Tried and Tested: You Need A PA

Although Doris is currently making it slightly hard for us to believe, Spring IS actually on its way. This annual, most welcomed thaw instantly encourages me to feel lighter; lighter in my clothes (enough with the eight layers already, London…), lighter with my meals (I'm beginning to feel more like five pieces of fruit’n’veg a day, rather than five Fruit'n'Nut Chocolate bars a day…), and finally, lighter in CLUTTER!

I don’t know about you, but during the Winter months, the clutter in my flat seems to just procreate and multiply.  Although these eclectic masses and artefacts can sometimes act as great insulation during the big freeze, by the time the sun is readying his hat, their weight makes both me and my flat groan.  Living and working in the same space doesn’t help.  My sitting room at times can be filled with piles of samples, bags of returns, cupboards bursting with unattended admin... If I’m not careful my work/life balance can teeter far too much towards the work side , so my flat kind of needs to be pretty meticulously managed! 

I know I am not alone.  4.6 million Brits are now self-employed (17.3% of which are Londoners) but most of theses ‘One Women Orchestras’ and ‘One Man Bands’ cannot afford full time assistants. I have had several intern requests, but given that I never know where I will be or what I will be doing, being responsible for mentoring someone seems unrealistic and unfair.  Whilst daily zooming from one end of London to the next, having writing deadlines, evening events and conservation projects on the go, I really recently started feeling overwhelmed and in need of someone to help… That someone was Polly.

Polly Hadden-Paton (above), and her partner Vicky Silverthorn, set up ‘You Need A PA,’ a wonderful ‘Pay As You Go’ PA service, which provides you with a fully qualified, brilliantly connected and efficient PA to help you get all your tasks completed in record time.  This team is used to working with footballers, pop stars and hedge funders, but Polly has seen a recent increase in her ‘normal’ clients (working mums, the self employed, etc), who may not have the funds to employ a full time assistant, but are in dire need of some extra hands on board to make their lives easier.  

Whether you are in need of just a morning, a full day, or someone on a more regular basis, Polly and her team will work through the harrowing To-Do List you simply don’t have the time or contacts to complete yourself, either in person or remotely.  Need to move house? Need last minute, hard-to-get reservations or sold-out tickets? Need your holiday or party organised? Need some personal shopping or research done? Some property management or maintenance? Literally, WHATEVER you need, these girls have got yo'back! 

I had Polly come to my flat one morning a week for three weeks. The fourth week I was feeling utterly bereft, and missing her madly.  I had become completely reliant on this wonderful girl and far too used to her sorting out my life for me!  However embarrassed you may seem at the state of your home (mine resembled a bomb site), or lack of organisation skills, Polly has seen it all before which makes you feel instantly relaxed.  Each morning we made a list of what tasks I would be relieved to get off my shoulders, and Polly confidently ploughed her way through each and every one with total ease.  Standing orders were set up, bills were paid, tax receipts were sorted, a new printer was set up, my television tuned (I thought it was broken, my bad), bulbs replaced, files bought and then organised, plane tickets were booked, piles clothes for charities were organised and delivered, my dry cleaning was sorted and collected… All jobs which sound pretty benign for the girl who’s used to creating parties for 200 guests at a moments notice or arranging last minute transportation for clients when flight connections are missed!  You see, no job is seemingly too big or too small for Polly or her equally efficient team to tackle.

The best result from Polly’s three mornings at the illustrious TLC HQ, was that she set up the most useful office filing system in some cupboards under my television, housing all my admin, cables, stationary and printer.  The results have been game changing.  I can now happily shut away my work life in one big swoop, making my sitting room feel far more relaxing and fit for purpose.  Also, Polly’s love of admin rubbed off and inspired me to maintain these levels of efficiency (or at least attempt to!) and it feels much easier to do that now I have a cleaner slate to work with.  

These levels of acute help obviously come at a fair price, and even though I realistically can’t afford to have Polly regularly visit (*weeeeping as I write...) treating myself occasionally to one of her beyond helpful visits will be something to look forward to.

Below:  I got these gorgeous grey canvas files and boxes (which Polly labelled with her own LABEL MAKER!) and some rose gold stationary (yes, I’m such a blogger) from Kiki K. As well as being practical, their simple, Scandi designs have made my work cupboard look so chic – another incentive to keep organised.