“Good morning, ma’am.” Sherri welcomed her boss with a polite smile.
“Sherri, this is quite impressive.” Mrs Adams gestured at the paperwork and documents stacked on her desk, “I gave you these tasks last night, and they are already on my desk? Anyways, I just got off the phone with Andrew. He had loads of complaints about his assistants. I told him you can give them a few pointers.”
Coming from her stoic, workaholic boss, this was a great compliment. However, doubt crept into her heart. She was still a newbie assistant even though she researched her new role on the internet and learned every tip she could.
“My driver knows Andrew’s company. He’ll take you there.”
Sherri found the driver in the kitchen – where he was having his breakfast, and they were soon on their way. It turns out that Mr Andrew is her boss’ cousin who runs an advertising agency in Ikeja.
The receptionist, a fair-skinned lady, named ‘Ronke’, ushered her into a conference room. Mr Andrew’s assistants stood respectfully when she came in and introduced themselves.
“I’m Pascal.” The tall, lanky dark-skinned one shook her hand first.
“Hi, I’m Harry.” The stockier guy beamed at her.
“I’m pleased to meet you guys. I’m Sherri.”
Pascal pulled out a chair for her, “Please have a seat.”
“Your boss believes you need a few pointers. May I ask why?”
“I have been Mr Andrew’s assistant for a while, but I’ve never gotten any formal training,” Pascal replied.
“I was a temporary assistant in my last workplace.” Harry said, “I decided to pursue a career in it, but I haven’t had any formal training either.”
“You can take free online courses. An example is Executive Assistant Skills offered by Alison.com. I’ve taken seven free online courses within two weeks. Subscribe to assistants’ blogs and websites. You’ll learn a lot from them.”
She grabbed a sharpie from the conference table and scribbled down her first point on a whiteboard, “Firstly, master the art of multitasking. This is one of the most important skill an assistant should possess. An assistant who successfully multitasks becomes a star employee; just ensure you don’t compromise on the quality of your work when carrying out many tasks at the same time.”
“I’m guilty of that,” Harry confessed.
“Thanks for being honest.” Sherri smiled at him, “There’s a difference between taking a short break and procrastinating. You are allowed to take regular breaks.”
Sherri paused for her words to sink in before she went on.
“Some people are so addicted to social media that as soon as they step into the office, they log into their social media accounts to catch up on the latest gist. Don’t ever use the office computer to log into your social media accounts. Turn off the notifications on your phones before you even step into the office. Five minutes spent browsing the internet could be utilized productively.”
“I find that annoying too.” Pascal agreed.
Sherri nodded, pleased that he agreed with her.
“Do you have any questions?”
“No.” The men chorused.
“Set a goal for each day and tick them off your list as you accomplish them. Get project/task management apps that will help you plan your day and help you get more work done. Working as a team is another way to be productive and get more work done faster. You can use scheduling apps to plan and organize meetings. If you tend to forget easily, some apps can remind you of your deadlines.”
“Which task management app do you recommend?” Harry asked.
“There are numerous to-do-list apps; Trello, TickTick, WeDo, Anydo, Todist, nTask, Calendly, etc. You can try out a few of them until you find the one that works best for you.” Sherri waved her tablet, “I got a tab so I can work on the go. Sometimes I complete tasks meant for the next day while in traffic.”
The men applauded her. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome. It’s a pleasure.” Sherri gave a mock bow and said “I hope those few tips help you carry out your tasks efficiently” as she attempted to take her leave.
“Yes, they are helpful.” Pascal and Harry chorused.