What Roles does a Personal Assistant Fill?
You have a million things going on. Between 12-hour days in the office, business trips, charity events, and seemingly endless social obligations, it feels like you rarely have any quality time with your spouse and children. And speaking of your family, you’re set to take a vacation next month (which you can’t even imagine making time for), you’re probably going to miss your daughter’s dance recital tomorrow night, and your son needs a new math tutor, and you have yet to find one.
It feels like your home life is crazy, which spills over into your work life, and you could use an extra set of hands to juggle everything. That is where a personal assistant comes in.
Whether you are a C-suite executive, the spouse of an executive, a philanthropist, artist, celebrity, or any combination of the former, the multiple demands of every facet of your busy life can prove overwhelming without someone to help you keep track of things. You need help managing the parts of your life that don’t necessitate your full focus, so that you can devote your time and energy to what does.
So, what exactly is the role of a personal assistant?
Personal Assistant Tasks
Personal assistants fill a variety of roles. Some tasks are nearly universal across personal assistant positions, and many vary from person to person. What your personal assistant does is unique to you. They are there to take on the things that you would otherwise need to do, and manage your personal life so that you can focus on tasks of greater value.
Some examples of common personal assistant tasks follow.
Managing your schedule is an essential responsibility of nearly all personal assistants. This includes keeping an actual digital calendar, of course, and coordinating with any other staff your may have (often your Executive Assistant) as well as your family to ensure there are no conflicts.
This also includes scheduling appointments on your behalf, booking reservations at restaurants, and so on. This also extends to family life. If your son’s soccer practices are now ending at 8pm instead of 7pm, for instance, your personal assistant can work with his tutor to reschedule his lessons. Or your personal assistant might coordinate with your nanny depending on your or your spouse’s day-to-day schedules.
From buying groceries to picking up dry cleaning to picking up your daughter’s birthday cake, running errands is a major part of most personal assistants’ days. These are, after all, some of the most time consuming tasks in your day that you do not really need to be present for.
You may have other staff who fulfill some of these duties, such as a maid or a cook, and if so, this may be not be an area focus for your personal assistant. However, even if your personal assistant isn’t doing the weekly grocery shopping or dry-cleaning runs, it is likely that he or she is running a variety of one-off errands.
Managing Your Staff and Households
Speaking of staff, your personal assistant will often act on your behalf when it comes to certain elements of managing other members of your staff and vendors. This may include estate management, overseeing multiple households, property management, such as overseeing home renovations, interior design projects, landscape design and maintenance, etc.
The role of a personal assistant is also to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks in a busy household. If you find that your household has a lot of moving pieces, and balls sometimes get dropped, your personal assistant can step in and help keep things under control.
Travel and Vacation Plans
Booking flights and accommodations for you and your family’s vacations is another common personal assistant task. He or she may also coordinate other aspects of your travel, such as arranging private jets, ground transportation, car rentals, or packing and shipping luggage as needed. Sometimes, a personal assistant will travel with you, depending on your needs, or may stay to manage your home in your absence. Other times, you may coordinate with your personal assistant so that they take vacation at the same time you do. Often they are responsible for stocking the home with food/beverages and having everything ready for you when you return.
Planning Events/Special Occasions
Other important tasks of a personal assistant are event planning and organizing special occasions. Depending on your needs, event planning may include anything from dining at home, to managing catered private parties or charitable events, or even children’s birthday parties.
Your personal assistant will also handle a variety of tasks related to special occasions, such as sending your mother flowers on her birthday or planning your and your spouse’s anniversary dinner. This is a huge benefit to having a personal assistant, as remembering dates and ordering gifts are often the first things that start to slide when you get too busy, and having a trusted employee taking care of things goes a long way.
Personal assistants’ job responsibilities extend beyond the tasks mentioned thus far, but those listed above are some of the most common responsibilities that you will see across many employers. Of course, your personal assistant’s responsibilities correlate with your responsibilities, and therefore he or she may also handle a variety of other tasks, such as:
- Pay personal bills for you and your family
- Manage medical insurance claims
- Research, find and manage vendors
- Manage wine collection
- Handle college applications or other school-related forms
- Archive art collections
- Prepare and cook meals
- Gather tax information
- Pet care
What Doesn’t a Personal Assistant Do?
The scope of your personal assistant’s responsibilities is really entirely up to you. The most important thing is that these are all clearly laid out, and that communication about his or her responsibilities remains open.
When posting a personal assistant job, it is essential that you take the time to really know what you’re looking for. Your personal assistant might spend their entire day managing aspects of the home, or they might be out and about, running errands and assisting you with tasks throughout your day.
Whatever you will expect your personal assistant to take care of for you should be clearly communicated. And, of course, if these needs change over time, just make sure to communicate with your personal assistant so that you stay on the same page regarding their responsibilities.
If you have an Executive Assistant, there are many tasks that will be entirely in their court, and your personal assistant will not need to worry about any crossover there. However, if you don’t, or perhaps you often work from home, your personal assistant might find themselves taking on some responsibilities more commonly in the court of the executive assistant.
All this to say — your personal assistant is your personal assistant, and while there are many tasks that are common amongst most, if not all, personal assistants, every situation is unique.
Finding the perfect personal assistant for you can be challenging, but is very important. You need someone whose values line up with yours when it comes to your personal life and responsibilities, and with whom you have great chemistry. At C-Suite Assistants, we specialize in pairing you with your ideal assistant, and would be honored to help you find them.
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