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Ever wish you had more time? Then this special episode about how to find, hire, and make productive use of executive assistants is for you. Thanh Pham is joined by Charles Ngo, an expert who has hired and worked with executive assistants for many years. Charles is actually the person responsible for Thanh recently hiring his first executive assistant, and in this special 2 hour mega-episode they discuss why you should get one, how having an executive assistant can help you multiply your time, best practices for getting started, things to watch out for, and much, much more. If you’ve ever thought about working with an assistant, you don’t want to miss this jam-packed episode.

Cheat Sheet

  • Why you should hire an executive assistant [1:41]
  • Why Thanh initially resisted getting an executive assistant and what finally convinced him [4:47]
  • The many residual benefits that come with having an executive assistant brings you besides just saving you time [7:17]
  • How executive assistants help protect you against decision fatigue [9:12]
  • How to identify when you need an executive assistant and why it may not for everyone [18:12]
  • How having an executive assistant is like using a jetpack in terms of your productivity [23:33]
  • How to overcome perfectionism and learn to delegate your tasks [24:59]
  • Charles’s story of how he found the perfect executive assistant and the lessons he learned from the process [27:39]
  • How hiring is a hard skill that will take time to learn (and how you can shortcut the process) [35:57]
  • The things you should look for when choosing your executive assistant [40:14]
  • How to use personality tests in your hiring process (and what red flags to look for) [44:19]
  • The difference between a personal assistant, a virtual assistant, and an executive assistant [54:45]
  • Examples of things that Charles’s and Thanh’s executive assistants do frequently and the time it save them [1:00:45]
  • How to use your values and anti-values to make sure your assistant is a good fit for you [1:12:55]
  • How to overcome the obstacles inherent in sharing your personal or sensitive information with your executive assistant [1:21:33]
  • How to teach and communicate your decision making guidelines to your executive assistant [1:26:50]
  • How to give good instructions to an executive assistant so that the job gets done correctly [1:33:24]
  • Recommended technology tools to use for working with your executive assistant [1:40:43]
  • How to get started with an executive assistant [1:52:19]
  • Actionable steps you can take to decide if an executive assistant is right for you [2:04:32]


 Connect with Charles

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  1. “One of my anti-values is entitlement” Uh…yeah. Are you serious right now? Thanks for an amusing listen, guys!

  2. I was just about to come on here and comment on how out of touch you guys are going to become (and Charles already seems to be), but it looks Jennie beat me to it.

    There’s value in doing the mundane things in life. You see problems that common people have and come up with solutions. You empathize with others who don’t have it as good as you. The divide between the rich and the poor is growing, and isolating yourself from “the poor” only makes it worse.

    With that said, I see the value in having an assistant, but maybe, as Seneca did, once a month go out and spend time with the proletariats. If for nothing else, you’ll gain gratitude.

    Off my high horse now.

  3. I’m only listening to this now and want to echo what Jennie said. As I was listening to this (and I’m not a millenial, I am in my 40s, with one child and a second on the way and work in the healthcare industry), I kept thinking, Charles needs to learn about life. I don’t know if I felt he was into himself or out of touch with reality, which is what Jennie said, but there was something just off-putting about him. I book my own flights because I like the schedule to fit my needs. 80% good enough isn’t good enough in my business, of healthcare.

  4. Loved hearing some examples of Thanh’s Decision Making Guidelines. Wondering if you could post a document of those on the show notes.

  5. Really good podcast. It’s a been struggle to hit those balance for me. Listening to this did great for my own productivity and health.

  6. I can’t stop thinking about this particular episode. I hesitate to spend the time to write this but here it is. I really wanted to send through some honest feedback to reiterate how the conversation today with Thanh & Charles, came across to this listener. To be fair I only listen to the show because of Mike, he’s incredible, and his episode on parenting hacks I suggest to every working parent I know in Los Angeles.
    I did get a lot out of today’s show with Charles and Thanh. There was some great intel to be learned and while I’m sure the majority of people listening aren’t quite at the place in their careers to be hiring EA’s there was some great insight on streamling your time.

    My gripe is that Charles sounds completely out of touch with reality. I think he mentioned over 12 times that he just moved to New York City. And for someone who claims to know themselves as he claims to on the show: he is very clearly a millineal, not just partially! Millennials are ’82 and up, so some are ages 35 now! His humble bragging throughout the entire show made me want to turn it off at least 5 times. Here’s the main thing I want to point out. When I was a single, in my early thirties, managing 7 million dollars in revenue a month, and traveling all the time I was able to still get everything I wanted accomplished too! Exercised more than an hour daily, yup! Yoga & Meditation, double check! Extra curricular classes, sure thing! Plus volunteering my time to help out the less fortunate! IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE SINGLE.
    Life is absolutely manageable when you only have yourself to worry about. Let’s be honest it’s no secret that balancing parenthood with work life is the real challenge.
    Please please please, for the sake of your listeners that have real life struggles and are looking for hacks to simplify their very complicated lives.
    Please tell your millennial, humble bragging, 32 y/o single asian male CEO friend Charles to try to think about other people and not just think about them in the terms of how you can get the most out of them. I’m sure he will have everything dialed in just perfectly so when the time comes for him to actually have children. But for the rest of us that are already there and taking life one breath at a time to get everything done: have the compassion to see outside of one’s own narrow point of view when speaking to large groups of people. It’s classier that way and will make you a much more relatable leader. Give Mike a raise because he’s clearly the superstar of the show! 😁😁😁😁🌟⚡️🌟⚡️

  7. Thanks for having me on the show. Loved doing the interview.

    I hope everyone got a ton of value out of it even if you’re not looking to hire an EA anytime soon.

    – Charles

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