If you are in education either as a student or teacher, there are also a lot of tasks related to diary management, for example ensuring you get to meetings and appointments on time, understand the reason for the meeting and are prepared for it. That is not where diary management ends, employees and assistants also have to manage the time their managers spend outside of meetings.
Diary Management fundamentals
As an assistant or, even better, an answering services, should manage every part of their client’s calendar, it should be completely controlled by you and your Client shouldn’t edit the calendar at all (in an ideal world!) Instead they should direct all meeting requests to you, including any verbally agreed meetings. Ensure the Client is kept in the loop when changes are made to the diary, especially any changes or cancellations that take place during that day.
How to ensure you manage your Client’s diary effectively
Every assistant will manage their Client’s diary differently. Yes there are certain protocols we all follow but on the whole the service should be tailored to the needs of the Client. Ensuring you manage your Client’s diary effectively is ultimately down to communication. Within the first few days of working with an Client an assistant should ask this vital question How do you organise your calendar and how do you like to have your meetings set out? , if you missed out of this step and have been working with your Client for a while it is well worth revisiting this question in your next catch up meeting.. Discuss how the diary management is working and if there are any new initiatives you would like to introduce or if they would like you to organise the calendar differently.
Once you have complete control over the diary it is really important that you understand how to maximise your manager’s productivity through your diary management skills. Once you have this information you will know when is the best time to schedule meetings for them, when to leave time free for them to get stuck into their emails or write reports.
Practical tips for diary Management
Never schedule recurring meetings for more than a year in advance, if the meetings are frequent I would suggest 6 months at the very maximum. Keep an eye on recurring meetings, do the attendees change the time/ date frequently, do they often get cancelled. If this is the case it is worth revisiting the meeting details with your Client and the attendees.
Don’t delete recurring meetings. This will delete all of the meetings and you may need a record of certain appointments. Instead change the recurring meeting end date so that any previous meetings remain in the diary.
Quite often you will be asked to find time for a meeting that may or may not happen. It is well worth putting a ‘holding’ meeting in your Client diary but do ensure that you set yourself a reminder to confirm the meeting or delete it from your calendar.
Prior to confirming a meeting in the calendar always look at what your client has schedule either side of the meeting. Do look at how their other meetings will affect their performance and plan accordingly.
Always factor in travel times and a little extra. As much as your client might want to cram a lot into their day you don’t want them arriving at a meeting completely frazzled. Good diary management should ensure that this never happens.
A great way of setting reminders is using the ‘all day’ appointment feature on Office Outlook. This is a great tool to remind your client of important dates, colleague’s annual leave and any general information they need to know but do not need to action. Do just bear in mind that some ‘all day’ reminds can look slightly different depending on the devise your Client is using. Make sure an ‘all day’ event does not block out their entire day. It can look messy.
I love using categories and colour coding on Outlook Office. I colour code and categorise everything from birthdays, client meetings, 1-2-1s with colleagues, reading and email time, holding meetings and even lunch. All of the different parts of an Client’s day can be colour coded so that you both know what they are doing at an easy glance.
Research shows that there is a 75 % greater chance that a person will complete a task if it is in their calendar. * On that statistic alone it is worth including deadlines in your client’s calendar and scheduling time for your Client to complete important tasks.
Lawyers are particularly business people. They have clients to meet, perhaps undertake a legal search to ensure that they provide the highest quality legal information for their clients, documents to prepare and perhaps a meeting with a barrister. A divorce solicitor in Enfield, North London may need to meet with a solicitor broker for divorce solicitors in London as part of his marketing plan. He may also need to meet with a firm that provide flyer distribution in London, again as part of his marketing strategy.
If you have two screens at work always keep your client’s calendar open on one screen. , if this is not an option print out your manager’s diary so that you have a working document for the day.. You will be asked continuously throughout the day what your client is doing and where they are.
Every calendar entry should come with the following information (at a bare minimum):.
Date, time, location.
Agenda/ meeting purpose.
Type of meeting (conference call, face to face etc).
When responding to diary appointments everyone should provide you with an agenda or purpose for the meeting. Don’t ever except meetings from people that have said your Client ‘will know what it is about’. Again this is down to communication, if you are ever unsure about a meeting do ask your manager.
Bring up Folders.
This is my favourite tool for keeping on top of supporting documents for meetings. My bring up folder is a big expanding folder box in which I have put 31 dividers for every day of the month and then dividers for every month of the year. I put all of the information my Director needs for each meeting or general documents they require for that day in between each divider. At the end of every day I give them the following day’s paperwork in a clear plastic wallet with a printed copy of their diary for the day on top. I number each meeting and the papers are also numbered and placed in order depending on what meeting they relate to. It is one of my favorite tools as it means my manager has everything they need for that day and are well prepared. As I go through their emails I can print off the important bits and bobs and just add it to bring up folder for whenever they need to see the paperwork again and then I can just get on with my work rather than trying to remember everything.
<a href=”http://www.practicallyperfectpa.com/2014/ultimate-guide-managing-bosss-schedule/10/23/”> Read More. </a>
There are also a lot of tasks related to diary management, for example ensuring you get to meetings and appointments on time, understand the reason for the meeting and are prepared for it. Never schedule recurring meetings for more than a year in advance, if the meetings are frequent I would suggest 6 months at the very maximum. Instead change the recurring meeting end date so that any previous meetings remain in the diary.
Prior to confirming a meeting in the calendar always look at what your client has schedule either side of the meeting. I colour code and categorise everything from birthdays, client meetings, 1-2-1s with colleagues, reading and email time, holding meetings and even lunch.