The Sigrid.AI vision builds on founder Paul Østergaard's experience being supported remotely by a virtual executive assistant for more than a decade? His remote EA, Sigrid, ran his life behind the scenes during his 250+ days of international travel a year while building his previous company, ShipServ.

Paul has been a user of Sigrid.AI from the start ("eating his own dog food" as they say). Paul shares the list of things that he typically asks his remote assistant to manage for him daily.

Paul's

To-Do list

I ask my remote assistant to manage my Office 365 calendar

  • Block time in my calendar as soon as an appointment becomes likely (to avoid double-booking),
  • Reach out and schedule meetings and other events with prospects, clients, my remote team, job applicants, business partners, etc.,
  • Manage mine and my wife's shared calendar, and
  • Manage the schedule I share with my daughter.

My whole life is reflected in my Office 365 calendar which I access from an iPhone, an iPad, and my laptop. I travel a lot across different time zones which can get confusing, so it is invaluable that my assistant keeps me updated at all times about meetings, flight-departures, events, etc.

Manage my receipts and process my travel expenses

  • Manage receipts,
  • Process travel expenses,
  • Prepare bi-monthly expense reports, and
  • Log expenses against correct companies, projects, and accounting codes.

I send a photo of the receipt to my remote assistant when I pay for something, and then I sign off on the expense report on a bi-monthly basis. Because my assistant has access to my calendar, I don't need to explain which project/accounting code to assign an expense to. 

Plan and schedule ground transportation from point A to point B

  • Find and evaluate transportation options,
  • Suggest means of transport, and
  • Estimate transportation time and block my calendar upfront.

This is especially handy when I travel to new cities. With tools like Google Maps, my assistant has access to up-to-date traffic conditions everywhere. 

Book accommodation and rental cars

  • Compare prices,
  • Recommend and book hotels,
  • Recommend and book Airbnb's, and
  • Recommend and book rental cars.

All of this both for business trips and family vacations.

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Manage my schedule proactively, and continuously plan, block and schedule meetings and events ahead of time in my online calendar

  • Reach out via email or phone,
  • Coordinate meeting attendance,
  • Ensure all logistics run smoothly (dial-in details, white-board markers, 10 am coffee, etc),
  • Manage cancellations, and
  • Reschedule meetings and events.

It's not just meetings with clients and partners. It's business meeting travel dates, my daughter's dance lessons in London and her exams, weekly catch-up calls with my remote team, doctor's appointments, my yoga classes, guitar classes, haircut, barbershop, etc.

Help me file my taxes

  • Manage light bookkeeping for me.

We use Xero.

Remind me of recurring meetings and events

  • I.e., my daughter’s school schedule, scheduled exams, when I am needed in attendance at the school, her singing performances throughout the year,
  • Birthdays,
  • My employee’s anniversaries,
  • Doctor’s appointments,
  • Names of the children of people I meet, and their birthdays. 

Stuff I want to remember.

Purchase airline tickets

  • I ask my EA to find and recommend flights for me,
  • To manage the booking,
  • Check me in,
  • Make sure I get my preferred seat on the plane every time,
  • Manage upgrades and lounge access,
  • Manage loyalty programs,
  • Manage rebooking for me, as well as
  • Manage cancellations and reimbursements.

Research stuff for me online

A copy of my Passport,
  • A copy of the relevant visa,
  • Virtual debit cards and payment details,
  • Details about loyalty programs,
  • Booking details for everything from flights to hotels, cars, events, etc.,
  • Even documentation about stuff I have purchased online.

We use 1Password for sensitive info (the best in the market now) and Dropbox/Onedrive and my calendar for the rest.

Manage online subscriptions and memberships

  • I ask my remote assistant to keep an eye on online memberships, to keep them current,
  • Remind me to sign off on memberships, subscriptions, and apps in time if I haven’t used them for the last six months,
  • Renewal of memberships, or
  • Subscribing to new memberships and subscriptions.

For this, I use a Virtual Debit Card.

Set up conference calls

  • Manage new and recurring meetings and events with my remote team, new clients, existing clients, business partners, and applicants.

We use Zoom. I find it to be the best conference call software on the market right now.

Coordinate and schedule interviews with new applicants

  • I ask my remote assistant to screen candidates,
  • Create shortlists,
  • Book a slot in my calendar for interviews, and
  • Set up conference calls.

We use Workable to manage the hiring process; it's super smart when you are collaborating as a remote team, and I can do it while I am traveling via the app on my iPhone.

File and save scans of important documents for me 

Some documents are essential when you travel for business. I want to have easy access to these documents no matter where I am:
  • A copy of my Passport,
  • A copy of the relevant visa,
  • Virtual debit cards and payment details,
  • Details about loyalty programs,
  • Booking details for everything from flights to hotels, cars, events, etc.,
  • Even documentation about stuff I have purchased online.

We use 1Password for sensitive info (the best in the market now) and Dropbox/Onedrive and my calendar for the rest.

Reminders

  • Remind me of events,
  • Anniversaries,
  • Appointments,
  • Dinner dates,
  • Parties,
  • My godchildren's birthdays,
  • My employee's anniversaries, etc.

All the essential stuff that shows you care while being away a lot of the time.

I only have so many productive hours in a day, and I like to know that I am always 100% focused on the most important things. In this way, I feel I get a lot more things done than the average person. I even have time to sit around just letting my thoughts drift. I find that that's when I get the really good ideas, or finally find that solution to a problem we have been dealing with for months. I also have time for the most important things in my life - my family, friends, and my health. It's the food for the soul that keeps me going.

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