Assistants are the backbone of many organizations. They organize calendars, plan meetings, file paperwork, and handle a variety of tasks that help busy executives stay on top of their game.
Your job is challenging and demanding, you must be organized and efficient to make it through the day. It can be stressful as you multitask and to help alleviate some of the stressors, here are 22 hacks that will make your life easier and simplify your workday.
- When scheduling appointments with clients or meetings for other people within the company, use Google Calendar so that everyone will have access to view these events on their own calendars- this helps ensure no one misses important meeting times.
- Keep an up-to-date list of contacts on hand. Create shortcuts to quickly access all of your contacts with just one click; this is especially helpful if you have a lot of clients or vendors.
- Take care of all minor tasks before tackling the big ones.
- Make sure you have enough time in between appointments so that there is no pressure to rush from one place to another.
- Use a voice recorder to take notes during calls and meetings. You can transcribe the recordings afterwards or dictate memos in real-time, saving valuable time. Before you do this, you must make sure everyone knows a voice recorder will be used, some people may not be thrilled about it.
- Write your tasks down the night before, so you have a plan for the next day. This will reduce stress and help you prepare more efficiently.
- Keep a “to-do” folder in Google Drive or Evernote where you can easily access all of your on-going projects and deadlines.
- Keep track of important dates and due dates by setting up reminders on Google Calendar, so they don’t slip through the cracks.
9. Prioritize self-care throughout the day by taking regular breaks in between tasks.
10. Be mindful about how much time you spend on social media and online shopping – it can affect your productivity at work.
11. Make sure that everything is labelled in an easy-to-find way. Organize office supplies in drawers and cabinets, alphabetically by type. You can also label all cords and cables with masking tape or stickers.
12. Set clear boundaries with co-workers who may be interrupting or distracting you throughout the day.
13. Send yourself emails with tasks as reminders, this way you won’t forget them.
14. Set alarms on your phone throughout the day to remind yourself of things you need to do at specific times during the day.
15. Schedule time on your calendar for email checking so it doesn’t feel like such an interruption when it pops up on your screen while working on other tasks.
16. Being an assistant means that you are privy to a lot of confidential information, but it is important that you are discreet. Even if you are aware there is an organisational restructuring and a lot of people are being let go, if this information is leaked from your end, it will erode your boss’ trust in you and it may even be damaging to the company. Shred physical documents you don’t want ending up in the wrong hands. Password-protect your screen from prying eyes when you are away from your desk.
17. Document everything: Carry around a small notebook and document your boss’s impromptu instructions, this will help you get things done quickly without having to confirm again from your boss. You can simply refer to your notes if you are unsure about certain aspects of the instruction.
18. Be adaptable and detail-oriented. Murphy’s law states that “If something can go wrong, it will”, so a backup plan can be your best friend. E.g. if you are planning a trip or an event, you can’t control the weather, your guests’ travel plans, or the health of the invitees. So, it only makes sense to plan for the worst, and have a backup plan to deal with things when they inevitably go wrong.
19. Take care of yourself – make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and exercising regularly.
20. Set boundaries with your boss- set limits on how much they can contact you outside of work hours and keep in mind what is reasonable for them to ask from you.
21. Stay organized! Create lists, use calendars where possible, and organize all documents into folders or binders, so it’s easy to find anything when needed.
22. Send thank-you notes when someone does something nice for you