Before co-founding Double, Alice Default had never used an executive assistant — she was confident in the value it could provide CEOs and executives, but wasn't sure on the best ways to leverage one herself. After 7 years working with Doubles, she can say that a great partner to delegate tasks to is nothing short of magic.
Alice has been the CEO of Double since its launch in 2018. Originally from France, she has been based in New York City for the last seven years and is the mom to a young toddler.
When asked about what she loves most about her job, she says:
Every day I do something I’ve never done, I get very excited about the learning opportunities. I also enjoy seeing my team members grow, iterate, and succeed. And I get so much inspiration hearing success stories of our clients and Doubles.
While she loves her work, juggling all the responsibilities of leading a company can be challenging. Fortunately, her Double continues to help her navigate busy days and get more time every week. Alice believes the power of delegating can help other busy business leaders, too.
A Glimpse Into the Life of a Busy CEO
As a CEO, Alice’s role is constantly shifting; however, her primary focus includes:
Strategy & Goal-Setting. She sets the long-term vision that aligns everyone and leads the company in the right direction.
People. Alice supports her teams by ensuring they have everything they need to do their best work.
Investor Relationships. She keeps company stakeholders updated and informed.
Because the team is lean, Alice is also involved in the operational parts of the business, weighing in and assisting with anything from product launches to growth projects.
As busy as the job can be, Alice understands the importance of taking time for herself away from work. It’s critical to keep her day structured and productive so she has time to recharge and enjoy life beyond the office.
I try to keep my days organized so that I can be efficient and have time to spend with my daughter or just outside of work in general. I think my time outside of work makes me a better CEO. I try to minimize as much as possible the time I spend working on nights and weekends — I might work one night per week.
So, during the day, Alice plans how to spend her hours, alternating between focus time and meeting times: “I aim to have at least two hours of no-meetings time every morning to get things done; that's when I'm the most productive. Then, in the afternoons, I usually go into 1:1s with my teams or external meetings with clients, investors, peers, partners, etc.”
The Decision to Work With an Assistant
With such a demanding schedule, Alice needed to spend her time where it made the most impact for Double as a company. She began working with an assistant as soon as Double launched.
I had never had an assistant before and hadn't even pictured getting one. But once we started Double, having someone I could test our service with made sense. With time, I started delegating more and more, and my Double, Améline, is now an integral part of my life.
Over time, Alice realized how much she could delegate to an experienced EA and how it positively affected her daily schedule.
What Alice Delegates to Her Double
Alice’s assistant, Améline, takes on critical responsibilities and jumps in to assist with projects, scheduling, and personal tasks.
What Alice Delegates to Améline
Inbox Triage & Follow-Ups: Améline checks Alice’s inbox daily, organizes it, and pinpoints the top-priority emails so Alice can check those first. She also initiates follow-ups for Alice and manages her LinkedIn.
Scheduling & Meeting Prep: Alice hands off calendar management, appointment, and meeting scheduling to her Double.
Preparing Agendas and managing follow-ups: Améline helps Alice by prepping agendas, slides, and presentations for meetings and internal calls.
Manage Internal Processes: Alice relies on Améline to keep internal processes running and remind her of critical recurring tasks like OKRs and board planning.
Project Support: Améline will jump in and help with various projects through conducting research, gathering data, and more.
Personal Tasks: Alice delegates personal tasks like arranging travel and visits home to France.
Building a Strong Working Relationship & For Optimal Productivity
Delegating to an assistant requires constant communication and interaction. The assistant should be someone a delegator can trust and get along with for the most productive outcomes.
Fortunately, Alice and Améline have a positive, easy working relationship. Double EAs work remotely, but Alice had the opportunity to meet Améline when she came to visit New York City. She remembers the excitement of meeting her in person: “Améline supports me for both work and personal tasks, so she knows a lot about me and my family. It was so great to be able to introduce her to my family when she came to visit NYC. She had dinner at ours on the day we moved into our new place — we ate pizza between packing boxes.”
Améline has also enjoyed working with Alice: “I really enjoy working with Alice on a daily basis. I’m lucky to be able to work on tasks that widen my skill set.”
A strong rapport made delegating easy, and Améline has grown familiar with Alice’s routine so that she can take up new assignments quickly without much direction and explanation.
The Impact of Working With a Double
Working with a Double has transformed Alice’s life, empowering her to focus on her most essential leadership duties.
I work 40 hours per week, and my Double usually works around ten hours. By delegating to an assistant, I'm getting 25% more time every week.
The Impact of Working With an EA
Reduced Mental Load: Améline handles business communication and keeps things running in the background so Alice can save her mental energy for top priorities.
Greater Strategic Focus: Alice can spend more energy on company strategy and direction instead of managing daily tasks and operations.
More Time: Alice gets more hours every week to dedicate to leadership duties, supporting her team, and progressing on projects. She works 40 hours weekly and delegates an additional 10 to her Double to optimize her time and elevate her impact.
Empowerment to Live and Lead
Alice continues to see the benefits of delegating in her personal and professional life — as Double has grown, so have her needs as a CEO, and Améline adapted to the new responsibilities over time. Taking recurring operational tasks off her plate means she can focus entirely on leading the business. Her mental load has lightened, and it has made a significant difference.
The mental load piece is massive — knowing that you can work on the highest impact and strategic tasks on your to-do list while also not worrying about dropping everything else is a game-changer for me. You can really focus on what matters to you.
These days, Alice is always looking for new tasks to delegate so she can live a more fruitful life at work and at home: “I'm always looking at things I'm doing that I could delegate or just stop doing. This is the time that I win back to work on higher impact projects and just enjoy everything else outside of work. Setting hard boundaries of the hours I want to work and adapting the type of work I do means that I always have time for everything else.”