Tunde Bancroft, CEO of Primaxx Consulting, stared at the document on his desk and tried to suppress a growing wave of irritation and anger. He pressed a button on his telecom to summon his assistant, but someone else picked up. “Hello sir, Tayo isn’t at her desk, ermm I think she went downstairs for lunch.” Fisayo, the receptionist responded.
“Call me HR now!” Tunde bellowed, slamming the receiver and muttering to himself “Incompetent fools”. His hands shook slightly as he reached for his blood pressure medication; he could feel a headache coming on as he stared at the document again. A knock on the door interrupted his brooding as Elizabeth, Head of HR, scurried in. He motioned for her to sit, “Fire Tayo immediately and hire another assistant who can write proper English and is better organised” He said.
Elizabeth quickly glanced at the document he handed her and frowned. She nodded. It was time to reach out to OPA and Assistants Nation.
A new assistant, Dara, resumed a week later. One month in, during a management meeting, Tunde turned to Elizabeth with a smile and said “Thank you for hiring the most efficient assistant I have worked with, I have less stress now and even my blood pressure has stabilised” Dara overhead this and grinned sheepishly. “If only he knew that I use so many tools to achieve this productivity” she mumbled.
Being an assistant can be compared to walking in a minefield especially if you are saddled with multiple roles in a fast-paced environment. Most assistants often wish they had assistants to help them manage their workload.
Technological innovations have however made it possible for assistants to utilise tools to enhance their productivity.
Here are 10 apps every assistant needs to increase productivity and shine:
- Calendly: Scheduling meetings and appointments is a primary responsibility for most if not all assistants and several applications can handle this task. With Calendly, appointments can be booked based on available time slots and because another party can see when you are free, this reduces the hassle associated with appointment scheduling. This app not only allows you set free time slots but also add buffers so you can take a break between meetings. Calendly can be integrated with Office 365, Google, and Outlook.
- 24me: We all need reminders for important tasks and while we can ask Siri or Google Assistant to remind us, 24me incorporates a note app, calendar app, and a to-do list with reminders, all in one app. This allows you to keep your information in one spot. You can also perform certain tasks like sending an email, paying a bill, or making a phone call all within the app.
- Grammarly: Correspondence generated by an assistant and filled with spelling mistakes and grammar errors reflects poorly on the assistant, boss, and organisation. Grammarly scans your writing for typos, grammatical mistakes and draws attention to your style of writing, sometimes making recommendations. Grammarly is available as a mobile app and as a chrome extension.
- Packpoint: You are prepping for an international trip with your boss. You have made a list for the trip and packed your bags but feel as if you have forgotten something. You suddenly remember mid-air; you didn’t take your work laptop charger or your business cards. Packpoint is an app that helps with travel prep by generating a list of items you need for any trip factoring in location, weather, gender, travel preferences, and reason(s) for the trip; business/ vacation etc.
- Otter Ai: Taking minutes of a meeting can be challenging, especially if a lot is going on. Otter Ai is an app that helps you transcribe audio from your meetings into text. In addition, if your boss leaves you voice notes to type, this app will help you accomplish that task faster. You can export the file to your email or WhatsApp or as a social media post. This transcription app can also be integrated into a virtual meeting.
- Tiny Scanner: You may find yourself in a situation where you need to scan some documents urgently but your scanner is faulty or you don’t have access to a scanner. As long as you have your mobile phone/ tablet, simply download Tiny Scanner app and scan the documents and save them as JPG or PDF. This works for receipts, photos, or any other kind of document.
- Hootsuite: If part of your functions as an assistant is to manage social media, then this tool is for you. Hootsuite allows you to schedule and automates posting to multiple social media platforms; Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The app also allows you to monitor analytics. It is available as an app and a desktop tool.
- Basecamp – If you work in a team or you are part of a project or collaborative effort, basecamp might help improve your task management capabilities. The app is a real-time communication tool that helps team members stay on the same page. It combines all tools needed to complete a task/project. Tasks can be assigned, prioritized, and updated, and users can communicate within the app.
Which of these apps do you use or which would you like to try? Share with us in the comments section.