5 Ways for Admin Assistants to be More Efficient

English: A desk in an office.
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Efficiency in the office is important no matter what your job is but it is especially important for administrative assistants.  There are many people that depend on us to get the job done and to get it done quickly and properly.  That means we need to be efficient.

So, how can we be more efficient on our jobs?

Refine and prioritize your To Do List - Remember that a To Do List can be very helpful in improving efficiency but only if it is organized.  If you have 100 things on your To Do List it will be overbearing and you’ll be lucky if you get a few of them done.  Instead, make sure that no matter how many things are on your list they are prioritized.  If you have 5 or 6 things on you’re A list it won’t seem quite so scary and you might actually move on to the B list in the day!

Remove distractions - ringing phones, email, the Internet.  These things can all be very distracting.  If it your phone that is driving you crazy, see if you can forward it to voice mail for an hour while you concentrate.  If you email is open and you can resist check it every five minutes, shut it down.  Set up an automatic message that says you are working on a project for the next two hours and will contact them after that time.  Leave a number for emergencies.  If the internet is making you nuts check out some of these great tools you can use with Chrome.  There are other tools that are available with Firefox and IE8 as well – just do a search for them an you’re likely to find lots of ways to control your Internet browsing and help you focus on the task at hand.

Set time goals – how much time do you really need to get the job done?  Make an estimate and then time yourself.  Perhaps you find yourself losing concentrations after awhile.  If you do, make sure that you plan breaks into your work time.  It is amazing how much a five minute walk around the block can help you re-focus when you get back to your desk.  Just don’t schedule those breaks too often because every time you take a break it takes more time to get you back into work mode.

Clear your desk – if you have other projects sitting around your desk and remember something you wanted to do because you catch sight of it out of the corner of your eye it can be very easy to lose sight of what you are supposed to be working on.  Try to have only the things you need for the task you are working on at your desk.  Everything else should be put away.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Break up large tasks – large tasks can be very intimidating and if you know that it is going to take 20 hours to get the job done it can be hard to concentrate on the immediate task.  Instead of planning to work on Project B, break it down into smaller tasks – research, outline, make phone calls to get information, edit, re-write.  Smaller tasks are more manageable and as you see yourself complete each part of the job you’ll see that you are that much closer to completion.
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