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Today’s checklist: Get ready for stuff that hasn’t happened yet, manage those budgets, and strengthen your relationship with the boss.


Be Prepared  

The Boy Scouts may have claimed the motto, “be prepared,” but you know who else lives by that credo every second of every day? 

That’s right; you do. 

While you can’t possibly anticipate everything that’s going to come your way, you can strengthen your resilience, the foundational skill you need to deal with anything that comes your way. 

Here are a few ways to mobilize a resilient response to pretty much anything

Talk to yourself. When something comes up, calmly ask yourself non-judgmental questions, such as: 
  • What’s the most helpful/useful thing I can do in this situation? 
  • What are all the possible solutions? 
  • What outcome do I want to get to? 
  • Who do I know with expertise related to this issue? 
  • How long may I allow myself to think about options before acting? 
These questions produce more productive sparks than judgmental questions, such as, “Whose fault is this?” or “Why did this happen?”.

Plus, taking the initiative to guide your thought process helps you avoid ruminating — chewing on negatives until you’re caught in a pattern of inaction and anxiety. 

Laugh at your stress. Part of being prepared for anything is having the ability to temper your negative emotional reactions to anything.

In Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, authors Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney point to studies on several different groups, from combat veterans to cancer patients, that suggest humor might actually expand stress tolerance. 

Humor breaks stress’s hold on you, freeing you to think clearly and make smart decisions. 

Don’t act immediately. In Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done, David Allen discusses the virtues of slowing down, even when a crisis gives you a terrifying sense of urgency. 

Tell that sense of urgency to take a chill pill. You need time to think about a viable solution. 

Create a toolbox. Resilience may be mental, but even those with the coolest heads need the right tools. Here are some examples of what other resilient EAs keep in their toolboxes: extra device chargers, eyeglass repair kits, batteries, energy bars, super glue, spare socks, eye drops, sprayable deodorant, multi-purpose greeting cards, spare gifts and swag, stamps, and spare sunglasses. 



Tools Non-Experts Can Use to Expertly Manage Budgets 

You know what they say: “This budget’s not going to track itself.” 

Busted. We’re not entirely sure anyone has ever said that, but it’s still true. If you want to make solid business decisions, then someone has to be on top of budget management. 

If you happen to be that someone, then you might want to explore these handy tools, which make it possible for non-financial experts to conduct expert management that yields measurable benefits. (Yes, $$$.) 

Lola - you’ll love it if you want to spend less time tracking real-time cash flows. 

Clockwork  - you’ll love it if you want a tool to help you make strategic financial decisions. 

Causal - you’ll love it if you want to collaborate on financial planning but no one on your team is an expert. 


Better Meetings with Whereby 

Say goodbye to bland video meeting spaces and discover the colourful world of Whereby. Created with Scandinavian simplicity, Whereby video calls are a fatigue-free space where you can get things done. It's the new, better way to meet over video.

Simple to use. Beautifully designed. No download required. Whereby's the smart meetings tool for businesses and agencies worldwide.

Whereby’s clean colour palette and simple UI is a breath of fresh air. With unlimited call duration, customizable meeting rooms, and integrations with tools like Miro and Trello, Whereby takes the stress out of video meetings. Get a unique room URL, set your background and theme, and start enjoying better meetings.

Try it for free!


You and Your Boss: A Beautiful Relationship 

We took a page out of the old magazine book and offered boss relationship advice in the form of a quiz. 

Keep in mind that it’s short and simple; your results may not accurately represent your situation. We hope you learn something new regardless. Learn even more by exploring our inspiration articles from HBR, The Muse, and ThriveYard

A problem comes up and your boss is on vaca. You...

A) Consider all the angles and make your own decision.
B) Determine what your boss would do and then do that. 
C) Call/email the boss and wait for their response. (You want their thumbs up on this.)

You’re at lunch with the boss. What do you talk about? 

A) The upcoming marketing conference; it’s going to be a blast. 
B) The meditation class you know they absolutely love.  
C) Their past roles. They have so much amazing knowledge to soak up. 

When your boss is venting about an issue or problem, you: 

A) Listen and offer your informed opinions. 
B) Listen carefully to understand your boss’s deeper need. 
C) Embrace the role of supportive listener. This issue is over your head. 

You just heard about a promising new tech tool. You...

A) Present it to the boss. 
B) Put it in your ideas jar. You know your boss doesn’t want to invest in tech right now. 
C) Ask your coworkers what they think. 


If you selected mostly As … then your relationship with your boss might improve if you deepened your casual connection. 

Your relationship is already pretty solid. Make it absolutely unbreakable by deepening your connection and your support. Pitch in on different projects and try to learn one new “human” thing about your boss each week. 

If you selected mostly Bs … then your relationship with your boss might improve if you stopped trying to read minds and focused on communicating transparently. 

You’re emotionally intelligent, and you’re driven to listen and understand problems and do what you can to help. However, by trying so hard not to bother people with questions, you put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Sure, bosses love being “in sync” with their employees, but there’s no harm in getting there using transparent communication instead of supernatural anticipation. Ask more clarifying questions to take some stress off your shoulders. 

If you selected mostly Cs … then your relationship with your boss might improve if you had more trust in your own extensive skills and abilities. 

Show them they can count on you for more by offering your opinion more frequently, signing up for a class to reinforce some key skills, taking on stretch goals, and just generally letting more of your awesomeness out into the world. 


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Help us address fellow reader Twyla's question on mentor programs:

"One topic I would like to see highlighted is the concept of a mentorship type program amongst executive assistants and administrative assistants within organizations. We don’t have a program like this at our company, but I would love to learn from other companies how they execute something like this. Do they do lunch and learns, monthly/quarterly roundtables, etc? I’m interested in starting some kind of collaborative group at our company but I don’t know where to begin, other than the concept itself."

Have any ideas on how to tackle this? Email us directly and we'll share your answer to our TA family next week!

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