It’s a shame this blog needs to be written, but you know it does. Bosses regularly make their assistants work at all hours of the night, on weekends, and while they’re on vacation. Off the clock texts and requests are leaving assistants annoyed, over-worked, and burned out.

How do I know? I spent 8+ years as an executive assistant and rarely had an off day or vacation with zero interruptions. I know plenty of other assistants who’ve had the same experience.

Yes, true emergencies happen. And yes, some of you need an assistant to be on call 24/7. But you calling something an “emergency” doesn’t make it a true emergency. Most things can wait.

Urgent Is Rarely Urgent

Think about the last time you sent a text or made a phone call to your assistant during their off hours. Could you have waited until your assistant was back online to address the issue? Most likely, the answer is yes.

How many of those times would a simple email asking your assistant to take care of it the next day have been more than sufficient?

Of course, it’s not your assistant’s job to define what is or isn’t an emergency. Their job is to do what you say. It’s your job to be a good leader by setting clear expectations of what is — or isn’t — an emergency.

Once you’ve clarified what is an emergency, you can make better decisions in those moments of off-line panic. In fact, getting in the habit of thinking twice before you bug your assistant could help you set better boundaries on your days off.

So the next time you find yourself wanting to ping your assistant while they’re offline, ask yourself if it can wait. Odds are, it can.

After all, “urgent” is rarely urgent.

Are you overwhelmed and on the verge of burnout? Get one-on-one help finding an assistant or developing your assistant, so you gain more time, energy, and success! Learn more about my coaching services here.

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