Prioritizing Tips for Assistants

Administrative/Clerical: Prioritizing Work More Efficiently

Prioritizing your work efficiently is one of the best ways to succeed as an administrative professional. Good work-management skills make it possible to manage multiple projects without missing deadlines or submitting subpar work. Use these tips to make work management easier no matter how many projects you are working on at one time.

Administrative assistants and secretaries face more disruptions than many other office professionals because they often have to greet guests and answer the telephone. You may also have to stop what you are doing to take notes at a meeting or perform another task for your boss, making it easy to lose track of what you were doing and reducing your workplace efficiency. One way to combat this problem is to keep a notebook—or the electronic equivalent—with you at all times. When you have to stop working on a project, make a note about what you were doing. This will make it easier to get back into the flow of things when you have time to return to the project.

Carrying a notebook is also a great way to determine how you spend the bulk of your time. Part of good work management is spending time on productive tasks rather than tasks that have no real effect on your output. Write down everything you do for at least a week to see how you are spending your time. At the end of the week, review the list of activities and see if there are any you can eliminate or delegate to someone else. This will increase your workplace efficiency and make it easier to prioritize important projects.

Some people recommended ranking every task on your to-do list according to its priority level, but Maura Thomas says this tip doesn’t really work. Your priorities may change throughout the day, leaving you scrambling to update your to-do list. If you focus only on tasks that have been assigned a priority level of “A,” you might forget to do tasks you marked as less critical. Instead of ranking tasks according to their priority level, create a to-do list that includes every task you must complete on a particular day. This will help you build good work management skills and stay on top of all your projects. Your list is likely going to change based on the needs of your employer, so don’t worry if you have to edit it from time to time.

Good work-management skills make any administrative job easier, whether you are assisting a high-level executive or working as a file clerk in a busy office. Improve your ability to prioritize work by creating a comprehensive to-do list and keeping track of projects in a notebook. Identify and eliminate time wasters by tracking your activities for one full week. If you follow these tips, you will improve your work management skills and have a better chance of succeeding in the administrative field.

Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for  Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond.  Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.  Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on


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