9 tools that help me be more efficient

Written by Ola Chalfen

Ola Chalfen’s photo

9 tools that help me be more efficient

When you’re assigned hundreds of tasks, being organized is a must. A few simple tools can help you.

In 2014, I became an executive assistant to the CEO of Pilot. Knowing almost nothing about this role, I was suddenly entrusted with hundreds of small tasks on a weekly basis. Keeping everything in place without prior experience was tricky, so I had to organize myself better in order to complete them.

Over the last two years, I’ve learned how to be an efficient assistant with a few clever tools. Here’s the list of the apps I wish I’d known about when I started out.

1Password 🔑

The business relationship between an assistant and the CEO is entirely based on trust and confidentiality. 1Password is an eye to what’s shared between you and your boss. The only thing you need to remember is your master password. All credentials, credit card details and secret notes are kept inside and can be shared easily and securely.

1Password is also the number one app in my personal life. I no longer have to come up with crafty passwords that are both secure and easy to remember. The app will take better care of that for me.

Calendly 📅

How many meetings and calls per day do you have to schedule? If your job is similar to mine, I bet a lot. Calendly is a perfect tool to help you out with that. Set up time slots that are available on your boss’ calendar and send over a Calendly link to the other attendee. The work will get done by itself.

However, keep in mind it’s better to manually set up a meeting if you’re dealing with someone important. Look for the time and place at the best convenience for the both sides. A person will do it better than a tool.

World Time Buddy 🕒

It’s happened to me and I guess it might have happened to you that the boss is based in different time zones than yours. You can always add and subtract hours back and forth, but World Time Buddy will do it for you. Choose up to 4 time zones for free and go focus on more important things.

Google Calendar 📅

My calendar is always open. It’s actually divided into a few separate calendars that cover different parts of my boss’ life: work, travel, training and personal life.

When dealing with calendars, remember to pencil in time for preparation before meetings, time for lunch and to have some rest. Seems trivial, but it’s very important!

Airbnb ✈️

CEO at a remote company travels a lot. Airbnb became very popular for vacation planning, but it’s also great for business trips. It gives me a better chance to find a place within a walking distance from the destination. It also helps me pick places that have two separate nice rooms that my boss can sleep and work from. That’s healthy, isn’t it?

Foursquare 💼

You’re looking for a perfect spot for a business meeting in a city you’ve never been to. How trustworthy are the opinions you find on the internet? Well, you never know, so it’s better to rely on what the people you know think.

Go to Foursquare and look for your boss’ top places. If you spot one he or she has favorited, it’s probably fine to run the meeting in. Perhaps I’m lucky because my boss likes to travel, visit places and use Foursquare. If yours doesn’t, you can also get plenty of help on Tripadvisor.

Things 📝

As I mentioned, I’m getting plenty of small tasks each day. I must keep an eye on each of them because they’re all important. Things is a must-have tool that helps me clear my mind—and sleep well! Think of it as the memory you can always trust. I save all my todos there.

Why not pen and paper, though? Because I rely on scheduling and daily reviews. Things won’t bother me with a task unless it’s time to perform one.

TaskRabbit 🐰

When you have too many to-dos on your list, book a tasker! TaskRabbit is an ingenious service that lets you delegate tasks to another person.

Taskers get opinions from other users, so you can hire someone trustworthy. They can do plenty of tasks, from shopping to giving you a personal piano concert, and they charge you hourly for those. TaskRabbit is especially useful when you need something done away from your current location.

Numi 🤖

This is my latest discovery. Numi is a calculator, but smarter. You can ask Numi simple questions in various languages. It knows what time it is in Tokyo right now and how much 1 USD costs today. It’s very intuitive and useful not only for executive assistants. Go give it a try!


I can’t imagine my day-to-day work without those apps and services. Most of them are simple, but that’s what I like in tools.

Which one is your favorite? 💬