For administrative professionals, a typical day can involve multiple projects, meetings and tasks — enough to cause stress for even the most seasoned worker. Over time, that tension can lead to burnout and breakdowns. By front-loading your organization and preparation, you can calm the chaos and create easier work days.
When you are juggling multiple tasks, things have the potential to get out of hand quickly. One delay can create a domino effect, resulting in missed deadlines and dropped projects. Planning ahead can make an out-of-control workload more manageable. Make time each Friday to sit down with your schedule and map out the week to come. Do the same at the end of each day, focusing on short-term goals. Keep it simple by focusing on top-level tasks and prioritizing your to-do list. Arriving at work with a plan in place can lead to fewer dropped balls and easier work days.
Create a System
Administrative professionals often deal with a variety of forms, files and literature in one day. If you're wasting time hunting for documents, analyze your current filing and organizational system. Does it feel uncomfortable? Do you find yourself stopping to think about where to find a specific file? Are your most-used files situated within arm's reach? Don't be afraid to make adjustments to create easier work days: instituting a new organizational scheme or reorganizing the office layout, for example. A system that feels comfortable and natural can do wonders for your workflow.
Take a Breather
When you're reporting to multiple people and providing cross-office support, taking a break can feel like wasted time. In reality, small breaks create easier work days by giving your brain the chance to process information. Every so often, take five or ten minutes to walk around the office, look out the window or step outside for fresh air. You'll come back feeling fresh and ready to tackle the next project. If you find yourself forgetting to take a break, install a desktop or mobile app that pops up a reminder every hour or two.
Learn to Say No
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make easier work days is to learn when to say no. As a member of the support staff, chances are that your colleagues rely on you heavily for help — even when it's not necessary. Reduce your stress by considering each request carefully and accepting it only if you can fit it into your current schedule and if you are the appropriate person for the job. In the process, you'll set clear boundaries and create a more achievable workload.
Easier work days don't happen overnight; they require careful planning and strategy, particularly when you work in a fast-paced environment. However, with a little effort, you can ease stress and boost job satisfaction.
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