As assistants, we are often at the forefront of new technology. We work with cutting edge hardware and software that makes us more efficient to our bosses (and by proxy, their clients). However, with technology comes rapid innovation and many tools often fall out of favour much faster than they climb the charts. It’s important to stay on top of what is out there or risk falling behind.
Here are six ways assistants can maintain their momentum using tech tools available today:
- Join an online community
Join an online community of assistants dedicated to your industry or niche. Explore Facebook groups, Google Communities, Telegram and WhatsApp groups where assistants often share tips, tricks, shortcuts, resources, etc. These groups and platforms are not only valuable to your professional development but also enables you to get a quick answer to anything you are unsure about.
- Download one new app every month
The easiest way to stay current is by using the free trials of every new app you can. Almost all apps have a “free trial” period before your credit card information is required. However, don’t forget to cancel your free trial subscription. We recommend you test an app at the start of a month and decide by the 25th if you want to keep it or not (though many of these trials only last 15 days so they require a bit more frequent attention). We recommend trying/keeping just one new thing at a time—it’s much easier to remember one tool than five different tools you’re testing all with their own unique free trial period.
- Stay informed through virtual events
Virtual Training and online webinars are great opportunities to learn about current apps and programs, especially if the webinars are dedicated to helping assistants acquire new skills and competencies.
- Ask your boss
Don’t be afraid to ask your boss if they’d like you to test out an app or program for them. Assistants generally know their bosses’ needs, but not everything and not every time. It’s our job to make sure our bosses have everything they need so why not include this.
5. Research online; Watch YouTube videos about new tech tools (and keep on watching)
Search for the problem you’re trying to solve (or what you want to test out) and see what comes up. You may find everything you need in one place, or it may lead you down a rabbit hole of information overload! Be aware that “best” is subjective. YouTube is a great way to discover new apps and test them out. Countless videos on YouTube show the features, functionality, and user experience of every tool you can think of.
6 Keep track of what works for your unique situation
The beauty of technology is that there’s no absolute right answer…at least not yet. If something works for you, then don’t change it just because someone else has something different or better. Know yourself and what works well for YOU, rather than thinking everyone should do everything the same way you do.
These suggestions seem like a lot but it’s up to you to prioritize what you will spend your time on. You can save your tool research for Friday evenings when you are winding down your work week—it’s the perfect way to end the week feeling productive and ready for Monday!
Even though change is hard sometimes, remember that everything you learn about new tools & resources will make you better at your job, which means working smarter instead of harder. And who doesn’t want that?
Share your thoughts with us, which of these would be most useful for keeping up with technology and why?