How Brooke Stone, Founder of GYST, works with her assistant to find more time in each day
Meet Brooke, Founder and CEO of GYST, mom to 16 month old Gabi, wife to husband Adam, avid reader and sometime yogi. Read on to learn more about how she works with her assistant Peter to find more time to spend with her family and sometimes, get to yoga.
Taylor: So tell me, what is the single most valuable thing Peter (Brooke’s amazing assistant) helps you with?
Brooke: Scheduling, hands down. Without Peter I would spend no less than 70% of my work week in email exchanges finding times to meet with people and handling reschedules. Peter always picks great locations, makes sure I’ve got a lunch break and a chance to catch my breath, and loads up my cal with useful info to help me make the most out of every appointment. For example, if I’m meeting someone new he gets me a bio and a photo so we can find each other easily.
Taylor: Amazing! What sorts of non-work related tasks does Peter help you with?
Brooke: Peter is clutch with personal tasks as well, but what he’s really great at is letting me handle the pieces I want to (even though I should probably delegate them!) and fitting in his work on a project around that. He is really good at navigating the mom guilt that sometimes takes over and has me up until 3am Googling for the exact confetti balloons for my daughters’ birthday. Peter helps me regularly make sure I never forget a birthday and always have the perfect gift, researching and booking travel, returns for everything I buy at 3am (see above), and generally making sure that I have time and attention for my family especially when work gets crazy.
Taylor: So how do you set boundaries between work and personal since Peter is in the office with other members of the GYST staff?
Brooke: At GYST we are lucky to have universal acceptance of the belief that assistants are superheroes who empower us mere mortals to spend time on what matters most, so if people observe Peter running a few personal errands for me they graciously and correctly assume thanks to him, I made it to their scheduled meeting with me on time and well prepared! As far as boundaries go, I don’t necessarily believe in boundaries between work and personal because there are very few for me. Our work is very personal and building GYST is something I take quite personally! I think assistants work best when they have the full picture of someone’s life and the freedom to improve it, so that’s what I try to give Peter and any assistant I work with. And what I tell our clients too.
Taylor: Sounds like Peter is able to take a lot off your plate both professionally and personally. Any tips for people who have never had an assistant before, and are just getting started?
Brooke: Oh man, how much time do you have! I love when we have a new client who has never worked with an assistant before but has finally decided to level up and get the support he or she so fully deserves. It’s a real empowerment moment. First, give your assistant the state of your world today and give your assistant the state of your dream world. Now, give your assistant the freedom to suggest how to get from A to Z. You will be amazed at what they come up with! Second, give all the information you have about any given task up front. Even if you think it’s irrelevant, give it! And my third golden rule for assistant virgins, keep a list on your phone of everything you see on your list that you hate or procrastinate doing (even momentarily). Share that list with your assistant even if you think some of the things on there only you can do, and ask your assistant what it would take for he or she to feel comfortable and confident doing everything on the list. Make it happen together!