When I started my blog, I was determined to keep it a secret. I wanted my blog identify to be totally separate from my real life identity. They were two separate worlds and personalities and I never wanted the two paths to know about the other. Guess what?
That doesn’t work.
Over the course of the past few years, I’ve learned that a good blogger brings their life to their blog – to separate the two is to drain your blog of its very source of authenticity. So, today, I am bringing all of the authenticity and all of the whoop-a** you need to help you get your life into shape. You see, for the past five years, I’ve worked as an assistant to some of Hollywoods most prominent executives. This basically means that I’ve had to run and manage the schedules of extremely busy people who are spread in all sorts of directions and keep my life afloat at the same time.
Needless to say, I’ve had to develop one or two systems to keep my life and theirs put together. Today, I’m sharing the tips, tricks and tools I use to stay on top of everything. Get your pen and paper out because this Hollywood assistant is about to help you get your life in check!
Boomerang for Gmail
If you use gmail and don’t have this app installed yet: what. are. you. waiting. for? Boomerang for Gmail allows you to schedule your emails ahead of time. This has been a life changer for me. No more emails sitting in your drafts folder or forgotten reminders. Boomerang allows you to pick the exact date and time you’d like an email to be sent. This has been a lifesaver for follow-up emails, thank you notes, and exchanges with people in different timezones. No more waking up at 3AM PST to send a reminder email to someone on Eastern Standard time. Highly, highly recommend.
calendar alerts and alarms
I highly recommend developing some sort of calendar system for yourself. I have an iPhone and a Mac and prefer to use iCal, but I know some people like Google Calendar or Outlook too. When calendaring, here are things to keep in mind:
- Color coding: assign each area of your life a color – work, spouse, kids, recreations, etc. Make it super easy for yourself to identify what’s what on your calendar using an effective and consistent color scheme
- Shared calendars: get in the habit of sharing calendars with people in your life: spouse, kids, co-workers, and even friends. Calendar events help everyone to be on the same page an ensure thorough communication
- Alerts: It’s not enough to be alerted one time about an event. I typically set three different alerts: an alert one day before, an alert one hour before, and an alert five minutes before any given event. I also make it a habit of setting alarms for the day when I wake up in the morning. If I have a call at 10AM and a meeting at 2PM and an event at 5PM, I’ll set alarms on my clock app for one hour before each commitment, and then again for 5 minute before each commitment. My alarms drive Mike a little bit crazy because sometimes I forget to turn off Friday’s alarms on the weekend and arbitrary alerts will sound throughout the day! But they keep me on task. And by setting alarms first thing in the morning, it solidifies in my head what I need to be prepared for that day.
asana is a great tool for working in groups. Asana allows you to have a project dashboard with a shared calendar of assigned action items and deadlines. I share an Asana page with my publicist for The Kind Coalition. She and I tag team different PR initiatives, so we split up the responsibilities, set deadlines, make notes to each other as we go, and check things off as we complete them. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from assisting is how absolutely key it is to have strong levels of communication in every area of your life. Don’t assume your spouse knows that he has to attend a work function with you on Friday. Don’t assume that your co-worker knows you’re expecting them to tackle x, y, or z. Don’t assume – period. Share the information you have with anyone who might need it, and ask that they do the same with you. I guarantee you, everyone will be happier – even if it seems redundant at first. Highly suggest adopting a program like asana for any projects requiring group effort.
Okay, I know my little cousins would be rolling their eyes at me if I suggested that Dropbox is anything to be impressed by – I’m pretty sure they were alternating between teething rings and uploading files to the cloud. But HOW you use dropbox is so important. Yes, download it to your computer, but also, download the dropbox app. I always make sure to put any shared files in dropbox – this way, if I’m on the go and a colleague is requesting a shared document, I have access to it from my phone.