Being an executive assistant is a lot. You’re there to help your organization’s executives, and executives have plenty on their plates. So much of that burden inevitably falls on you – how do you handle it all while staying organized and balanced? Executive assistant tools are a great start, as are some handy executive assistant tips to pair with them. You can find both below
- 17 best executive assistant tools to use
- What tools do administrative assistants use?
- Tips for executive assistants
17 best executive assistant tools to use
The best tools for executive assistants include classic team management tools and calendar apps alongside more specific things like team-bonding game apps. Below, you’ll find the 17 best picks to cover nearly every base you could imagine.
- Google Calendar
- Time Zone Ninja
- Free Conference Call
- The Go Game
- Let’s Roam
1 Google Calendar
What successful executive assistant can do their work without a digital, collaborative calendar? Enter Google Calendar, the modern standard. You can use it to schedule your boss’s appointments, invite attendees to events, and easily move appointments around. Its one drawback is that you can’t super easily use it to indicate when your boss is and isn’t available for appointments. But there are other tools for that!
With Calendly, you can turn your boss’s availability times into open appointment hours. This way, all your team members can simply book appointments with your boss when they’re free. You and your boss barely have to do any work – just sit back while the calendar fills out itself! Be wary, though, of appointments made just before their start time – Calendly can block them from going through.
One source of truth
Have your calendar, meeting agendas, action items, and feedback all in one place with a tool like Fellow!
3 Time Zone Ninja
With Time Zone Ninja, you can easily book appointments across time zones. Just enter all meetings attendees’ locations, and voilà – an ideal meeting time magically appears. As executive assistant tools go, this one borders on magic, especially if you’re trying to coordinate schedules across the country or the world! Keep an eye on the meeting invite, though: your invitees might automatically receive a Voxeet video link unrelated to the video conferencing platform you plan to use. You’ll need to redirect attendees to the proper link.
As an executive assistant, you’re pretty involved with helping your organization’s leaders empower their teams. You might find that Nectar makes this task a lot easier to handle. Through Nectar, you can send your coworkers bonuses, awards, and other employee recognition items. Just beware of any monthly minimum charges on your plan – using Nectar means fully committing to putting money behind your recognition initiatives.
With Fellow, executive assistants can plan team meeting agendas for their executive or executive team. You can use Fellow to easily take meeting notes and minutes, and assign meeting action items. This way, you can handle the important executive tasks of convening your team, streamlining productive conversations, and ensuring that action results from your discussions. Being able to plan an agenda on behalf of an executive can be time-saving for them and ensure efficient meetings every time.
Fond is yet another employee recognition tool, one with a stronger focus on tracking birthdays, work anniversaries, and other important dates. You can also add custom recognition events and dates to really show your team how much they’re valued. Some users, though, say the platform’s filtering capabilities are flawed.
With Monday, you can store and track your executive assistant tasks from one interface. You can also assign tasks to your team and see who’s doing what when. The only problem is that, if you face issues and need customer support, Monday’s customer support phone number can be tough to obtain. But as an executive assistant, you’re a problem solver – you can figure it out!
With Boomerang, you can regain control over your chaotic inbox (and seriously, executive assistance can mean chaos). You can pause emails to eliminate distractions when you need to stay on top of things. You can also schedule emails to send later so you don’t accidentally leave a completed email sitting for days. Boomerang even comes with AI assistance to help you write better emails. But it’s only available for Gmail, not Outlook.
9 Free Conference Call
You know that precious minute or two you spend merging three-way calls? Free Conference Call eliminates that delay. It also lets you copy and paste a slate of dial-in numbers to attendees from all over the world. It’s a one-click way to set up big meetings across borders. At the same time, it lacks the screen sharing and presentation features key to video conferencing. Choose wisely!
Whereby is a video conferencing app that can make inviting attendees easier than with big-name video apps. Its video links are shorter and less overwhelming than with other platforms. These links are also one-click – no waiting for another desktop app or online tool to load. You can also use Whereby to embed video chat tools on a website so your customers can more easily get in touch. However, this service might not always come with your selected plan.
Scavify makes planning events fun in a somewhat unusual way. It’s an interactive scavenger hunt app designed for making the most of team-bonding events. You can also use it to host interactive quizzes or other types of group challenges. If you’re looking for heavily customizable game formats, though, you might prefer another option.
12 The Go Game
The Go Game delivers customizability and expert event-planning assistance, as its team will collaborate with you on all things planning. You’ll even get access to dedicated game hosts who take the burden of running the event off your hands. In many cases, your game will be limited to an hour, which might occasionally prove an undesirable constraint.
13 Let’s Roam
Let’s Roam takes scavenger hunts out of a workplace context and helps your team members bond as they explore the world beyond the office. You can use it to access guided scavenger hunts in major cities. Alternatively, you can use its nearly three dozen in-office games instead. Most of its games also come with an hour-long limitation.
Many tools on this list are designed for team members of all stripes and just happen to fit executive assistants to a tee. Cabinet, though, is designed specifically for executive assistants. It comes with tools for time tracking, scheduling, productivity analytics, file storage, and more. You’ll also get access to forums where thousands of other executive assistants share and ask for advice. Its main drawback is that you can only use it to schedule, not run, meetings.
Executives can hire assistants through Double, and you can also use Double to streamline your executive assistant work. You can use Double to deliver daily or weekly reports to your boss and fill them in on any open questions or concerns. Double also comes with communication tools that attach messages to tasks. It enables instant voice messaging and functions well as a scheduling tool, but it can only schedule meetings rather than planning and executing them.
Favro is a visual project management tool that executive assistants can use to track tasks and the time spent on them. It includes Kanban board views, task color-coding, and customizable timelines. You can also use it to create drag-and-drop work schedules or efficiently communicate with your boss. Its main drawback is that you can only fully manage your workspaces if you opt into the highest-priced Favro plan.
Assembly is a highly regarded recognition tool. It can help you with big employee recognition tasks such as calculating recognition program budgets. Your team members can also use it to recognize one another’s contributions. With Assembly, though, you’ll have to sit through a demo before obtaining pricing. And as an executive assistant who’s short on time, that extra step may feel unnecessary.
What tools do administrative assistants use?
Executive assistants use all kinds of great tools to help their bosses succeed. These tools typically cover the below areas, but this list isn’t exhaustive. After all, you know full well that being an executive assistant means being flexible and doing it all!
- Multitasking. Although multitasking isn’t necessarily desirable in any line of work, it’s kind of inevitable as an executive assistant given how much you do. Executive assistant tools such as project and time management apps can help you both multitask and effectively complete all your work. They can also help you manage other people’s tasks, in and of itself an important assistant responsibility.
- Employee recognition. You’re often responsible for showing your coworkers that the organization’s executives care. You might do so through rewards and incentives, which you can administer through employee recognition tools. Doing so is often positively correlated with employee satisfaction.
- Team-building. Once your organization’s executives decide that a team-building exercise is necessary, it’s on you to organize and set up the activity. You can more easily do so with team-building executive assistant tools. These apps range from scavenger hunt games to customizable activities with in-person assistance.
- Event planning. Often, event planning is an extension of team building. That’s because team-building events are often structured in ways that simply don’t fit into a regular nine-to-five. Instead, you’ll have to reserve a conference room or arrange a few hours outside the office. Event-planning executive assistant tools are just what you need on this front.
- Communication. Often, executives lack the time to check in on every little thing, so as an executive assistant, that duty might fall to you. Team communication tools such as video conferencing apps can help with this need. With your team members all actively on your apps of choice, reaching out to everyone in work-focused spaces gets that much easier.
- Scheduling. Perhaps the task most associated with executive assistants, scheduling without double-booking can be a challenge in increasingly busy work environments. With scheduling tools, you can avoid this undesirable scenario. Some tools go a step further and put the burden of appointment scheduling on people besides you or your executives. This way, you’re not stuck arranging time blocks all day.
- Business travel. Rare is the executive who doesn’t occasionally travel for work. As an executive assistant, it’s on you to book flights and hotels when your executives travel. Several tools can help you find appropriately high-quality hotels and flights on your company’s budget. Whether you’re adamant about flying business class or willing to go economy, you have plenty of tools to find what you need.
Tips for executive assistants
With a handful of the above executive assistant tools at your disposal, you’ll be ready to tackle most challenges that come your way. Well, almost – you’ll need to couple your tools with a top-notch executive assistant mindset. We’re not saying you need to entirely rewire your brain, but we are saying you should start taking the below steps.
- Time everything
- “Eat the frog”
- Keep space in your schedule for tasks
- Incorporate breaks into your time blocking
- Break your tiniest time-consuming habits
- Spend less time in your inbox
- Handle interruptions immediately
- Set your priorities
- Toss procrastination in the trash
- Balance your time with your executives’ time
1 Time everything
You can’t know how long your day will take unless you know. Namely, how can you be sure you’ll knock out the day’s task list in eight hours if you’re not sure how long everything will take? This dilemma is why you should time all your activities. Over time, you’ll see how long each task typically takes and know how much time to allocate for each one in your schedule. Planning your hectic executive assistant days just got so much easier.
2 “Eat the frog”
Okay, don’t actually eat a frog. (Well, maybe if you’re at a fancy lunch with the executives and frog legs are on the menu.) The “eat the frog”-idea is the modern-day version of a famous Mark Twain quote. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning,” the famed writer said, “and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” As an executive assistant, that means starting with the worst task first. Your day can’t get any harder if you start there and work upward, right?
3 Keep space in your schedule for tasks you missed the day before
Even with your “frogs” at the top of your day and your time blocks perfectly sized and arranged, executive assistant life is unpredictable. You could unexpectedly have a major fire to put out that chops away at two hours of your day. In that case, you’ll need some time back, which you can find if you keep some blocks open for work you couldn’t complete on time. Plus, if you’re entirely on schedule, you can use this open block to get ahead or just relax (finally!).
4 Incorporate breaks into your time blocking
We get it – executive assistants are so busy that breaks might seem indulgent. But trust us: They’re necessary. Tiny breaks are especially important for doing your best work, and with the Pomodoro method of time management, you can easily plan for them. In this method, you’ll work in tiny bursts and take similarly tiny breaks. That hour-long task can feel much less overwhelming when you break it into two 25-minute chunks and a five-minute break.
As you use the Pomodoro method, try to batch similar tasks. Get your event planning work done in a few 25-minute morning chunks and your recognition work done in two afternoon sittings. This way, you’ll get the breaks you need while maintaining the structure of your days.
5 Break your tiniest time-consuming habits
Picture this: You have a great idea to share with the executives, but you don’t write it down. When you try to remember it later, you draw a blank. If you’d just written it down, you would’ve lost way less time. When you commit to writing your ideas down, you break your tiniest time-consuming habits. Other habits you could add to this list include not taking tiny breaks and saying yes when you should’ve said no.
6 Spend less time in your inbox
We’ve all been there: You’re working on a big team-building project, and you see an email land in another browser tab. You go to your inbox and fall down a rabbit hole of responding to emails when the team-building task was your priority all along. And now, you’re off track and stressed. The solution here is simple: Close your email window, turn off your email notifications, or pause your inbox. You can always come back to it later.
7 Handle interruptions immediately
Being an executive assistant means being a jack of all trades – both for your executives and your colleagues. As such, you might find yourself fielding all kinds of questions and requests. These interruptions to your day can be seriously derailing when you’re in the zone. To mitigate them, tell the person asking for your attention when you’ll get back to them, and do so only then. This way, you complete the task at hand now and have a clearer mind for the request later.
8 Set your priorities
Goal prioritization is key for balancing your day-to-day tasks, your executives’ vision, and your company’s mission. You can do so through several goal prioritization methods such as bubble prioritization, quadrant prioritizing, and grid analysis. Each of these tasks requires just a few minutes of effort to get a clear idea of what you should tackle now versus later. This way, both you and your executives get what you need over the course of your day.
9 Toss procrastination in the trash
It’s one thing to take breaks or know when to end your workday. It’s another thing to procrastinate. Nothing good comes from delaying dreaded tasks until the last moment – you’ll just feel more stressed under that time crunch. Amid that stress, your work will come out less satisfactory, and your executives might notice. So when you prioritize goals and set time blocks, stick to your schedule. You’ll get that much closer to checking all your boxes.
10 Balance your time with your executives’ time
As an executive assistant, you’re responsible for both your time and that of other people. There will certainly be times when that balance feels out of whack. In those moments, you should reassess your productivity strategies and see how you can save time while still doing great work. And if you’re really struggling, hold a meeting with your executives to say so. After all, you really do it all – your executives need you, and you need your time.
It’s more than assisting – it’s doing it all
The title “executive assistant” is a misnomer. You do more than assist – you have a big hand in numerous company affairs. And with executive assistant tools, you can handle these tasks more quickly, especially if you manage your time well and prioritize your goals. For all the meeting-related parts of your executive assistant work, Fellow comes in handy. Never again delay planning or following up on meetings – one click is all it takes, and then, you’ll move on to the next thing.