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 Fiverr.com.

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!

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