Welcome to this blog on getting things done in the workplace! As an administrative assistant with 28 years of experience, I know firsthand the challenges of juggling multiple tasks and demands. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tips and strategies for managing conflicting priorities, organizing your workspace, neutralizing information overload, and increasing productivity. Whether you’re an administrative assistant or simply looking for ways to stay organized and on top of your work, I hope these suggestions will be helpful.
Coping with Conflicting Priorities
- Ask for specific deadlines. Do not accept the “a.s.a.p.” answer. How many times do you ask a manager or someone who is giving you a task, “How soon do you need this?” The typical response is “as soon as possible.” Change your question and you will get a different response. Instead ask the person, “By when is the latest I can get this to you?”
- Early in the day, clarify with your manager(s) what are the most important priorities. I highly recommend doing this first thing in the morning as what you thought was a priority at 5:00 pm the day before, could have totally changed because your manager (like many others) is working at night and early morning. Always clarify the top 3 priorities for the day.
- When struggling with which “A” priority to do first, ask yourself, “What is the impact of not getting this done today?”
Organizing Your Workspace
An organized workspace reduces stress, gives the impression to others that you are on top of things, and saves you time.
- Remember your workspace is a part of your professional image.
- Your workspace is not storage space.
- Place the most frequently used items closest to you.
- Use desk trays to keep paper items and folders neatly organized.
- Your inside drawers matter too.
Neutralize Information Overload
We are exposed to a tremendous amount of information in a day.
- Don’t read everything that comes your way. Learn to scan information and determine which items really need attention.
- Assess your information sources. Make sure the source of information is credible.
- Use your highlighter to mark important information, deadline dates, or aha information. (electronic or hard copy)
Tips to be Productive
- Standardize your processes.
- When given a project or task, try to get all the information at once. Many times, your manager just gives you bits of information. Be assertive and ask for more details or get the bigger picture to reduce back and forth time or going off on the wrong tangent.
- Establish some quiet time throughout the day to re-assess your priorities.
- Recognize the time of day you are most productive. At that time of day, do your most intense work or the work that will take a great deal of focus or brainpower.
- Throughout the day, as you are doing your work, search for simpler and faster ways to do that task.
Don’t confuse. . .
. . . activity with results
. . . hard work with results
. . . efficiency with results.
You can be active and very busy but running around in circles. A professional is someone who cares about the results, not just the activity.
I hope these tips have been useful for you in your own journey to get things done in the workplace. Remember that productivity is about more than just activity or hard work – it’s about getting results. By focusing on your priorities, organizing your workspace, and staying on top of information, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and making the most of your time. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out the Office Dynamics YouTube Channel for additional resources and ideas.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
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With Joan’s strategic and empowering self-management approach, you’ll learn how to identify and eliminate common internal and external time robbers, manage conflicting priorities, assess your personal productivity patterns, neutralize information overload, and understand the importance of physical organization. Plus, you’ll learn how to make productive choices that will help you get more done in less time.
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