If you had to describe your job as an Executive Assistant in one word, what would it be? Stressful? Hectic? Busy? All of the above? As an EA, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed and disorganized as the work continues to pile on. While it may seem like you’ll never be able to escape the stress your job brings, making a few simple changes to your daily routine can make a huge difference. What’s unique about your job is that you are hired to make someone else more productive, which can often set your own productivity back. However, by implementing a few of our Take Back Your Life® tips and tricks, you’ll regain control of not only your job, but of your life, too.
- Set Interruption Boundaries
You’re probably a lot of peoples’ go-to when they need something done. However, as you’re likely working for someone with significant organizational power, you need to remind yourself that your time is just as valuable as anyone else’s. With that being said, in order to consistently stay productive, you need to set strict interruption boundaries for yourself and others. A few ways we suggest to do this is by ignoring emails and IMs while your status is set to ‘Busy’, and only responding to them once you’ve finished what you’re working on. Additionally, you should turn off all of your email and messaging notifications, as hearing the ping or ding of a notification will distract you from what you’re working on. While these seem like small changes, they can make a monumental difference in the amount of work you get done each day.
- Stop Storing Emails in Your Inbox
One of my favorite practical analogies that we use here at MPS is to use your email inbox the same way you use your mailbox at home. When you get home and check the mail, you immediately decide what to do with each piece. You, of course, don’t open each envelope and then put them back in to the mailbox to deal with them later. So why would you do that with your email inbox? When you get an email, you should use one of the 4 D’s of Decision Making with each one; either delete it, do it (if it takes less than 2 minutes), delegate it to someone else who has the power to complete it, or defer it by putting it in a reference folder for a different day. This method will drastically reduce the amount of emails in your inbox, giving you a new sense of organization and control.
- Store Everything You Need to Do in the Outlook TaskPad
The TaskPad may be one of Outlook’s most underused and underrated features; you can store tasks in to categories, set their due dates, and use them as a storage place for relevant materials. One of the best pieces of advice we can give you about the TaskPad is to store everything in it—even any personal errands or projects you need to finish. With everything you have going on in your life, your mind is no longer a reliable place to store the things you need to do. As soon as a new tasks or project comes up, put it in the TaskPad and schedule a time to do it. This is the best way to ensure you’re not forgetting something, and one of the best organizational tools for any EA.
Life as an EA isn’t always easy, but with a few easy tweaks to your daily routine you can make your life easier while simultaneously being a more productive employee for your executive. For more helpful tips and tricks on being a successful Executive Assistant, contact us today to hear more about our public event, Take Back Your Life!® for EA’s, or secure your spot by registering now.