My previous two posts dealt with what to look for in an administrative assistant and how to work with a shared assistant. This post is for leaders who don’t have administrative support on their payroll. My first suggestion, try to get it in the budget. I believe the investment in a professional administrator will generate a tremendous return on investment. Until that time arrives, there are two strategies you may want to consider.
1. Outsource what you can – Are you doing your own Power Point slides? There are professionals who can do that for you – and they’ll look better. Do you need to do a mass mailing? There are companies that provide this service at very reasonable rates. Are you booking your own travel? A travel agency can manage those details for you. Are you doing large amounts of typing or transcriptions? There are service providers to do these things too. You may even want to consider a virtual assistant. Tim Ferris writes about this in The Four-Hour Work Week. And finally, during peak demand, it may be appropriate to consider part-time help for a few hours or a few days. This doesn’t require a long-term commitment and just might be a great investment.
2. Work to improve your own productivity – There are scores of books written on this topic. If you haven’t done a deep dive on this topic already, personal productivity may be a topic you want to include in your next development plan. Here are four ideas that may relieve some administrative headaches:
Send less email – The more email you send, the more you get. Call people, talk to people face to face, send a text, all of this will result in less email for you to process.
Get off all distribution lists you can – If you find that you are being copied on things you don’t need to be copied on or if you’re part of a “Reply All” culture, ask people to take you off the list. The same goes for junk mail and blogs. Get off the junk mail lists and have your favorite blogs sent to your RSS.
Batch work – One of the long-standing insights from the time management gurus is batching – doing like work in a predetermined time block. This includes reading your favorite blogs. Experiment with this, maybe the first hour of the day or the last 2 hours on Friday afternoon. Batching will help minimize the distractions and mental interruptions.
Keep one calendar – I would recommend this even if you do have an assistant. Put all your personal appointments on the same calendar with your professional commitments. This means you have only one place to look when scheduling and virtually eliminates double booking.
My final encouragement to you… figure out how to minimize the time you invest on administrative tasks. This will give you more time to do what you do best – lead! [GLS_Shield]