Executive assistants and administrative business partners manage the most valuable asset of an organization – their executive’s time. But many of them have never used one of the best game-changing tactics to do so; time-tracking – or auditing an executive’s time.
In the business world, data is king. It’s one thing to tell the board your executive spends too much time meeting with internal team members. It’s another to show them a graph or chart with the exact number of internal meetings vs external meetings your executive had in Q1 vs Q2.
If your company hit their sales mark in Q1 when your executive spent 78% of their time in sales meetings, but missed their goal in Q2 when your executive spent only 24% of their time in sales meetings, the board may want to ensure your executive clears their calendar for sales meetings in Q3.
Leader Assistants Track their Executive’s Time
There are many ways your work as an assistant can directly impact your company’s bottom line. Tracking your executive’s time is one of the more tangible ways to do so. The data from the audit helps your executive stay honest about where they’re spending their time, and allows them to re-order their priorities, if needed.
This tactic also helps you stay honest as you zoom out to look at how you’ve been managing your executive’s time. It’s so easy to get stuck in the weeds as you schedule meeting after meeting after meeting, but when you look at data covering a six or nine month period, it can be eye opening.
Did you give up on the ideal week tactic? Did you say yes to low-priority meetings that should not have made it on your executive’s calendar?
Sit down with your executive to review the data, talk about what is encouraging and what’s not, and make an action plan for any changes to their schedule you need to make going forward.
How to Track Your Executive’s Time
I used to audit my executive’s time manually. At the end of a quarter, I would go week by week and count how many sales, internal, capital raise, networking, or other types of meetings took place, and I would report the numbers to my executive. Thankfully, there are now tools to automate much of this process, so I can audit my executive’s calendar in a fraction of the time. The tool you use doesn’t really matter. Just use whatever tool works best for you and your executive.
You can use a time-tracking tool, but many of these require your executive to take an action every time they switch between tasks. I don’t know about you, but my executives don’t have the brain power available to worry about something like this.
You can also use a tool like Base’s software for EAs which has an “Analyze” feature to track average meeting duration, who your executive met with the most, and more.
I’ve found the best system for my situation is a workflow using Google Calendar -> Zapier -> Google Sheets -> Conditional Formatting -> Manual Clean Up. It sounds complicated, but it’s not too difficult to set up. When an event ends on my executive’s calendar, Zapier creates a row in a Google Sheet spreadsheet and logs details from that event. The title, description, length, location, type (I use different colors of events for different types and Zapier pulls the “color ID” of each event so I can track types), attendees, and date of the event are all added (Zapier allows you to customize which fields to add).
This system adds data from every single event my executive has to one spreadsheet. All I have to do is go back through and edit what’s already there, set up a few formulas, and create some tables and charts to report an overview to my executive. This new workflow literally saves me days of manual work.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you’re not already auditing your executive’s time, now is the perfect time to get started. Make it one of your annual goals during your performance review. Set aside time to research what tools will work for you, and ask your executive what data they would specifically like to track.
Are you ready to be a game-changing, Leader Assistant? Then lead your executive by auditing their time.
The majority of this post is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon Best Selling book, The Leader Assistant: Four Pillars of a Confident, Game-Changing Assistant. You can download 3 FREE chapters or order it on Amazon or Audible.