Types of Tasks for a Virtual Assistant (with Examples)

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

I’ve spoken with plenty of people who use virtual assistants and/or executive assistants. The most common mistake I’ve noticed is people failing to communicate their preferences and expectations. It’s why I built an EA Playbook.

The second mistake I’ve noticed is failing to ask enough from an assistant. There are entire groups of tasks people forget or ignore. Below are the top categories I’ve noticed myself asking of my assistant.

(I removed words like “please” and “thank you” for simplicity, but I use them often. Add kind words as needed 😉)

  • Research
  • Purchases
  • Calendaring
  • Communication
  • Data Entry
  • Processes

Research

Product Research. “I need a new _________, research the top 10 options and include price, reviews, and pro/cons”

Discount Searching. “Send me the best discount you can find for _______.”

Travel Research. “Need flight options. ATL to CDMX for Jan 20–28.”

Purchases

Product Purchase. “I need more of my notebooks, I’m out.”

Booking Travel. “Need flights, hotel, and ground transport for Jan 20–28 trip.”

Calendaring

Scheduling. “I need an appointment for a new eye prescription.”

Rescheduling. “Kid in ER. Update team. Reschedule tomorrow's meetings. Move to text until resolved.”

Communication

Following up. “If we don’t hear anything, check in every few days with Sarah on the status of the finance project.”

Inbox Hygiene. “Move any newsletter content out of my inbox and into the ‘newsletters’ folder.”

Data Entry

Digitalize. “Convert these handwritten notes.”

Build Spreadsheet. “Convert this booklist to a spreadsheet and fill in details.”

Processes

Reminders. “If a meeting starts before 9am, send me a text reminder day-of.”

Organization. “This folder is a mess. Please standardize the naming based on my preferences and group things into folders.”

Proofread. “Proofread this 1-pager for typos, then send.”

Confirmation. “Please check-in the day before a meeting to ensure the invite is confirmed and the person is still available.”

Summary. “Read this article and give me the highlights.”

Manual Automation. “After every work trip, send me a reminder to write an executive summary.”

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CTO at Fast Company’s World Most Innovative Company (x4). Author of “Code School”, a book to help more people transition into tech.

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Morgan J. Lopes

Morgan J. Lopes

CTO at Fast Company’s World Most Innovative Company (x4). Author of “Code School”, a book to help more people transition into tech.

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