Workplace Productivity: Tips for Maximum Enjoyment as an Administrative Assistant

1. Don’t take personalities personally.
I have heard many stories from admins whose boss was a grouchy type of person, who say to me, “Oh, he doesn’t like me. We just don’t get along.” When the boss gets a promotion she thought, “I’m going to be left behind.” He said, “Are you kidding? I can’t do anything without you.”
Do not think that just because someone is in a bad mood that it reflects on you, or if someone has a crotchety personality that s/he doesn’t like you. Always be your capable, competent, positive self.

2. Change your focus.
Focus on the 175 things that you did right today, not the one thing that you did wrong. So many people get upset when they make a little mistake. They made a typo in a letter or sent an email to the wrong person or copied someone they shouldn’t have.
Mistakes happen. That does not mean that you are a failure. That means you can learn from that one thing. But really focus on all of the ways you do provide value, and that you are an asset to your manager.

3. This is not brain surgery.
Take your job seriously, but take yourself lightly. Ultimately, on your deathbed, you are not going to say, “Oh, gee. I wish I would have spent a little more time typing up that document. Oh, if I had just reviewed that email for another ten minutes, it wouldn’t have gone out with that mistake.”
You can love your career, but you exist beyond what you do for a living. Take pride in what you do, but remember to keep a sense of humor when things that go wrong.

4. I am not just an admin!
Repeat these words to yourself frequently: “I am not just an admin!” When someone asks you, “What do you do for a living?” do not reply, “I’m just an admin.”
You are a valuable member of the team. Your position is important. Admins are the heartbeat of an organization, and much falls apart when you are not around. Look what happens when you take a day off! You are an important contributor, so hold your head high and be proud to be an admin.

5. Practice preventative assertions.
When things go wrong and deadlines aren’t met, go back to the person who missed it after-the-fact and explain what you need in the future.
Say, “It’s important that I receive this information in a timely fashion to make the deadline. This time was rushed, and some mistakes were made. The next time, I need this information from you on this date. How far in advance do you want me to provide it, so you can return it to me on time?”
Set those criteria, so that people know better how to interact with you. Don’t just always be the fall gal or the scapegoat.

6. Do not cross your ethical and moral boundaries.
Some admins confided that people have asked them to break the rules. “Oh, I know you’re supposed to send this through Processing, but can you just do it really quick and not send it through there?”
Just respond back, “I don’t want to make a mistake. I need to follow the procedure in this case to ensure that this goes out as it should.”

7. Be assertive.
If you are under the gun and someone’s hovering over your shoulder watching you, and they won’t go away, you are probably feeling a little more nervous because they’re standing there!
Be assertive. Say to them, “I’d get this done much more efficiently if you can come back in 30 minutes.” Speak your mind. Do not be passive and just let everybody take advantage of you. Do not be aggressive and make enemies, but come from the heart in an honest place and state what you need.

8. Manage in advance.
Don’t wait for crisis. Always be looking ahead. Be proactive. What’s happening next week? Is there a meeting coming up that you need to help with documents and copying?
Plan ahead. Is there a trip that’s coming up in a couple of months? What could I do to prepare my manager for that trip long before he or she ever asks me for the information?

9. How can you help your manager be more efficient?
Always exude the attitude, “I am here to help. It is my job to help you be successful.” The more the people you support who are successful, the more you will be successful.
Hopefully these nine tips have given you ideas on great strategies for success as an administrative professional.

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Make it a productive day! ™