How many times have you had to choose between completing a current project and taking on a new one? When do you say enough is enough on a large initiative? Or how do you know when it’s a good season to start a fresh endeavor? As Administrative Professionals, we often find ourselves with no clear boundaries in place simply because we never established clear expectations around what’s going to happen next: what we’re planning to deliver and when. We will get into this in this article, but first—why are boundaries important?
Why Are Work/Life Boundaries Important?
For you, boundaries are important because they help establish your limits in both your personal life and at work. You know how far you will go for your clients, and in turn, they will know how far you will go for them. It sets a distinction between home and work, so you can give equal time and brain space to both.
For others, boundaries are important because clients and team members will know what you will or won’t do and adjust their behavior accordingly. With a clear distinction, they know when you will arrive at work and when you will leave. Similarly, they will know what projects you are willing and able to handle.
Setting Expectations as an Executive Assistant
Now that we’ve established work and life boundaries, it’s essential to establish work expectations. In short, what tactics and objectives are the priorities, and when will they be executed and completed? Below are some helpful points to consider when setting expectations as an Executive Assistant:
1. Have a candid conversation about priorities + time required
You may want to take everything on. But realistically, there are only so many hours in the day—and that’s why boundaries are so important. You might genuinely want to take on more and prove your value because you’re passionate about your client and their business, but it’s wise to manage your weekly work hours, so you don’t run out of steam.
Setting boundaries is all about prioritizing—and knowing what matters most today and tomorrow. An EOS has to consider, “What is the one thing we need to solve today that will make business better for us next week?” There may be 800 things on a to-do list, but of the tasks, which is the one that, if it doesn’t get done, will impact business tomorrow, next week, next month? In short, what is the priority?
2. Determine which tasks are ‘critical’ versus ‘nice to have’
Determine the difference between crucial items and the nice-to-have items. This can change the context of boundary building, taking the heat and focus off of what you can physically accomplish in one day, and refocusing time management through the lens of what needs to be accomplished and in what order of priority.
3. Be realistic and clear about what can be delivered + when
Having an honest, candid conversation with your client about what matters most will make life easier today and in the future. It’s a natural way to uncover priorities and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
“Setting realistic expectations will help you control your time and your boundaries” —Kenzie Biggins, Founder, CEO & Visionary
We’re all human. We have limitations. Remind each other that you’re both doing the best you can. We all only have 24 hours in a day. This can eliminate stress and tension for you both.
Worxbee: The Executive Assistant for You
At Worxbee we believe in setting clear boundaries for executives and assistants. We pair you with someone ready to tackle your everyday projects, so you have more time for the important stuff. If you are ready to get back the time you deserve as an executive, then contact Worxbee to set up an intro call.