In a few of my previous positions, as a House Manager and as a Personal Assistant, I have found communication notebooks to be useful resources. They are perfect for when you work with a team that might not have the same schedule you do, or you tend to not be at the house at the same time. Basically, these are regular notebooks (I prefer larger sized ones, such as 8.5 x 11) that are used for non-urgent communication and are kept in a highly frequented part of the home. You can assign a notebook to a group of people or to a specific person. The main point is for the people assigned to their notebook to make sure all notes are dated and to make using it part of their daily routine.
I’m sure you might be thinking that you could simply send text messages or emails instead. Yes, most people do have phones and email and yes, that’s an easy and immediate way to reach them, however these notebooks are great if you don’t want to interrupt someone when they are not officially on the clock. I like to respect people’s downtime, so this is a creative way to do so.
One way I have used these was with the regular housekeeper. I used the notebook as an ongoing to-do list, added non-urgent updates (ex: the laundry detergent for delicates has been ordered) and general reminders (ex: I will be off next Thursday). It was great because they could check off the to-do items throughout the day, which I could review later, and I didn’t have to worry about being at the house to provide updates or reminders in person. Also, they could provide me with non-urgent updates.
Another way I have used these was with a team of nannies. There were several of them and they worked at various hours, so it was a nice consolidated place for everyone to be on the same page with non-urgent items. Here are a few examples of communications we used this for: “the petty cash has been refilled”, “the nanny car needs a quick drive-through car wash; the next time someone is out, please take care of this” and “please pick up more glue sticks”. We would also leave small, related items on top of the notebook when necessary.
There are a few other pluses I have found when using these. It is nice to have a dated archive to reference in the future. In those rare moments when you need to remember a certain detail, these can feel like gems. Also, you can leave positive notes of gratitude for the people you work with. Handwritten notes are meaningful and it’s great to show appreciation for the people that surround you. Lastly, since these are meant to be used for non-urgent items only, they are not a huge time commitment. You don’t have to check the notebook several times a day like you do email; all you need is a few moments.