By Abigail Langridge
28 May 2020
Are you still going from one thing to another? (Working with wet hair?) Trying to get the children focussed & then get your head back into your ‘zone’ so you can get ahead?
Are you still working full time, enduring the same workload & are homeschooling your children too?
You could have private staff too, who also need your time, supervision & direction.
As a Private PA, we work closely with private families who, especially at the moment, are facing these exact obstacles.
This is by no way a full list of what us Private pas do - it’s an endless list! I have tried to summarise:
Structure your time effectively & prioritise
- Rather than having multiple conversations with each staff member - have ONE - with your PA.
- Discuss what you expect of your Private Staff members - has it been established (via Zoom or from the recommended distance) how their roles are going to be managed during this time? Delegate this supervision to a PA, they can monitor private staff on your behalf, limiting distractions.
- Each day (I recommend the night before) also write down what you would like to achieve that day.
Try not to go over 5 things.
Email a ‘post-it’ list over to your PA.
Go through each point & decide how much time you need to allocate to that task.
Can it be delegated to your PA?
- Your PA should factor in ‘cushions’ of time when zoom/calls/meetings are booked which will account for distractions by children / running over on a task etc.
- Prioritising: Your PA can certainly support you on this.
When do tasks need to be completed by? If it's not this week then it can be delegated or picked up later this week or next. Your PA can take the lead & help work out how to prioritise your workload.
Deal with the distractions
- Get your PA involved. They are there as your right-hand woman/man.
- If you have any personal birthdays/anything that needs purchasing/reminders set - delegate to your PA.
They are well versed in sourcing gifts for an array of people, children etc and they should also be used to keeping you to time deadlines.
- In your discussion with your PA - they should have helped you set aside time for calls & also to check emails. For example, take calls between 9-11 am every day & check & respond to emails between 4-6 pm. (Your PA will know how to change the settings in your outlook to limit receiving emails so they are not a distraction).
- Children: Your PA should be liaising with any tutors they have at the moment & also setting up fun activities your children can do in some downtime, even remotely!
A great activity I have used is ‘go & find me a ……..’ and the children go off around the house to find it.
The PA can also liaise with private staff (usually the nanny/housekeeper) to make sure the children are adhering to safety rules etc.
Being your gatekeeper
- Have your PA take control of your emails when you are working.
- The hours that you have dedicated to ‘getting tasks done’ can be when you know your PA will be checking emails (if you would prefer not to limit downloading of emails for a while).
- Divert your phone. For the reasons outlined above. If you would rather have your calls answered than put it on silent whilst you work, have your PA deal with this too.
- Checking social media messages. Again, this is something your PA can collate for you. They can collect all messages in one go & when they next check-in with you - you can deal with them all in one go.
The never-ending ‘to-do list’
Do you know that list that is in your head that you ‘wanted to always get around to’? Yes, that.
- Could be research into a project that you have wanted to start
- Contacting old and new colleagues
- An event that needs planning
- A family member’s birthday that needs attention
- Processes/things in your business that annoy you.
This list is endless but your PA can get stuck into ALL of these!
Recruiting private staff
- Whether it be using their contacts or liaising with agencies, your PA can take this on fully for you, after clarifying your requirements & terms.
- They can analyse CVs & get candidates down to interview stage for you or can even interview them on your behalf & the new member of staff can be fully briefed by the PA to start.
Something else to consider is whether you have home policies/procedures in place?
- Emergency contact numbers for the principals
- House alarm details/security details etc
- Family description/dynamic
- Instructions for various white goods
This too can be an exhaustive list but worth mentioning when considering recruiting private staff.
This is the tip of the iceberg & after being a PA for the last 20 years I can talk about this stuff for a long time!
If you would like any further assistance, you are more than welcome to send me a message or email me directly on email@example.com.
I offer different packages offering various levels of support from 24/7 access to me to alleviate the personal elements in your life.
For further information about me & my business, my website is www.poppins-pa.com