Brilliant Mindfulness

Brilliant Blog Series

Read Time: 3 Minutes

It’s official, January, has kicked into high gear and for many Administrative Professionals, the added stress from the holidays in both your personal and work life bring their own challenges. Frankly, it’s left many feeling spent at the end of it all. The working world never ceases, and home life continues to add daily pressure. Giving yourself the gift of Mindfulness, isn’t just relaxing, it encompasses the mentality of total well-being including stress-reduction and resilience. 

Mindfulness starts with blocking off time to do something that makes you happy. A couple of resources that focus on this subject that I found fascinating are: The Mindfulness Exercises Company which offers both exercises and free practice courses, as well as community discussions of the many aspects to Mindfulness.  The book titled “Business Balance & Bliss” is trending high on Amazon, and it’s author and speaker Amy Vetter along with her company put their own vision and touches of how Mindfulness transforms both career and life. 

Consider that time should be spent (even if it needs to be scheduled) doing something calming all throughout your work week. We often cave to this idea that we must keep working as long as possible without quitting, but how productive will that work-time really be if your body and mind are exhausted? Here is a challenge we hope you’ll accept…to set aside one evening a week to schedule a relaxing activity. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to relax to help you get some inspiration!

1. Technology Blackout

It’s not uncommon for Administrative Professionals to be tied to their Executive/Boss 24×7. It might be a Sunday, but you’re still checking texts and emails. Give yourself a few hours break from your computer and your phone, and spend your time doing something else that engages you!

The following ideas are 10x more effective when coupled with the above!

2. Spa Time/ Massage

Ahhh, nothing says “relax” like a spa. Whether it’s getting your feet rubbed and detoxed, or getting a massage or a facial, investing a little time in your body never hurt (in fact, quite the opposite). This is a popular perk in Silicon Valley, as companies realize employees’ attitudes and health improve, and offer this either free or with a minimal fee. Depending on your budget, maybe this is something you want to incorporate into your routine once every couple weeks – it’s totally up to you – but try giving back to your body, because it gives so much to you.

3. Mommy’s/Daddy’s Night Out

Those of us who are parents, we love our little ones no doubt. Sometimes, though, we need a little time to ourselves that has not been borrowed by work or the kiddos. Find a sitter that you trust, maybe even your partner, and go outside your house. Maybe you need a Friends’ Night, or a date? Maybe you just need a little alone time with yourself. Whatever it is that you need, a night that is just for you is not asking too much. 

4. Yoga / Meditation

Learn how to quiet your mind. All those thoughts are constantly flying in and out, leaving us dizzy in the wake. As an Administrative Professional, we are multitasking all day long, balancing goodness knows how many tasks, appointments, information and inventory. Many times, that results in stress and overwhelming anxiety. Once you discover how to tune out the noise, it will serve you well both in your relaxing periods and in the office. The book titled “Business Balance & Bliss” is trending high on Amazon, and it’s author and speaker Amy Vetter along with her company put their own vision and touches of how Mindfulness transforms both career and life. 

5. Friend’s Night

It’s true, we get by with a little help from our friends. Having an evening to catch up, have some laughs, and sip a little coffee (or wine) can be just what the doctor ordered. Especially when times get rough, it’s wonderful to be surrounded by people who care about you. Maybe you are struggling with an issue at work? Maybe you just need to be perked up? Friends are a fabulous gift to provide us with the support we need and vice-versa. If you have some super friends, make sure you spend some quality time with them – it’s good for your soul!

6. Taking a Walk

So simple, yet so powerful. Walking has an incredible amount of benefits for you, from boosting your immune system to improving your mood, and your overall health. It’s a great option if you are looking for something to do on a budget because walking around our world is free! Go get caught up in the environment around you and get a little healthier and happier. You can also read more of the benefits at

Obviously, there are endless possibilities when it comes to finding a way to relax – the point is that you find one that works best for you! Getting overstressed just decreases your productivity and the quality of your work, and it’s not worth the health risks it brings. Take time to finesse some “Me Time” into your week and see for yourself how much it will improve your work and your life! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!


Thank you for reading my blogs and posts. Your shares and likes keep me inspired.


Up-Coming Silicon Valley Events:

Star Meteor One-Day Elite Administrative Professionals Training – February 21, May 8, August 26, November 5, 2020 (DETAILS

Star Achievement Series® — ( Level l ) Four-Day Certification & Designation Course conveniently spread out one day every 3-4 weeks. – February 20, March 12, April 9, May 7, 2020 (DETAILS

World Class Assistant (WCA) Three-Day Certification & Designation Course – Silicon Valley – April 6-8, October 6-8 (DETAILS)


Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Brilliant Time Management; 10 Points of Wisdom Successful People Use


Phew!  It appears January arrived early this year, just as things were starting to slow down a bit – holiday marketing campaigns launched, holiday parties past, finally the food is settling in our stomachs. January is a good time to look back at how we handled the seemingly perpetual time crunch from October through December. It serves as a smart reference to where things could be improved upon or how to gain an improved work/life balance going forward.

Hello 2020, it’s all about structure. Learning how to fine tune your time management skills lays the foundation for success in 2020. Not only will this help you, but it will help your Executive – it’s a key element of the strategic partnership. As a successful team, you must be on the same page to help foster that cohesive relationship with your Executive. Here are 10 collected Points of Wisdom (POW):

Preparation Joanne LindenPOW #1. Plan ahead

It may seem like common sense to mention this one, but many people go about their days without intention. They navigate on-the-fly, and even the most experienced EA can forget things now and then. Preparation is key, so laying events and goals out in advance means that you can anticipate and plan to meet any needs ahead of time. 

Start with making a list of everything you want to accomplish at work the next day and figure out what will be the best time to finish each task. This shouldn’t be limited to only work tasks, but also anything that you need to take care of in your personal life as well, so there are no obstacles keeping you from success. 

POW #2. Prepare to Reassess 

Even if you think you have a solid plan set, new projects and deadlines will likely arise throughout the day.  When this happens, stay calm and simply re-assess your day. You will need to take the time to adjust your schedule accordingly and plan out how you will accomplish your new tasks.  You may feel like you don’t have time to stop and think about how you will get things done, but believe me, taking 30 minutes to plan will pay off in the end; you will actually save time because you will know how to handle everything that comes your way with ease.

POW #3. Prioritize

Priorities tell us where to start, or what to focus on. It is extremely important when you are planning your day, because if things start to become overwhelming or get out of hand, you just focus on the priority. You want to tackle the toughest, most important or urgent project first, so you can ensure they are done and done well. As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day! Next, schedule in the rest of your tasks including certain blocks of time to answer phone calls and emails; keep to these times to eliminate unnecessary distractions (this means staying off your cell phone too!).  You may have to fight the urge to respond to an email the second you see the mail icon pop up in the corner of your computer screen, but it is for a good cause. Pauses or turn off notifications if you need to. 

POW #4. Breaking It Down

Things are much easier for your mind to manage, compartmentalize and digest when they are broken down into individual tasks rather than a whole. Not only will this allow you to schedule your day better, but it will keep you from feeling overwhelmed from the size of what you must complete. For example, which of these statements sounds better to you? “I have to plan an entire in-service for my company in addition to my daily tasks and I’m not sure how I’m going to do it,” or “This morning I need to look at catering options for our in-service, and after that is complete I will start researching possible guest speakers.” Frankly, thinking about the first statement makes my heart rate increase, while the latter seems completely manageable.

Calendar Joanne_Linden AdminUniversePOW #5. Keep Your Calendar Nearby

Whether you like the good ole’ paper bound planners, your digital calendar app, or a mix of the two, it is practically life-saving to utilize your calendar. It ensures that you are not double booking, it gives you the opportunity to plan things in advance, and it can give you a big picture view of where your time is going / has gone in the past. It’s a fantastic tool to keep you on track with your planning. 



POW #6. Keep your desk clear

You may have your to do lists and schedule in order, but to be your best your desk should be in order too. It is a scientific fact that your environment affects your mindset. If your desk is cluttered, so is your headspace. Aside from allowing you to put as little stress on your plate as possible, having everything in its own place allows you to find things swiftly. So when you are scheduling out your week, make sure to block off time to re-organize your work space; you may want to do this on Fridays when it can often be less busy, and this will also allow you to start the next week off with a clean slate… literally.

Do Not Disturb Joanne LindenPOW #7. Do Not Disturb

If you absolutely cannot be disturbed while working on a project, do not be afraid to put up a “do not disturb” sign on your countertop or on your door, if you have an office, to let your co-workers know that you are on a tight deadline and won’t be available for a bit. This is also a great practice with your email or cellphone, as mentioned before. You can pause notifications from apps, email, phone calls, etc. for just enough time to dive into those important tasks that demand the most focus. 


POW #8. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

We all want to be team players but sometimes being too much of a good sport can cause you to be overwhelmed. It is, without a doubt, impossible to say “yes” to everything that comes your way.  In order to manage your time effectively there will be times when you have to say “no.” Choose which tasks are the most significant and will have the biggest impact on you and your work and say yes to those; say no to those that will not.  You can be polite when declining invitations or ideas or may even be able to come back to them at a later time. If there are too many things that you feel are extremely important and need to be done, it may be time to delegate.

Delegate Blog Joanne_Linden AdminUniversePOW #9. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

We all find ourselves in those situations or projects that truly require an extra set (or two) of hands. I find the best way to delegate is to politely reach out to members of your team, explain how you are feeling, and simply ask for help. If you are willing to take the time to explain why you are asking for help and what a great impact your co-workers will have, they will likely be more than happy to help you. If you ask for help, however, you need to trust in others to do the job you have asked of them. Feeling as if you should be watching over their shoulders likely means that you didn’t choose the best fit to assist, or that possibly the project is too important and should be handled directly by you. 

POW #10. Reflect

At the end of the day and at the end of each project take some time to reflect on what was accomplished.  What worked and what didn’t? Were the deadlines that were set realistic or should they be adjusted for the next project?  Did you ultimately reach your goal? This will allow you to re-prioritize, adjust your scheduling, and set yourself up for success in the future. 

Thank you for reading my blogs and posts. Your shares and likes keep me inspired.

Up-Coming Silicon Valley Events:

Star Meteor™ One-Day Elite Administrative Professionals Training
February 21, May 8, August 26, November 5, 2020 (DETAILS

Star Achievement Series® — ( Level l ) Four-Day

Certification & Designation Course conveniently spread out one day every 3-4 weeks.

February 20, March 12, April 9, May 7, 2020 (DETAILS

World Class Assistant™ (WCA) Three-Day Certification & Designation Course – Silicon Valley

April 6-8, October 6-8 (DETAILS)

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer


Happy New Year! Filling The Year With Optimism

As 2020 begins, this marks the start of my third year as a full-time business owner, AdminUniverse™ and ACE. As a new entrepreneur, I must admit that I am a bit jittery about the year ahead, asking myself “will I be ready for the success that awaits me?”

In 2019 I began the year by setting the foundation for growth, something as an Executive Assistant, I hadn’t been tasked with before.  I along with my partner and husband, Allan, developed the plan and began working it using our corporate mission as the guide.

But without the trust and support of clients, vendors and business alliances we could not have accomplished our goals delivering elite training, administrative recruiting and growing our ACE peer-to-peer network.

We’re setting our goals for 2020 even higher and are excited to see what the year will bring and hope you’ll be a part of it.

Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Best regards,


Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA
President, Master Trainer and Author

Brilliant Entrepreneur

Brilliant Entrepreneur Gains Time Joanne Linden

Gain newfound time working strategically with an Executive Assistant.

Entrepreneurs are just as guilty of trying to do everything themselves as anyone else, if not more. It’s part of that constant brainstorming, planning mindset. But what they don’t realize until they slow down long enough, is how much more efficient and productive they would be with their time if they were to delegate tasks to others, like an Administrative Assistant. So how can an Entrepreneur change their perspective on delegation and learn how to save at least 20% of their time? Here’s 3 “Points of Wisdom” (POWs) that just might set the stage for an improved strategic partnership with your Administrative Assistant:

POW #1 – How much is your time worth?

As a busy Entrepreneur, you will get to a point that self-evaluation of your time is imperative to running your business. What is the true value of your time? For example, if you were to save time in one area of your daily tasks, how would you invest that newfound time? It’s important that the Executive/Boss really pays attention to what they’re daily tasks entail and quantify the work they “must” do versus what can be delegated.

A common practice among many Executive’s is to hang onto the tasks that are accomplishable and more tangible, even though these tasks can be completed by someone else. Often tasks that can be delegated to a trusted Assistant, can leave you free to do what you do best — strategy, sales, operations, or making difficult decisions.  It’s human nature to sometimes give your brain a bit of a break by doing task-oriented work which can be delegated. It’s hard to let go of those tasks because now you are forced to structure your time doing the difficult work and perhaps emotionally taxing decisions that only you need to make.

POW #2 – What are you spending time on

Understanding how much value you bring and where that could be better spent is a matter of going through the day and mapping out where and how your time is being spent. Nothing beats having a clear picture of the data in front of you to bring clarity and help develop a plan. Executives/Bosses should ask themselves, “Can somebody else be doing this for me? making these travel arrangements? scheduling these meetings? following up on phone calls? getting the action items from the staff that they’ve been following up on? put the preliminary PowerPoint together”? Taking a PowerPoint presentation as an example, the Executive could sit down and explain their vision for the presentation and have the Executive Assistant put it together.

POW # 3 – Strategic Partner or Order Taker?  Finding the Right Fit.

Often, an Entrepreneur feels that they need to be fully in control of all the details, because that’s how they got to where they are. They’ve grown the organization pretty much by themselves and they don’t understand what a Professional Assistant brings to the table. When an Entrepreneur hires their first assistant, they need to hire someone who has been there and done that for somebody else – someone who can assertively take away some of the things that they are doing, especially because the Entrepreneur or Executive to change their belief system “they are the only one that can do those tasks.”.

The reason you would need a seasoned Executive Assistant for a first-time Executive is simple. If you have never used an assistant before, you are not aware how to properly utilize their skills. An experienced EA can educate you on proper time management based on the tasks list and corresponding skills between the two of you. On the other hand, if you decide to hire a first-time EA, you both most likely will be spinning your wheels, with wasted time that could be more productively spent elsewhere. After the assistant is hired, the important decision that the Executive needs to make is that they are ready to relinquish control and let someone else do what they’ve been doing by themselves all this time.

Thank you for reading my blogs and posts. Your likes and shares truly inspire me.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer


Planning Your Office Holiday Party

Tips for Planning an Office Holiday Party

Holy smokes! It’s already that time of year, and doesn’t it just fly by? It seems like December was nearly a year away and we had all the time in the world to plan a party, and now we are already into the month just a tad and maybe you are still putting off the planning for your own holiday party? Well, we’re here to the rescue, to help you plan a holiday office get-together that is as magical as your team is!

Why is a Holiday Party Necessary?

While it should be a season of fun and joy, it’s often a season of stress and anxiety. Not only is your team dealing with added family holiday obligations, but many are likely feeling the extra stress of shortened holiday deadlines, end-of-the-year demands, and frazzled coworkers… Yikes! With that in mind, it’s important to take a load off and celebrate this magical time of year with your colleagues and coworkers. A corporate holiday party is a perfect time to reflect on the accomplishments of the year, look ahead at what’s to come, and just enjoy each other’s company. So here are a few ideas to make your Holiday Party ROCK!

  1. Get out of the office.

Everyone loves a field trip, and when a season is as stressful as this one, what better way to recharge than to separate yourselves from all that office brain-chatter; your computer, to do list, and blinking voicemail light. Besides just creating a more festive atmosphere for your team, there are a plethora of benefits of hosting meetings and events off-site, from improving company morale (which in turn reduces health issues and increases productivity) to a much-needed change of scenery. If you plan to go all out for your holiday gathering and have a large guest list, booking a corporate event space or banquet hall with additional audio/visual equipment, parking, and room to move around are a necessity. It may be cheaper to pull something together at your existing office space, but if you really want to make the event special and rewarding for attendees, then an off-site holiday party venue is well worth the price.

  1. Holiday Trivia

Who doesn’t love trivia – or a little friendly competition for that matter! Trivia is a great way to spark some interesting conversations, get people to mingle across departments, and perhaps form some unexpected new bonds. From popular holiday movies and songs to best-selling toys and gifts throughout the years, there are plenty of different directions you can go with holiday trivia, which makes it a versatile activity for any team. 

  1. Unusual Holiday Treats

Everywhere you look, there are decadent sweets all around the holiday landscape – stores, your friend’s house, and even the notorious candy bowl at the front desk. While it’s perfectly fine to indulge and enjoy, it’s also important to keep health and fitness top of mind. If your company has a wellness program or a health-focused initiative, why not put that in the forefront during the holiday season? You could have everyone bring in their best sugar-free, gluten-free, low-fat, or vegan/vegetarian holiday treat for others to sample and enjoy or have a caterer whip some healthy options up. All the holiday goodness with none of the guilt!

This is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight foods from around the world. You’ll find tons of amazing holiday recipes with a simple search, some of which have even evolved into our traditional holiday menu items here in the United States. You can bring these foods together through volunteering in the office, or hiring a caterer.

  1. Gift Rap

Gift wrapping is one of those holiday tasks that many would prefer to avoid. But if you make it into a party with many helping hands, everyone’s load is a little lighter, and the stress a little less. The company can provide wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon, or everyone can bring in some of their own favorite paper to share. Once the supplies are ready to go, turn on some holiday tunes and work together to get all the presents wrapped and ready to go (like Santa’s little elves). You’ll find that local charities and shelters can also use a helping hand wrapping gifts and donations this time of year, so it’s a great way to give back and spread Christmas joy to others who may be less fortunate.

To “wrap it all up”, you can end the party with delicious food and if you’re feeling particularly brave, a little holiday rap session. Just like a karaoke type of deal, encourage coworkers to get onstage with holiday background music and battle it out with each other while creating their own holiday flavored rap lyrics! Belly laughs, guaranteed.  

  1. Create a Local Scavenger Hunt

The neighborhood is always a little extra magical during the holiday season, with festive lights, window displays, food and events, so go ahead and take advantage of it! A scavenger hunt can be a fun and memorable way to celebrate the season and spark some friendly competition with your team. Map out a route around some of the most festive parts of the area, and have a list of items that every team should photograph themselves next to!

  1. Give Back as Team

It’s the season for giving and being thankful, so why not take the time to give back to your community? Bell ringing, food drives, community meals, and other holiday volunteer opportunities are plentiful this time of year and provide a wonderful opportunity for colleagues to bond and help the community at the same time. After you spend some time giving back as a team, you can meet back together to debrief and share stories, insights, and the results of your efforts. If you can’t find a date or organization that works for your team, consider taking at-will donations for a charity during your holiday gathering.

  1. Holiday Painting or Craft Party

What is better than a gift that is truly personal and from the heart? With so many people that are difficult to shop for, or the limited budget with which to use, creating a handcrafted gift is a wonderful way to show someone you care! From ornaments to canvas to glass, there are plenty of painting and craft ideas available online that allow your team members to showcase their creativity and holiday spirit. Not only will they have fun creating their masterpieces, but you’ll have some great photos for social media and some holiday decor to display around the office until the season is over. We love seeing all the smiles and joy it brings! No skill required, just fun!

  1. Host a Guest Speaker or Entertainer

Entertainment is crucial to a party and often serves as the anchor of the event. The holidays are extra special, so they call for extra special entertainment, right? Is there a motivational speaker or a thought-leader in your industry that your colleagues could benefit hearing from? A corporate party is a great time to book that presentation since everyone is looking toward improvements and new beginnings. They’re sure to get everyone fired up and talking about all the changes, improvements, and new ideas to come in the new year.

If that’s not quite your style, then musical entertainment from carolers, a band, or a DJs can also help set the mood and create a festive ambiance for the gathering. Comedians and magicians can also provide some excitement, laughs, and a one-of-a-kind experience for attendees. 

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Tips for Making Your Office Thanksgiving and Holiday Events Unique & Rewarding Experiences

Everyone knows the basic ingredients for a delicious holiday feast. We have all the staples from cranberry sauce to mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and of course turkey- but what about the ingredients for the perfect office Thanksgiving celebration? 

Food is a great component of any get-together or office event, but let’s take it up a notch this year by focusing on the reason for this holiday season – giving thanks and recognition. We have mapped out a few ideas that you can incorporate into your workplace “TeamsGiving” to not only bring everyone together, but also to feed their soul. 

Give Thanks

It’s right there in the name of the holiday itself, but we look over it so often. Maybe it’s the food? Taking time to recognize those that you are thankful for is incredibly important, especially when it involves the workplace and your team. It’s a proven fact that people perform better when they feel appreciated, so leave no man (or woman) behind. Start a movement in the office for everyone to leave notes to those that they want to thank. It could be anything big or small, anonymous or not. Make it the focus for any Thanksgiving event that you host in the office and remind everyone the reason we are celebrating in the first place. 

Wall of Thanks

Justifacts shared their “Wall of Thanks” showing an excellent example of “TeamGiving”.

 A favorite activity idea that has been trending recently, is about workplaces creating a “Wall of Thanks”. This can be done throughout the week or days prior to your event, or on the day of. Simply put, it is a wall of Post-its that team members are encouraged to write public praise for anything a coworker has done for them – big or small.

Leave Post-it pads and pens next to a wall space (someplace public enough for everyone to notice it) and start the trend yourself. Write a few notes and post them up. Once the fire is lit, it is roaring – this heartwarming activity catches on very quickly.

 Sidenote: We encourage you to post photos of your completed “Wall of Thanks” with the hashtag #wallofthanks and be sure to tag us on Instagram so we can like and share this amazing trend! @adminuniverse

Story Telling Time

If you have a little more time in your event, this is a wonderful opportunity to allow team members to tell their own stories of thankfulness, inside the office or from their personal lives. This activity is one that really brings everyone closer by helping each other to share their backgrounds and find common ground as human beings. Throughout our busy workdays, rarely do we have the chance to share stories like these.

Give Back as a Group  

It is no secret that giving back to others and your community is a rewarding experience for all involved. Unfortunately, we get busy or are too shy to venture out on our own to participate in these various types of opportunities. Making it a group function will generate a huge impact on all involved. Feeding the homeless, organizing a canned food drive, bringing holiday baskets to those in the hospital, participating in local charity events – there are so many options when it comes to helping. 

Use Your Expertise

You haven’t made it to the role you are in without education, experience and trials – that makes you an expert. A great way to reach out to your community and give back to others is getting involved in a program that mentors students who are aiming for your profession or industry. Whether it is a one-time speaking engagement or a continuous one-on-one commitment, being able to share your journey and your gems is a perfect way to contribute to the community during the holiday season and throughout the year. Find a cause that resonates with you and your team and do it together! 

From AdminUniverse™ and myself, sending you warm wishes for a healthy and fun holiday. Thank You for reading my blogs and posts, your likes and shares really do inspire me to push myself to be the best Servant Leader to our Administrative Profession.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer


Brilliant Executives; Executive & Admin Synergy

6 Tips for Maximizing Your Productivity

As an Administrative Professional, managing your day is the most important way to set yourself up for success. Obviously, this is a highly valuable concept to implement for your Executive as well, being that they depend on their Executive Assistants for the structure in their days. Being able to learn these 6 productivity tips and being able to pass them along to your Executive will strengthen your partnership, add value to your role, and launch you into further success!  Check out these Points of Wisdom (POW):

POW #1 Give Yourself a Break Every 90 Minutes

Our bodies operate on an energy cycle of at 90-minute intervals throughout t

he day. When we’ve been working on something for an hour and a half or longer, it’s natural that our alertness levels will go down and our attention

 will wander, or we’ll feel drowsy (or start checking Twitter or Facebook).

The counterintuitive secret to sustainable great performance is to live like a sprinter. In practice, that means working at your highest intensity in the mornings, for no more than 90 minutes at a time, and then taking a break.

So, the next time that drowsiness begins to take over, step away from your work for a few minutes instead of pouring another cup of coffee. You might be surprised how much you’ll get done in the long run.

POW #2 Create “Do Not Disturb” Signals

How frustrating is it when you are just getting into the zone on a big project and then one of your colleagues decides to visit your desk? Worse, research shows it can take up to 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.

Whether you need to stay focused on intense tasks for a couple of hours a day or you’re working on a big project, using a system that informs people of this will get them into the habit of sending you an email for non-urgent tasks instead of dropping by your desk.

A new method of signaling that you should not be disturbed in the office is to put a “Cone of Silence” onto your desk to communicate to the team that you need to be able to focus at that point in time, and you should not be disturbed unless there is a dire emergency, 

POW #3 Energy Management

You know it’s important to budget your time wisely—but it can actually be more effective to also manage your energy. Optimizing your workday by doing your most concentration-intensive tasks during peak hours, when your energy levels are at their highest.

If you’re a morning person, do your most important tasks first thing and save the tedious, mindless tasks for later in the day when your energy is waning. Not sure what your peak hours are? Try energy mapping to find out and make the most of your workday.

POW #4 Don’t be a Slave to Email

Try checking email only at specific times of the day. Why? Instead of feeling that you have to respond to emails the minute they hit your inbox, you can save time and stay focused by setting a schedule for checking and responding to email. Checking email only twice a day is not practical for assistants, however, checking once an hour is still effective.

Shut down Outlook, turn off new email notifications on your phone, and do whatever you have to do to muffle the interruption of email.

Depending on your position, this may not feel like an option—especially if your boss or colleagues rely on you for quick responses. But you may be surprised at how supportive people will be about your new productivity strategy when you explain it to them. You can also set up an autoresponder with a message explaining when you’ll be checking email again and how people can get in touch with you if it’s important in the meantime.

POW #5 Keep Your Emails Short and Sweet

CEOs don’t have time for reading novel-length emails—or writing them, either. Challenge yourself to think critically and efficiently when connecting via email or any other form of communication.

By keeping emails short and to the point, you’ll not only save a lot of writing time, you’ll also save your co-workers a lot of reading time. If your issue is too complex for a short email, scheduling a brief (5-10 minute) phone call can be much more efficient than a lengthy back-and-forth email exchange.

POW #6. Delegation is Your Friend

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by feeling that you have to do everything yourself. Delegating, however, is one of the best ways to manage your time. Passing projects off to other members of the team lightens your load and lets you focus on the projects that you do best. 

Delegating doesn’t mean trying to get out of doing your work—but if you have too much on your plate, delegating one of your tasks to another member of your team can help devote more attention to your more pressing projects. Don’t have a co-worker who can take on your task? You can try outsourcing your dreaded tasks to a freelancer on

Taking control of all the various tasks on your to-do list may sometimes seem impossible, but if you try making these small changes, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish during your workday!

Thank you for reading my blog. Your shares and likes keep me motivated.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

5 of the Scariest Bosses from TV & Movies and What We Can Learn from Them


Administrative Assistants sometimes get to work for the world’s best boss; other times, not so much. “Bad boss behavior” can range anywhere from temperamental and demanding to scary and downright inappropriate. One key to be a consummate Administrative Professional is knowing how to deal graciously with a wide range of personality types, as well as knowing how to respond if someone crosses a line. Often, popular culture can be a great teacher, so let’s look at 5 scary bosses from the movies and television to see what we might learn.

  1. Franklin Hart, Jr. (9 to 5)

This film plays like an early case study in workplace feminism. Ultra-sexist boss Franklin Hart, Jr. (played by Dabney Coleman) is so distasteful that when three female office workers kidnap him and restrain him in his own home, his absence from the office goes largely unnoticed for weeks. Meanwhile, the ladies take the opportunity to implement some positive changes like equal pay, flexible work hours, an onsite day care and more. When Hart eventually returns to the office just in time for a surprise visit from the company chairman, he receives undue credit for the changes made in his absence—just before his boss sends him to oversee the Brazil branch of the company and promotes office supervisor Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin) to Hart’s old position.

POW (Point of Wisdom): Sometimes others get the credit for an admin’s efforts—but in the long run good ideas get noticed.

  1. Avery Tolar (The Firm)

As the notorious-yet-respected top partner in a Mafia-owned law firm, Avery Tolar (Gene Hackman) is a frighteningly perfect blend of charm and menace. When up-and-coming attorney Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) discovers his boss’s corruption, Tolar shows there’s little he won’t do to make sure McDeere doesn’t talk—including hiring a woman to sleep with McDeere and using it to blackmail his employee.

POW: Charisma and status aren’t always the best litmus tests to know whether you have a good boss. Also, beware of unwarranted “gifts” and “favors” given, especially if your boss has something to hide.

  1. Bill Lumbergh (Office Space)

We’ve all known this kind of boss in some capacity—the kind who loves to delegate to others without doing much of anything himself, and who manages to be like fingernails on chalkboard for no reason at all. In this film, Bill Lumbergh (played by Gary Cole) epitomizes the type of boss we typically love to hate.

POW:  As an Administrative Professional, you may work for a boss that either just gets under your skin or seems to delegate more work than is necessary. In such cases, you might do well to let it roll off for a while, especially if you’re in a firm with room for advancement. (“Annoying” isn’t typically a reportable offense.) 

  1. Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada)

Meryl Streep’s performance is nearly flawless as fashion magazine head honcho Miranda Priestly, seamlessly blending chic sophistication with deadpan rudeness and verbal abuse aimed primarily at her Assistant, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway). As the film progresses, Andy gets a glimpse behind the veil at the fractures in Priestly’s life that help make her who she is—and in the process of achieving a line of nearly impossible tasks (including one deliberately meant to break her), Andy discovers an empowerment in herself that she didn’t know she had.

POW: Sometimes working for a difficult boss pays off in unseen dividends like fresh confidence and honed skills. 

  1. Buddy Ackerman (Swimming with Sharks)

Kevin Spacey is so mean and nasty as boss man Buddy Ackerman that when tortured employee Rex (Frank Whaley) kidnaps Buddy and proceeds to torture him, we’re practically cheering him on. Indeed, the film sort of serves as a fantasy fulfillment of what many of us wish we could do to our mean bosses—but instead, we are relegated to voyeurism.

POW: You might feel like kidnapping and torturing a mean boss sometimes—but resist the urge. Most workplaces do have a chain of process for dealing with truly abusive bosses, and that’s a much smarter move for your career in the long run. 


Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Frightening Faux-Pas; What Not to Wear to the Office on Halloween

What not to wear to the office

Halloween is a fun opportunity to showcase your personality and creativity at work among your co-workers, and a fun way to bring everyone together. You’re either one of two people – the type who knows exactly what they want to wear, or the other who is left scratching their head nearly up to the last minute. Wherever you are in your costume planning stages, there are some things to consider when putting together your masterpiece. You certainly want to avoid looking unprofessional, so we’ve compiled some tips for dressing up at work below.

POW #1 – Ask Your Executive

Make sure to ask supervisors about what is expected of employees, especially if you are new to the office. Your workplace might either have strict rules or be completely relaxed – but you don’t want to be the last one to know.

Similarly, make sure to ask your co-workers what the culture of your company is like on Halloween. Fellow employees are probably the only ones who will warn you if people tend to opt out.


POW #2 Keep it Practical

If you can’t sit down, walk comfortably, or perform any of the basic functions needed to do your job, you should pick a new look. You’ll also want to stick with your company’s dress code and avoid unsafe clothing. For example, if you’re generally not allowed to wear open-toed shoes to work for safety reasons, follow that rule when choosing your costume. 

And it’s not just your personal safety that you should look out for. Avoid wearing costumes that include excess body paint, fake blood, or any other transferable coloring. You should have fun on Halloween, but not at the expense of staining office furniture.


POW #3 Check the Agenda

Once you know what’s acceptable to wear, take a look at your calendar. If you have a big meeting, have a customer coming in or have any other major work plans the day of Halloween, you’re better off skipping a costume. If you must be festive, try a fun accessory or bold makeup look instead.


POW #4 Bring a Change of Clothes

You might not have any appointments scheduled on Halloween, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t come up. Just in case, bring a change of clothes with you to work. After all, you don’t want to get an unexpected office visit while wearing a clown costume, or something equally absurd. To really err on the safe side, you could create a DIY costume using your regular work clothes.



POW #5 Be Sensitive to Others

Fake blood might highly disturb some employees. A joke that seems funny to you might come across as insensitive to a co-worker. Any costumes that include crude jokes, foul language, harsh political views, or are meant to imitate or mock fellow employees should be avoided as a result. Besides, they’re generally not acceptable in work settings to begin with.

Most importantly, you should remain sensitive to all cultures, even if you don’t think they’re represented in your office. Even if the costumes are soldat major retailers, that doesn’t mean they’re acceptable to wear. If you’re questioning whether or not your costume portrays a cultural stereotype, you’re better off not wearing it at all.

POW #6 No Fake Weapons

A wide range of costumes — from arrow-slinging superheroes to baseball bat-carrying characters of “The Walking Dead” — require weapon-like props. 

In today’s society, workplace violence is all too common and makes carrying realistic props into work a bad idea. People should be able to figure out what your costume is without a fake weapon. If they can’t, it’s worth picking a new costume entirely.



Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Leadership Styles That Work

In any given role, there is potential to become a leader; influence is not restricted to the Executives. As an Administrative Professional, you already have your hands in a multitude of projects, and you possess an ever-growing collection of knowledge and information. It is only natural to grow within this role, using your specific skill set and entrepreneurial spirit to lead those around you. 

Read moreLeadership Styles That Work