top of page

How to Write a Stellar "While You Were Away" Overview

"While You Were Away" overview

In one of my roles as an EA/PA the executive I supported traveled quite a bit. He liked having a printed high level overview in his home when he came back from his travels, which is something that other principals could appreciate in either a home or office setting as well. This is a great overview which could be tweaked for any principal's needs.

The main purpose of the note is to give updates on non-urgent happenings in the space and where items could be found in that space. Here are a few examples:

  • Where items from an organizing project are now located

  • Where items from an order were placed

  • Non-urgent updates from the most recent housekeeping visit

  • Non-urgent updates from the most recent chef visit

The structure is pretty straightforward. Here are the main points to keep in mind when putting together one of these overviews:


I think it's always nice for someone to feel welcomed back so I like to start with a warm greeting across the top. I suggest using a variation of "Welcome Home!"


I organize mine in a short bulleted list format so it's easy to quickly scan. When someone is exhausted after traveling you need to make sure they don't have to think too hard to locate important details, so make sure your wording is concise.

Also, I recommend listing the updates in order from most important to least important. Because of your principal's exhausted state, there's a chance that the items at the end might get skipped over. Here's a quick example:


  • Kitchen: Island cabinets/drawers were organized. Housekeeper communication notebook is in the top drawer on the right (closest to the fridge).

  • Office: All desk drawers were organized. Overstock supplies are in bottom left drawer.


  • Master closet: Mizuno running shoes

  • Kitchen pantry: Vega Vanilla

Food prep:

  • Asparagus was substituted for green beans in the stir-fry (it was fresher)

Item placement

Double check to make sure the items referenced on the list are placed where you mentioned they are. (This is a very important step!)

Note location

Make sure the note is placed somewhere front and center that is obvious as soon as your principal comes home. For example, if you know their first stop once they enter their home tends to be their kitchen island, then that's a great spot.

Follow up

Although the person I supported read each note I left, I recommend circling back during your usual recurring check-in meeting about the note. This helps to confirm your principal has had a chance to read it and to make sure they don't have any questions. Be sure to have another print out handy for their reference during this meeting as well.

Do you put together similar overviews? If so, do you have any tips to add? Please share in the comments below!

bottom of page