If you do not have recurring check-in meetings scheduled with the person you support, I want to share some reasons why they are helpful to have.
I recommend keeping a list of non-urgent questions and asking them during this time. It is easy and efficient for the person you support to quickly verbally give answers instead of receiving each of these as one-offs.
It never hurts to list out the items you see as top priorities to confirm that list is in line with what your principal is thinking. Also, sometimes you might have conflicting priorities so it helps to get their input on how to prioritize in those situations as well.
This time can also be utilized by your principal to unload their list of tasks to assign to you in one shot. If you do not receive any items, be sure to ask if there's anything they need before the meeting is complete. Also, it's a great time for you to ask clarifying questions about each task they hand over to you. Think through each item as it is presented to avoid having to circle back with follow-up questions later. In addition, you can keep a list of items that you have kept in the back of your mind as possibilities to take off your principal's plate as well (this shows great initiative!).
Reconciling calendaring conflicts
There might be items scheduled that you will need clarification on. Some items to address would be double bookings, items accepted as tentative and items that are missing information (ex: location information). Only wait to ask about these during your check-in meeting if they are not urgent, though.
In person to-do items
This time is great for getting in person items complete in one swoop. Some examples are getting non-urgent signatures that cannot be done electronically (this includes signing birthday cards), touching base about resources that need to be obtained (ex: collecting receipts) and sharing items for review (ex: print out of slides that he/she can mark up with edits to make).
Long-term project updates
This is also a great time to keep your principal in the loop on the status of long-term projects. Do not wait until the check-in meeting to provide all updates, though; use this time to either confirm the status is the same or as an additional opportunity to provide updates.
This time is a great opportunity for you to seek out informal feedback. Without regular feedback, it's hard to know if you are meeting expectations. Utilizing this time to receive regular and direct feedback will help ensure you are not only carrying out tasks well but that your perception of performance is accurate.
Having time face-to-face can help to strengthen and maintain relationships. These meetings might not always happen in person, but the goal would be to try to have them in person whenever possible. As assistants, we generally like creating strong connections with the person we support and this time helps to enhance that.
The frequency in which you have these meetings depends on what works best for you and your principal, though I recommend once a week. I also recommend having these at the beginning of each week due to the discussions about priorities and receiving your task unload. To get even more granular, I recommend having these conversations in the afternoon so you have the morning to get fully prepared and think thoroughly through each item so you are able to check off each discussion item and not have to circle back later for missed items.
Make sure you do your part to keep these regular check-in conversations brief, straightforward and to the point. Your principal's time is valuable and it is not necessary to take up the entire scheduled duration if it is not necessary.
Finally, do your part to sufficiently prepare for the meeting. Make sure you have an agenda listing items you wish to cover, all printouts and any other resources in advance so the meeting can move swiftly along. Your principal will appreciate the thoroughness and it again shows how much you value their time.
Do you have regular check-in meetings with the person you support? Please share your best practices below!