Tools and Tips That Help You Be a Better Gatekeeper and Assistant
Let’s face it, being an administrative assistant likely means you’re juggling numerous tasks at once. One of your main focuses is keeping your boss from getting bogged down by a deluge requests and questions. Between constantly fielding inquiries and answering inbound questions to vetting potential meetings, you are serving as the gatekeeper to protect your boss’s valuable time. And then there’s the email ongoing battle of the inbox.
To help you combat time sinks we’ve put together a list of tips and tools that can help you be more efficient at your job. We hope it helps!
Stay Organized With the Right Tools
Asana is a task management tool that helps you keep track your to-do list. With an integration feature that allows you to attach files from Google Drive and Dropbox, you can set up multiple users at once making collaborating on tasks easier than ever. Asana is free for up to 15 team members.
Odds are you have access to your boss’s login credentials for a number of different sites. Tracking of all those passwords in a safe manner can be quite the memory game. Make life easier for a password manager. Password managers securely store usernames and passwords for as many sites as you need, and can even generate secure passwords for you. LastPass is a good free option, and 1Password is a good one if you’re willing to pay for the service. Just make sure that your master password is a really good one.
If you’re still sharing Excel spreadsheets over email, you may not be making the most of the technology available. Software suites like Google Drive make collaboration a lot easier with documents and files being updated in real time. Dropbox is another great option for sharing large files as it allows you to make a single document available to multiple users.
Cutting Down on Email Clutter
It’s probably the most frustrating part of your job—sorting through all the emails. Here are some tools that might help.
Followup.cc allows you to forward emails to yourself in the future. So if you’ve got someone emailing you telling you to contact them in two weeks, you can send yourself a friendly reminder.
pitch.Me is a fun new tool for executives who are constantly barraged by pitches from sales teams. It’s an opportunity for gatekeepers to bring more meaning to the deluge of sales pitches in a your boss’s inbox. Any sales professional who wants 15 minutes of your boss’s attention gets to make a donation to your boss’s favorite charity. It’s a great way to vet incoming requests and it raises money for worthy causes at the same time. pitch.Me is a simple, socially conscious system that allows sales professionals to show they value your boss’s time before they even ask for a meeting.
Show Your Value as a Gatekeeper
Coordinate with Your Boss
If you want to be an effective gatekeeper, you need to be privy to everything your boss is doing. You need to have full access to their schedule and email. You should meet with him/her frequently to discuss priorities for the day, items of importance, and any applicable concerns or complications. Open communication with your employer will leave you better prepared to field requests and schedule events throughout the day.
Leave Some Room in the Schedule
When you’re setting your boss’s schedule, it’s important to remember that their job is more than taking meetings. They need time to take care of action items from previous meetings, draft emails, write reports, and other important business-related tasks.
Keep the Gate
Perhaps the most important responsibility laid at the feet of an assistant is that of controlling the flow of interruptions. If a steady stream of unplanned guests are making it into your boss’s office unhindered, something is going wrong. Your boss will get more done if you are the first point of contact for everyone who tries to contact them.
With the right tools and conscious effort, you can help your boss make the most their time by handling less urgent concerns for them. And any assistant that maximizes the value of their supervisor’s time is worth their weight in gold.