how do you think you can start a process to let you assistant filter your email for you? I see A LOT OF advantage in doing so and how can we share what I want to read and what I don't want (I mean whithout spending more time in sharing then in reading email)?
I'm looking for some practical hints :)

Another questions: how do you suggest she/he should forward us these emails?? Paper?? Electronics?


Mark's picture


The only practical hint I can suggest comes from using Outlook with Exchange Server (though I assume most corporate systems allow this). You can delegate authority for your assistant to have full access to your mail.

The way it works is that they get the mails along with you, with no extra work other than you telling the system they should have access. Then they answer the ones they can, and leave the rest for you.

This allows them to see EVERYTHING... but I generally recommend this.

Maybe if I knew more about your systems...?

I urge you NOT to print out emails!

As well, you can set up YOUR system to auto-forward mails to your assistant if they come from certain people (and not forward ones from other people. You can even set up filters which say that the server should forward mails to him/her that don't have the word private in the title, and then tell your team that if they want something private, they should identify it as such. (If they hesitate, tell them they do this all the time in person, by asking to talk to you in private).

It all depends upon your system...

Tell me more and I can suggest some things that have worked for other clients, but would rather not write a book unless I understand your situation.


PierG's picture

yes we have all the MS stuff.

AND I'm more concerned with the 'how does she make choices' more then the technical stuff.


Mark's picture

Ahh! My bad.

That's easy. For about a week, you schedule times when YOU go to HER desk and walk through a bunch of mails together. You learn by talking about each one.

You've GOT to do this at her desk. Otherwise, you end up doing the work on the keyboard, and it's passive learning for her. Plus, you will have had to give her delegate powers first, and that will send the right signal before you start. It will say, "we're GOING to do this..." versus, "we might, depending upon how you do." That will motivate her to really pay attention.

Focus FIRST on type of mail, versus senders. If you focus on senders (let me see everything from my boss!), there are enough different types of mails from a narrow range of people that you will feel like you're not getting anywhere (you'll be limiting yourself too much).

Second, she ought to be looking at ALL mail, so that she can know what mails she may leave for you but not action FOR you. For example, , she will read a mail from your boss that she can't action, about guidance for you for an upcoming meeting. Nevertheless, she can get your prep documents together for you because she's seen the note from the boss, or at least ask you about it in your morning stand up meeting.

Another key piece of guidance: tell her if she has doubts about a mail (what to do, how to handle), to ask you about it the next morning meeting. By starting with a week's worth of sessions, and then maybe an update in a couple of weeks, she will make you much more effective. If you're willing to give feedback (positive first), and accept that the first month is a learning process, you will wonder how you ever got by before doing this.

Let me know if this is what you wanted.

It's a privilege to serve you.


PierG's picture



Success09's picture

I am wondering why you suggest to not print out the email.

I have access to my bosses email even though I do not really open and reply to. What we do is some of the email sent from directors go to her with a cc to me. I will print out the email (that is why I ask about not printing them out) and read what the message. I highlight any due dates and instructions and if I am able I will do what the email is directing her to do. If it is something that is going to another executive at our office but my boss (the main boss) receives it to be sure it gets done, I do the same for the other executive. I have access to all the executives calendars and emails even though I am not the secretary to all of them. I will put the due date on all our calendars along with a adding one a few days before the due date to indicate the date is soon approaching.

I do a quick once over on my bosses email a couple of times a day to see who has sent emails, I do not open them. If there is an email from someone I know may be important I will go tell her that so and so has sent her an email. Of course if any are marked urgent I do the same.