April 26, 2021
Managing calendars for executives. Processing invoices and payroll. Supporting the work of full departments. These responsibilities require a significant amount of time management and organization skills. So who better than executive assistants to lead a Masterclass on the subject? In conjunction with Administrative Professionals Week in April, JHHC employees had a chance to learn strategies from the best.
Nancy Spence: Executive Assistant II, Office of the COO
Natasha Campbell: Executive Assistant I, USFHP Program Office
Kelsey Harper: Executive Assistant I, Health Services
Moderator: Zach Jan, Data Specialist I
- Here is some of the best advice our panelists offered. Try implementing a few of these tips to maximize your productivity and work/life balance.
- Time management is the glue that holds life together: it helps you get the job done, improves your physical and mental health, enables you to manage obligations, and helps you multitask more productively.
- With time management, you can accomplish more each day because you are not worried about missing something. Time management skills help me feel less stressed and keep my head clearer.
- I’m a big proponent of the calendar and alarm clock on my phone. Every morning, I get up and look at what I have for the day. I set alarms for meetings, conference calls, and everything else I need to do for the day. In the office, I would use sticky notes everywhere, and I would print out every task that I had to do and keep them in a stack in order of most important on top.
- Lists provide a helpful visual for not feeling overwhelmed. I take the time to scratch off tasks as I accomplish them, and then at the end of the day, I highlight what I didn’t get done. I typically work off the same list all week long, which helps me keep track of priorities.
- To be able to prioritize is the first step of time management. Those task lists serve as a lighthouse to come back to during the day.
- I color-code anything and everything. I use different colors on my manager’s calendar for meetings someone else has invited her to, optional meetings, and meetings she’s running. This way, we just have to glance at her day’s calendar for an idea of how much she needs to prepare.
- I set aside 30-minute blocks of time on my reports’ calendars where I try not to schedule anything unless something urgent comes up, so they can take a moment to breathe between meetings and get work done.
- I’d set alarms for five minutes before each of my report’s meetings so I could give her a warning to wrap up her current meeting and prepare for the next one. Once those five minutes were up, I’d point to my watch and she would move on.
- Every single week, my report and I go over her calendar with a fine-toothed comb and make sure she is aware of everything she needs to know.
- Personal and professional life collide while working from home, because we don’t have the moment to leave the office or leave home anymore. When you’re balancing a lot, it’s important that work ends when work ends. We have to make good stopping points and be able to pick it up the next day.
- I’ll try to block some time on my calendar prior to a meeting if I need to go over something for it – even 15 minutes of downtime before you have to get on a meeting can help. For a conference call, I’ll block off the next 15 minutes on my calendar for the same reason.
- When accepting or declining meeting invites in Outlook, make a comment if you do decline or if you send a tentative response. You can use this to give more context to help with rescheduling.
- When a request comes to me and I know I don’t have time in my day, I take a moment to read through it and respond with when I will get to it. This doesn’t leave the person in limbo and it reassures the person that the info is coming.
- In your away message, include points of contact so people know to whom to direct which questions.
Executive assistants and other administrative professionals are invaluable team members whose organizational skills, expertise, and reliability enable every JHHC associate to bring their best to the work that we do for our members and communities. We thank our featured executive assistants and all of our administrative professionals for keeping our organization running smoothly and efficiently, and we thank the Masterclass affinity group for enabling us to teach and learn from each other through our remote work environment. Staying engaged and connected in this way keeps our organization agile and enables us to continuously improve.