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Staying organized is fundamental in making sure the office runs smoothly. As an executive assistant, you are often sought to keep the office efficient and if you are not ready, things can get hectic. You are being asked to perform tasks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Without organization, it is easy to get confused and forget important deadlines.
To Do Area
Designate a part of your desk as the “to-do” area instead of having sticky notes and paper everywhere. Place items in a box or folder on your desk and check it periodically throughout the day. As tasks are completed, remove the items from the desk to a "done folder" or to a box for filing. At the start of each day, make a complete list of tasks for the day and put it in the "to-do" folder. Scratch off tasks as they are completed. Add tasks as they come to you and at the end of the day make sure everything is completed.
Designate days for weekly tasks. “You can arrange your week so you'll know, to some extent anyhow, what you'll be doing,” says Victoria Moran of OfficePRO Magazine. For example, choose Wednesday as shred day and keep papers that need shredding in a box until it’s time. Or, tally petty cash on Fridays. This can also work with daily activities. Moran suggests returning voice and email at certain times per day. (REF1) That way you won’t have to stop what you’re doing frequently during the day.
Using color coding can help you organize what needs to be done and when. “Always think about what tasks you perform and how often you perform them,” say Judith Allen of Admin Secrets. (REF2) Code weekly tasking one color like red; give daily tasks blue, monthly tasks yellow and so on. Place tasks in code folders then take your calendar and mark what needs to be done with a colored square behind it. On electronic calendars, type the words in the task colors if you can’t make a box.
Sharing responsibilities is an essential part in staying organized. It may seem hard since you are the person that most tasks are delegated to, but it can be done. Sometimes, the timeliness of your task depends on the actions of your supervisors and co-workers. If you are in charge of balancing book, give your co-workers a deadline to turn in their stubs. Also have them sign out each check that they take from the book. If you boss is going on a trip, have him write down or give a checklist of what needs to be done. Then give him a copy of the list to make sure you’re both on the same page. Also, give co-workers special folders to turn in all petty cash receipts into one folder. That way you won’t have to go hunting down anyone when it is time to reconcile the drawer.
MacKenzie Herald began writing professionally in 1986. With experience in media, health care and customer relations, she has worked with a range of clients from software.com to "American Idol." She has an Associate of Science in filmmaking from Minneapolis College and a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from the University of Minnesota.