Being an office manager is a big role! Your job involves managing mission-critical tasks and many people in your office depend on you. The good news is that you can quickly become the favorite person in the office. But first, you have to figure out how to get it all done. Let’s be clear, there’s a lot that needs to get done, right? New and seasoned office managers alike can easily get overwhelmed in their role with multiple people they have to respond to. That’s why we’ve consolidated our best tips into today’s article.
Flexibility is key and we recommend that you incorporate these tips over time and review this list on an ongoing basis. We understand that there is no typical day for an office manager. One day you might be helping a new hire figure out how to work their laptop and then next day you are giving a presentation to the CEO of the firm. You have to adapt and improvise and the steps below will help you stay focused on the best strategies for getting the most important stuff done.
Did you know that every time you are distracted, it takes 15 minutes to regain complete focus again? Batching is when you group similar tasks into blocks of time. During this time you have no distractions. Examples are only looking at emails or social media at certain times of the day. Setting a timer, shutting off distractions and only working on the priorities in your role that are going to make the most impact. If you do anything after reading this article, make sure you set certain times to answer emails. Do not have your email inbox open 24/7. I know this might come as a shock to others that you work with initially, but explain to them that it is more productive for you to be focusing on important tasks and let them know the times each day that you check email. Ask them to test this for a week and report back to them with the results of how much you got done without checking email constantly.
If you are focused on an important task, shut your door or put a sign up that you are working on an important task from your boss and the time that you will be available to answer questions again. People will respect this when they know that it’s the rule and you are available to help at certain times of the day.
2. Utilize Helpful Tools
We can’t make more time, but we can be wiser with the time we have, right? One way to become more efficient as an office manager is by using Quill.com’s Shared Cart tool. Quill.com’s innovative new Shared Cart tool makes the office supply ordering process more efficient, saving administrative time and improving the accuracy of everyone’s orders—no more post-it notes to decipher or keep track of. Essentially, everyone in the office is able to add their own supply requests—choosing exactly the items they want—to one shopping cart on the Quill website. This will save you time so you aren’t getting interrupted by random requests and you won’t have to follow up with your co-workers to find out what supplies they need. It also means every order will be right the first time. Shared Cart can also send the recipients optional reminders so that means the process can be a lot more efficient— all you have to do is approve the items (which you have complete control over) and check out when the order is complete!
When was the last time that you finished all of your tasks for the week? Probably not in a while, right? That’s why you need to prioritize because there is too much to do. Your priorities should be the tasks that will make the biggest difference in your role and impact your company the most. If you don’t know your priorities, ask your boss. These priorities may also be able to be found in your job description. If you don’t know or feel overwhelmed, ask your boss to help prioritize the tasks for you.
Instead of making a to-do list with 20 things you need to get done each day, it’s much easier to make a priority list of six things I need to get done each week. Then, I don’t move to #2 until #1 is done and actually get all my tasks done for the week. Another tip is to create your to-do list at the end of the day for the next day. That way once you get to the office in the morning (when your brain isn’t tired from a long day at work), you’ll know what to do first and don’t waste time. Imagine how great it will feel to get your most important task done by 10am!
4. Plan Your Weekly Review
Try to start Monday knowing exactly what you have to get done that week. We suggest starting a Friday afternoon weekly review where you clean up your office from the week, check your email inbox and get ready for a fresh start on Monday. At this weekly review, you should create your focus to-do list for the next week with the top things you need to do to move forward in your tasks.
5. Say no
The funny thing about this tip is that we titled this article, “Strategies For Getting it All Done”. The thing is you won’t get it all done this week. You have to say no and set priorities. As much as you might want to, you can’t be everything to everyone. Learning to say no is essential. Here are some ways you can tell people you work with no:
“I can’t take on that task because I have a strict deadline this week.”
“I’d love to help, but I already have deadlines for project x and y. How should I prioritize this project?”
6. Be Proactive
It’s important to anticipate future needs as an office manager. What normally happens at certain times of the year? Are there certain things that your boss always asks you for every Monday? How can you stay ahead of the game and be ready ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling last minute? Is a way you can set up a process so ongoing tasks are done before they are urgent. As much as possible, you want to get away from stress and urgency. Ask your boss what needs he or she sees coming up in the next few months and continue asking what might be needed at meetings so that you can stay ahead of the game. Sometimes, your boss might forget something until the very last minute but if you are continually reminding him or her, you’ll know what to do before it becomes urgent.
We love thinking of ways to automate administrative tasks so we can focus on the tasks that are truly the most important! We highly recommend making a checklist of steps for all the procedures you do. This will help you do complete tasks faster. Also, create templates for emails you send repeatedly so you can copy and paste instead of wasting time writing an entire email again.
We know it can be tough some days to be an office manager but remember how important you are to the company. You have a direct impact on the results. What the company and your boss accomplishes, you accomplish too! Have confidence. You have a very important job at the company and if you do a great job, you’ll be around forever because your boss won’t be able to imagine their life without you.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quill.com. The opinions and text are all mine.