Fit more time in your schedule!

According to Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”  In both your professional and personal life, time is a resource in demand, which when used to its full effect, allows you to be organised, efficient and effective. Especially as an executive assistant, time management is necessary in order to succeed. Don’t delay any longer! Here are some essential practices to ensure great time management skills.

Don’t let time pass you by! Image via deux-chi Flickr.

Establish Expectations

An issue we hear about time and time again is that executive assistants are unsure of what their job description actually entails. Liaise with your boss to discuss what they want you to achieve in your role. This meeting should allow you to have a better idea of your boss’s expectations and when the workload increases, you are sure which tasks take priority. Ensure to check-in regularly on your boss to keep up to date with what they are doing to know how you can be of most help.

Organisation

This point should go without saying but it is surprising how many do not properly organise themselves! First things first, clear your working space and arrange your desk to keep documents, files and contacts that are regularly required close by. A quick tidy sets the day off on the right foot, therefore ensure to make this a daily habit. Furthermore, use your daily commute to start preparing for the day ahead. Write down a to-do list, noting the urgency and importance of each task. This prioritising will dictate the order in which you will complete the tasks, fully preparing you for the day ahead. Lastly, keep a copy of your boss’s schedule alongside yours to be in the know of their whereabouts, as this will be asked a lot and you will be able to structure your day more efficiently.

Minimise Interruption

Identify your time-wasters to gain a better insight to managing your time wisely. Often the menial tasks are the culprits of time-draining such as answering the phone and dealing with e-mail enquiries. In order to save time, create a frequently asked questions file so you can quickly copy and paste the answer and if you are able to, implement a system with your switchboard to direct sales calls to voicemail. As an executive assistant, you are often seen as the go-to person as you have direct access to the executives. However, this assumption leaves you victim to colleagues approaching you with jobs that are not your responsibility. Therefore, be assertive and learn to say no, as whilst being seen as a team player is beneficial, you must remember your boss is your number one priority. Finally, use your breaks efficiently to switch off and relax. Have a coffee with your colleagues, go out for a quick walk or sit down for lunch away from your desk, a proper break every so often is needed. It has been proven that breaks can increase concentration and focus, which means you’re less likely to distract yourself and procrastinate during work.

Optimise technology

In a recent survey, 80% of legal secretaries used less than 5% of the functionality that Microsoft Office has to offer. Your company has invested in these technologies to save you time and to save them money so set time aside to update your knowledge of the programs you frequently use. Keyboard shortcuts are a particularly good way to economise time and these vary depending on what system you use. Did you know that F7 will bring up spell checker or CTRL + Spacebar will remove text formatting?  Additionally, take advantage of the plethora of time management and organisation apps. Practically Perfect PA has a great blog about the apps she uses in her day-to-day life as a PA. Technology is there to make your life easier so take advantage of the options out there!

 

What time-saving tips do you have?

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6 Comments

  1. One of the key pieces to my own time management is to block schedule me time and to limit interruptions to that time. It wasn’t always like this–I would try to multi-task and do everything at once and as a result get nothing really accomplished in the end. You offer some great tips for making more time in your day–I think the key is finding what works for you!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for your comment Stephanie! You are totally right about finding what works for you, some can multi-task with ease and others (like me) have to do one thing at a time. For me, keeping organised is the key as I have the tendency to be disorganised otherwise!

    Reply
  3. Angelica

     /  November 20, 2012

    Thank you for the tips mentioned above. I have worked for 04 bosses so I need to be really organized with everything. I also have the impression that I need more hours to get everything done.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for reading Angelica,hope the tips help!

    Reply
  5. Great article, I particularly agree that identifying time wasters early on will definitely help reduce interruptions! Thanks for the tips. Nicky @ Practically Perfect PA

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading Nicky, it’s surprising how much time you can save by using shortcuts or reducing time spent on small tasks!

      Reply

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