Even the most efficient and organized admins can get sidetracked by unforeseen interruptions and unplanned demands on their time—endless emails, chatty co-workers and yet another to-do from the boss. But before you boil over, adopt these boilerplate responses so you’re not tongue-tied in the moment when you need to speak your truth.
Emails: When it comes to email, the barrage never stops. When colleagues or customers are waiting for a response or assistance, it’s important to at least acknowledge their email. Keep it short and succinct. If you need time to write a more thorough email, respond with: “Thank you for reaching out. I’ll reply soon with more details.”
If someone wants to meet and your calendar is full, say: “I’m booked this week but available (date and time options). Will any of those work for you?”
Be sure to create calendar reminders for anything that requires further follow-up.
Long-winded colleagues: Of course you want to cultivate connections in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow less-than-aware co-workers to monopolize your work time. When Rambling Rose stops by your desk yet again, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, with a big smile, say, “You and I could end up talking all day! Yet I have deadlines that can’t be postponed, so our conversation must be.”
For those co-workers who pop by and ask, “Got a minute?” say, “If it truly is just a minute. Otherwise, we’ll have to schedule something for once I’m off deadline on this deliverable.”
Additional tasks: You want to be a team player, but when your plate is already full and your supervisor sends another project your way, say, “I have a six-burner stove, I’ve got six pots turned up to high and nowhere to place a seventh. Which of the following projects should I remove?”
Using the above phrases as inspiration, consider creating additional boilerplate responses specific to your role. That way, rather than feel your stress rise as demands on your time increase, you can manage your workload and your schedule so you’re productive and engaged.