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  • feedwordpress 14:30:41 on 2020/05/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , strengths and characteristics of a good assistant, , time management   

    Timely and Effective Communication Strategies for Assistants 


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    Timely and Effective Communication Strategies for Assistants

    We all know that communication is the cornerstone of any organization’s success. It is even more important in times of crisis. So how can you effectively communicate with your executive, colleagues, and partners while being sensitive to interpretations and time constraints?

    In this Timely and Effective Communications blog, we are going to cover how as well as ways you can use communication to maximize productivity and reach goals. You’ll learn about:

    1. The importance of timely communication and resources to help you execute it.
    2. Keeping people in the loop. 
    3. Delivering bad news.
    4. Dealing with emotional reactions. 
    5. Tactfully voicing your opinions. 
    6. Navigating through different communication styles and choosing the most effective medium to relay important details.

    And much more! At the end of this blog, there is a helpful video that goes into detail on parts of the information presented above. If you are ready to better yourself and your career as an assistant, read on.

    1. Timely Communication

    Over the years, you have likely heard Joan and other people talk about timing is everything when communicating with others, especially when we want them to be open to an idea or suggestion. 

    If you are not thinking about the who, what, when, where, and what tool to use, you will not have as great an impact. Your goal should be to create win-win situations by reaching the recipient when it matters the most. 

    Prioritize your communications by asking yourself questions such as: 

    • If I don’t inform my leader or coworker about this, what can be the impact? 
    • What damage might occur?
    • What form of communication is proven to be the most effective based on my rapport with the recipient? Do they respond best to emails, calls, text messages, etc?
    • What words can I use in the subject line to address the urgency of my message?

    In our last Survival Tactics Series blog: Working in Tandem with Your Leader, we covered best practices for verbal and written communication.

    2. Keep Appropriate People in the Loop

    Who needs the information you are privy to? While we do not want to overshare with too many people, we do not want to leave people out of the loop. Even if they do not need to take direct action, it may be helpful that they know what is going on.  

    3. Delivering Bad News

    No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. You should remain sensitive to how those receiving the news may react. To do so, follow each of the points below: 

    • Communicate bad news promptly.

    A typical response to bad news is “How long have you known?” If you have known for a long time but have not shared the news, people may feel that they have been cheated or that you do not trust them. 

    Recognize that there is no good time for bad news—share it as soon as you can. 

    • Do not just email.

    Email alone comes across as unfeeling and distant. If possible, avoid leading with email and opt for a verbal approach. If you have no option but to use email, follow-up the correspondence with a telephone call, in-person meeting, or video call. 

    • Communicate more than once.

    Provide additional details and updates in follow-up communications. Especially if the news is serious, people take in bad news gradually. After they have grasped the essential message, they will want details.

    4. Dealing with Emotions

    People will respond to news, opinions, suggestions, and ideas differently. If you find yourself in a situation where you or the recipient is responding out of emotion, take a moment. If you are communicating the news, be open to the recipients’ position. Let them talk without interrupting. If you can’t agree, end the discussion for the time being. You can say something like “I understand that this is important to you and I want to take some time to process what you have just shared. Let us pick back up on this at a later time. I will reach out via email with some options. Let me know what works best with your schedule.” This allows you to digest the situation, gather your thoughts, and respond with decorum.   

    5. Tactfully Voice Your Opinions

    While we should always be able to tactfully voice our opinions, we need to be extra tactful during delicate times. The reason being people are extra sensitive during these times.

    • Think about the words you will use.
    • Do you have facts to back up your ideas?
    • Do not verbally attack the person.
    • Be considerate of the person’s opinions. 
    • If something is needed from you as a result of the discussion, establish a timeline for sending that information to the person. 

    6. Navigating through different communication styles and choosing the most effective medium

    In our trainings, we talk about four styles of communication by referencing colors. Here is a quick overview:

    Red: Is short and to the point; they are more logic-oriented than “feeling” oriented. Be more businesslike with red. 

    Blue: Is more informal; they can take small pieces of information and connect the dots. This color is creative and sensitive.

    Yellow: Is like blue, they like to give and receive information but may stray from the subject.

    Green: Is precise, orderly, structured, detailed, and factual.

    You can reference our Communicating In Style, With Style blog for more details on each color as well as our Communication Style Assessment. You will make headway by communicating in the recipient’s style. 

    You can discover all 14 timely and effective communication methods through our Survival Tactics Series for Chaotic Times: Timely and Effective Communications assistant webinar.

    Survival-Tactics-For-Administrative-Professionals

     
  • feedwordpress 15:45:00 on 2020/03/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , time management, ,   

    11 Effective Ways for Assistants to Work From Home 


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    Rare and unusual times have presented themselves as a result of the onset of Coronavirus COVID-19. As an office, we learned just how many Assistants across the nation and world have become impacted. While we anticipated learning of non-essential business closures leading to working from home, we did not anticipate the high number of Assistants around the world struggling with the uncertainties, isolation and communication barriers brought on by the circumstances.

    Last week, we hosted an Understanding VUCA for Assistants webinar in which we shared adaptation traits to help our viewers navigate through constant change. During that webinar, we asked 800+ attendees around the world what their working situation was like as a result of COVID-19. The poll asked Assistants to select the option that described them: “Working from Home” or “Still Working from the Office.” The results showed that 80% of our webinar attendees are working from home (WFH).

    Furthermore, during the Q&A at the end of our webinar, many assistants shared that the shift is more demanding than working from the office. School closures have added the element of caring for children while addressing workplace demands.

    With homes now serving as a centralized location to work, eat, and sleep, many Assistants are struggling with the lack of human interaction, and being around family 24/7. Even most Virtual Assistants are feeling the demands brought on by COVID-19.

    For these reasons, I wanted to share some tips that have pulled me through times of turbulence. All of them can be applied to working from home and provide agility for these chaotic times.

    Things Not to Do:

    • Watch the news feed all day. While it may feel necessary in order to keep up with developments. Studies have shown that it leads to depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

    • Overreact. When you hear or read bad news globally or within your own family, take a moment to process it so that you can react calmly. Not only will you benefit from this method, but others around you will as well. Be the positive domino effect in the room.

    • Stay up too late or stay in bed too long during the week. You still need good rest. Sleep deprivation combined with anxiety can impact your awareness and job performance in an already overwhelming time.

    • Do not take your anger or frustration out on others. Remember the domino effect mentioned in the last two bullet points. Practice decorum to keep the peace.

    • Use this time to visit friends, online shop or complete errands around the house during work hours. Your employer has made your health and comfort priority and trusted you with your workload. Be considerate and keep with routines to maximize productivity as you normally would.

    What to Do:

    • Read and listen to words of inspiration. Have you ever heard the saying “You are what you read”? Positivity can be an inspirational and uplifting trait for you and those around you.

    • Save money for that much-needed vacation post-COVID-19. Since you are not eating out, getting your Starbucks, going to concerts or events, put aside any money you can. Once this is all over and we get back to living our lives, many of us will want to enjoy a lovely vacation.

    • Keep as much of your workweek routine as possible. One executive assistant suggested wearing your name badge during the day. I thought this was a great idea as it also sends a message to others in the house that “you are at work.”

    • To stay connected to your administrative peers and continue your education, host a book club. Everyone can read a chapter or section of a chapter before you meet online. Maybe attendees can take turns being the leader for the session.

      Talk about how you can apply the information you read to your current situations. You can find several industry-specific books on our website. I would like to suggest a great book for females that I wrote called Give Yourself Permission to Live a BIG Life.

    • Update your professional portfolio. Take time to spruce up your resume and Linkedin profile with recent job titles, courses, and certifications that give you a competitive edge. This benefits you for two reasons: 1) You’ll be ready to present this information at your next performance review. 2) Should your employment status change as a result of current events, you’ll be ready to dominate the employment market.

    • Assistants rarely take lunch breaks. Take advantage of your lunch break when working from home. This would be a good time to destress or spend time with your family, walk the dog or video chat with friends and family.

    • Connect with people using Zoom, Facetime, Skype or any of the other wonderful tools we have. We are uplifted when we see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices. If communication has been an issue, suggest weekly 30-minute department meetings so everyone can share their challenges and best practices.

    • Keep very good notes on all the work that has been put on the back burner due to COVID-19. What was once a priority project may now be a back-burner project. Create a running list or add items to your calendar to revisit at a later time. When those projects pick back up, you’ll be organized and ready to go.

    • Take a little time to set up your workspace so it is functional, comfortable, and supplied. Hopefully, you can set it up in an area where you aren’t interrupted. Pinterest has a ton of ideas you can gather inspiration from.

    • Step away from your computer at least every hour and take a short break.

    • This is a good time for self and career development courses. Office Dynamics has a variety of online learning courses for Administrative Professionals.

    I would love to hear some of your ideas.

    Joan Burge

    The post 11 Effective Ways for Assistants to Work From Home appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:27:26 on 2020/03/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , time management, ,   

    Survival Tactics for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times 


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    Disasters and chaotic times dramatically impact our personal and professional lives. And while, with time most situations improve, reoccurrence in the future is inevitable.

    How do you manage external responsibilities, such as children and family, keep up with workload demands and safeguard yourself from difficult times in the world? Adaptability.

    At Office Dynamics International, Secretaries, Executive Assistants, and Administrative Assistants alike have approached us on skills, tactics, and traits to implement in order to achieve agility and survive the pressures of today’s society.

    The Administrative Professional Adapting to Working From Home

    Working from home has become a new reality for many US workers. Some of the biggest challenges experienced are isolation, time-management, and communication barriers among staff members. What’s more, as schools shut down across the US, working parents must juggle company and family priorities simultaneously.

    Working from home for an unknown period of time is uncharted territory for many. How do you adjust your routine for maximum productivity and efficiency? What should you do to deal with isolation and your sanity after being home all day with children, spouses, and pets?

    Working from the office is just as complex. Earlier this month you may have been scheduling business trips, events and negotiating with vendors. Fast forward to now; you’re vigorously putting out fires, redoing your Executive’s calendar, receiving cancellations and making them too. Business priorities have shifted, tensions are flaring and expectations are doubling each day. 

    Additionally, financial uncertainties caused by company closures and layoffs impact more than the economy, your livelihood as you know it is at stake. It takes the right mental attitude to navigate through these personal and professional complexities.

    Survival Tactics Series for Administrative Professionals

    Joan Burge has created a micro-learning series called Survival Tactics for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times. Receive pertinent, palpable information in 30 minutes, 2 times a week for 3 weeks.

    • Embrace a Warrior Mindset
    • Working in Tandem with Your Leader
    • Timely and Effective Communications
    • Being Resilient During Turbulent Times
    • Riding the Wave of Change
    • Self-Management and Personal Care

    While professional, financial and familial stressors will present themselves through and through, you’ll be equipped with in-demand tools to address them, and at times people, whilst maintaining your patience and decorum.

    The post Survival Tactics for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:32:51 on 2019/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , time management   

    Time Management for the Modern Assistant 


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    Time_Management_for_Assistants

    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:

    1. What must get done before day’s end?
    2. What is the negative impact if I do not get this done?
    3. Am I currently focusing on the most important item in my leader’s eyes?
    4. 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!

    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.

    Time_Management_for_the_Modern_Assistant_eBook

    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.

    The post Time Management for the Modern Assistant appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:05:22 on 2019/04/18 Permalink
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    9 Ways to Improve Your Organization Skills for Administrative Assistants 


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    Improve_Your_Organization_Skills

    Organization skills for administrative assistants are one of the most valuable skills to have as an administrative assistant.

    Without the ability to organize your work and your resources, you could be twisting in the wind in no time. You may have been able to muddle along back in the day, but in today’s competitive environment, you need to work any advantage in your favor.

    Fortunately, there are at least 9 ways to improve your organization skills as an administrative assistant without too much effort on your part.

    Be proactive

    Most people take the work one day at a time, coming in ready to take on whatever happens. However, that means you are reacting to a situation rather than preparing for it in advance. The best way to make the most of your day is to prepare for it in advance. Know what you need to do for the next day and make preparations for them before you leave for the day. This not only takes the guesswork out of your workday, it might even give you some insights or ideas of how to do the work better.

    Make a list

    Part of being proactive is making a list of all the things you need to do for each day. The benefits of this are of course so you don’t forget anything. An added bonus to making a list is crossing it out. It gives you not only a concrete way to keep track of the tasks you need to do, but it motivates you to keep doing it because it gives you such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishing crossing each item on your list. This is putting all your ducks in a row, and you shoot them down one by one, metaphorically speaking.

    Make a schedule

    At the same time you are planning the day and making your list of tasks, you should make a schedule, giving each task a prescribed time to do each one. You can ensure you meet all your deadlines, and nothing is left by the wayside.

    Be an early bird

    You are more likely to get more things done, and in time, if you start early. Of course, this should reflect on the work schedule you make, but getting started early also means there are other things you can do to keep you on your toes, such as daily exercise and a good breakfast. Starting early also means you avoid stress by having plenty of time to get to work and do anything else you need to do.

    Establish a filing system

    Most of your files are probably going to be digital, but you still need to know where everything you need is stored. Looking for lost files will take up as much of your time as looking for misplaced items. You need to make sure all your files are in its proper place. You should also have a master document of all your files, and the location of those files.

    Make the most of your prime time

    Everybody has a certain time of the day when they are most productive. Some work better early in the morning, while others work best in the evening. You should schedule all your most demanding or challenging work during this time. Of course, if your business involves meeting with other people, you need to coordinate your prime time with theirs.

    Minimize interruptions

    You may think it is obvious, but you waste a lot of time dealing with interruptions to your work. This is why it is important to make a schedule. Follow the schedule and avoid distractions as much as possible. Turn off your mobile phone, close the door to your office, and avoid useless meetings. If you travel frequently, you should travel in as comfortable surroundings as you can so you can do work.

    Learn to delegate

    You might think you are saving money by doing everything yourself. The fact is, you can save a considerable amount of time and effort by delegating tasks to the right people and focusing on core activities that will make you money.

    Organize your workplace

    Whether you work alone, or you have employees, you want to arrange your work area so you can be more efficient. You can minimize the time and effort it takes to get things done. Even putting the photocopier next to where you keep your paper supplies can help save a few steps and trips that ultimately increase your productivity, and that of your employees.

    Organizational skills for administrative assistants are crucial to the success of any business. Some people are naturally organized, but even if you aren’t, you can develop them. These 9 ways can help you improve your organization skills in practical and workable ways.

    We want to hear from you, what are your favorite tips for better organization? Share some of your organization skills, tips, and tricks in the comments below.


    certification_for_administrative_assistants

    Learn more administrative professional skills that will launch you further into career success by attending our World Class Assistant™ course and obtaining the Certified World Class Assistant designation.

    The post 9 Ways to Improve Your Organization Skills for Administrative Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
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