Shaan Puri: Nine Things I Learned....

(Most of this is one giant advertisement. Capturing the few nuggets of interesting material.)

  1. You need your “bread and butter”. The biggest mistake I’ve seen (and made myself in the past) was hiring an assistant, and then every day feeling stressed that I need to “give them something to do” otherwise they’re sitting idle - like a taxi driver waiting outside with the meter running.

    That’s why it was critical to find my “bread and butter” (B&B). The ideal B&B is something that:

    • Repeats daily
    • Does not require creativity or specialized skills
    • Doesn’t require your input (so you can be offline and it still gets done)

      So what we did was set up an email triage system. Assistant screens every email and separates things into:
    • Action items

    • Needs reply
    • Read later
    • If you’re interested (random stuff that might be of interest)
    • Other

      For many emails, she would draft a reply, and leave it there. I can just hit send, or make a quick edit (it’s crazy how much easier things are when you’re editing vs. drafting a blank page).
  2. Remember the goal The goal of having a personal assistant is so that you can spend more time in your zone of genius. Outside of work, I want to spend time with my family. When my assistant saves me 2-4 hours a week on errands, that’s time I can spend with them at the park, or taking them out for a sneaky pre-dinner ice cream run.

  3. It's cheaper than you think.

  4. Security is important. Basically, she has full access to communication, but not my finances. It only takes 3-4 steps to put this into practice. For example, for expenses, I created a virtual card on Ramp that has strict spending limits and notifies my phone for every purchase. And for banking, I created a separate email for financial stuff, so any password resets can only be done through a separate inbox she doesn’t have access to.

  5. It’s a cure for procrastination. Everybody has a list of stuff they should do….but they avoid doing. Usually it’s things that are important, but not urgent. For example, I need to renew my car registration in 2 months. I should just do it ahead of time, but in reality, I’ll keep putting it off for years until it comes back to bite me. So I gave her a list of my backlog of “crap I should do, but keep procrastinating”. And in her free time, she just knocks them off, one by one. Vet appointments, car registration, passport renewal, etc..

  6. It’s actually possible to be the man I've always wanted to be. (Admin does personal errands/touches like happy birthdays and such.)

  7. Do the math. (Calculate admin's cost against your hourly rate.)

  8. You need a system. You need a system to:

    • Get your assistant to manage your email inbox
    • Create a “daily brief” so you wake up with a 1 page daily brief like the president
    • Book travel and appointments
    • Set up healthy habit trackers (diet / exercise)
    • Manage security so you don’t “overshare” info
    • Delegate 1-off research or data entry projects
    • Keep communication to a minimum, so you don’t have to “manage” her


Tags: reading   management  

Last modified 22 November 2023