Year after year, one of the biggest struggles executive assistants report to me is effective time management. Let’s face it: your days are chaotic. You’re pulled in a million different directions, and many of you have multiple leaders to support. Deadlines press down on you, distractions steal valuable time, and there never seems to be quite enough hours in the day to get it all done! I know what you’re up against. There are many things throughout the day that can waste our time. They may not seem significant by themselves but can add up to hours of wasted time!
Get Your Mind in the Right Place
There is no process, no to-do list, no time tracking trick that will help you until you begin your day with a positive frame of mind. That’s right: attitude is everything. Starting each day with confidence, positivity, and passion for progress often equates to a successful day. If your body and mind are in sync, you may surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in a day.
But you can’t just start the day in the right frame of mind. You should actively cultivate and protect that positivity (trust me…your day will try to steal it!). In order to maintain that outlook, make sure you make time for quiet in your day. Taking a few minutes to reevaluate and refocus on your work gives your mind and body the brief respite it needs to stay energized and in control. Find a place at your work that’s quiet (it may even be your own desk). Sit and breathe. Take stock of your day. Think about what you’ve accomplished and what still needs to get done. You can ask yourself these questions:
- What must get done before day’s end?
- What is the negative impact if I do not get this done?
- Am I currently focusing on the most important item in my leader’s eyes?
- What is coming up in the next few days that I must act on today?
Be future-focused while being in the moment! These five-minute breaks may be the most valuable time you spend all day. The day can’t wash over you if you stay more aware of yourself!
5 Time Management Strategies for Executive Assistants to Increase Productivity
- Prioritization: Discuss the importance of prioritizing tasks and how to determine which tasks should be given higher priority. This could include using tools like the Eisenhower Matrix or the ABC method to help prioritize tasks.
- Scheduling: Talk about the benefits of using a schedule or calendar to plan and organize your workday. Discuss strategies for creating a schedule that works for you, such as blocking out time for specific tasks or using time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique.
- Delegation: Mention the importance of knowing when to delegate tasks to others, and offer tips on how to delegate effectively. This could include discussing how to determine which tasks are appropriate to delegate and how to communicate effectively with team members to ensure that tasks are completed effectively.
- Time-wasting habits: Identify common time-wasting habits and offer tips on how to break these habits in order to increase productivity. This could include tips on how to minimize distractions, how to avoid procrastination, and how to stay focused on your work.
- Self-care: Discuss the importance of taking care of yourself in order to maintain a positive attitude and stay energized and productive. This could include tips on how to prioritize self-care activities, such as taking breaks, exercising, and eating well.
Being more aware of your habits will also help you structure your day. I recommend working on your most complex projects and tasks during your most productive time of day. For some, that may be early morning and others may be most productive in the afternoon. Whatever your sweet spot is, ensure that your daily tasks are structured in such a way that you reserve simple, mundane tasks for your less productive times and the more complex, pressing projects for your most productive times. Take a minute to think about what time of day you are most productive. If you would like more time management tips, get a copy of my downloadable eBook, Time Management for the Modern Assistant: Proven Tactics for Taming Your Day.
In this innovative eBook, Joan provides insightful and life-changing time management techniques for the modern assistant. Learn how to take control of your day and master what you’ve learned with concise tips and engaging activities.