Busy CEOs often finish a workday wondering what they actually accomplished. Without help managing things like booked schedules and flooded inboxes, it’s easy to spend time on the wrong tasks and let priorities slip. So, we dug into the numbers and analyzed the amount of time Double Assistants are saving their clients. The results are staggering. Double Executives are gaining back over 2.5 hours per week just by handing off two responsibilities. We asked our Double Assistants to share a behind-the-scenes peek at what managing certain aspects of an Executive’s day look like.
1. Calendar management and scheduling
It’s hard to get time on a CEO’s calendar. Whether it’s an approval, pitch, or team meeting, everyone wants face-to-face time with leadership. Our analysis shows that managing an Executive’s calendar and scheduling meetings or tasks takes a significant amount of time. In fact, 42% of a Double Assistant’s time is spent in this area. In just a 30-day time period, Executives were spared 4,000 hours by having their Double Assistants handle nearly all calendar-related tasks for them. Delegating both calendar management and scheduling tasks is a dual-edged sword, saving executives time on the scheduling tasks themselves and allowing them to benefit from a more optimized workflow during the week.
Here’s what having a Double Assistant manage your calendar/schedule looks like:
· “Scheduling work for my Executives is like playing calendar Tetris all day," says one Double Assistant. Recently, she had to coordinate attendance for a meeting with 10 people from three different companies. It took multiple rounds of back-and-forths to find a time that worked for everyone, amounting to several hours of emails and scheduling work to bring the meeting to life.
· "My calendar owns me" and "My calendar runs my life" are frequent statements we hear from Executives when they start working with Double. They feel frustrated that their life is dictated by their busy—and often unorganized—schedule. Because our Double Assistants take a proactive approach to calendar management, they are able to create a better flow to their Executives’ weeks. Oftentimes, this means ensuring there is a 10-15 minute break between big meetings to reset and switch context or setting aside specific times throughout the week to focus on strategic or priority issues.
· “I like to put a new system in place when I start working with an Executive to limit context switching and reduce wasted time,” says a Double Assistant. This includes scheduling similar meetings on the same day, grouping meetings together to reduce wasted time, scheduling time for priority tasks every week, and color-coding calendar events so it's easy to understand their day at-a-glance.
2. Email management and inbox clean-up
The dreaded email inbox can send even the most organized CEO into a panic. With hundreds of messages piling up each day, Executives have to be careful that their entire day isn’t consumed by answering emails. Our data revealed that Double Assistants spend 18% of their time, or an hour per week, managing email inboxes for their Executives.
Here’s what having a Double Assistant manage your email and cleaning up your inbox looks like:
· “On an ‘easy’ day one of my Executives gets 120 emails,” a Double Assistant reported. To help her, the Double does the first pass through her Executive’s inbox each morning to handle scheduling, greetings, thank-yous, and to answer easy questions. After that, the executive is left with a small handful of messages related to fundraising or company strategy that she can read and reply to in just 15-20 minutes.
· Another Executive came to Double with more than 40,000 unread emails in his inbox. His Double Assistant started out by triaging all the unread messages to identify which ones were business-critical and needed a response versus which were junk or subscriptions that could be ignored.
· “I recently received a heartfelt thank you from an Executive because when she returned from her two-week vacation her inbox felt manageable,” mentioned another Double Assistant. The Executive hadn’t vacationed in over five years and when she came back her Double had cleared out what she didn't need from her four inboxes, flagged important messages, and set up a status system that she really liked. It was the first time this Executive allowed someone in her inboxes and was thrilled to have time to focus on the important stuff, rather than the junk that always bombards her.
It’s easy to disregard the amount of time email and calendar management can steal from Executives until you break down the numbers. Spending 15 minutes here and 20 there to reply to messages seems harmless, but those minutes quickly stack into hours. Handing that work off allows a CEO to gain back a significant amount of time in their workday; time that can be repurposed to focus on strategic priorities that matter.