This post was originally published by Emergen. You can read it here
As someone who spends the majority of their work time managing other peoples time, it is imperative to have things set in place to make my job easier.
Whether you’re an EA looking after people, a member of team or a manager, these tips will help you save time.
- Set time each day for people to pop their heads in.
People are constantly interrupting me and my managers. It’s distracting and time consuming. This way there’s 30 minutes set out every day where people can come and say their piece. I change it each day so that people don’t just turn up. It’s a really good way of managing traffic.
- Set tasks and reminders
I use my Flag button in Outlook almost as much as I press Send on a new email. Not only do they pop up and annoy me, but I can also sort my Outlook by Flagged Status. This gives me a good view of outstanding tasks, makes me file away emails I’ve actioned and gets my closer to the most glorious thing ever: white space in my inbox.
- Colour coordinate your calendar
You can categorise your appointments and it makes it a lot easier to see what’s going on. I have my work appointments, appointments for my managers and personal appointments. Colour coding them means I can scan and know that’s mine and what is work related. Travel, internal, external, very simple but very effective.
- Build up a list of things to talk about
Before you drop in to see someone, or ask them a question, work out whether you’ll need to see them again today or tomorrow, and whether it’s time critical. If it’s either of those then it can wait. Build up a list of things to talk about before you interrupt. It’ll save your time and theirs.
- Use conditional formatting or rules for emails
There’s this handy trick where you can change the colours of emails that come in from certain people, move them into certain folders, or automatically set them at certain priorities. Having emails from your manager or CEO arrive in your inbox in a different colour can be a great way to spot them first.
- Write an email rather than have a meeting
Everyone seems to think meetings are the best way to get a lot information across and to seek feedback. Sometimes a concise email with the points covering a large topic can be a much better use of everyone’s time, including yours. It also means you’ll get to get your whole point across before receiving feedback or comment.
A couple of tips just for managers!
- Move your calendar appointments into another folder, and let your EA answer them for you.
You can set a rule to move all calendar appointments to a certain folder. If you EA has access to your calendar (which they should if they’re doing their job properly) let them answer your calendar appointments. The two of you can go through anyone they’re not sure of at your daily/weekly appointments and the other ones can just be deleted.
- Have your EA wade through your emails .
If your work policy allows, let your EA sort your emails into a folder outside of your inbox. That way you only read the emails you need to and the rest of your emails get filed away or written up into a short brief.