love it”

Step 3: List all the tasks that you hate that are mission critical. These are what you have to outsource!

If it has to get done, but you drag your feet doing it, it needs to get off your plate. That frees up time for you to do more of what you love, and more of the profit-making activities.

It seems like a simple formula, but it works.

Here it is in graphical form

The Box Method

The “High Value/Hate doing it” box is where you should start outsourcing.
The other boxes are interesting too—work that is high value that you enjoy doing is your sweet spot. Focus on that kind of work for yourself.

The low value activities that you like doing are time wasters, like commenting on Facebook and watching Youtube.

There’s not a lot that goes into the “low value/hate doing it” box. Usually these sorts of things are obligations that others put on you, but you really don’t need to do.

When you start working with an administrative assistant, you’ll get the best results if you start by outsourcing the high value tasks that you don’t enjoy.