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Best admin tips

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Question: I'd like to ask other admins to share their very best tips about how to do their jobs effectively — whether it's something about organizing their workspace, managing time, file management, working with bosses or other co-workers, etc.

Thank you!  -- Lisa, Tacoma, Wash


How I keep myself very organized is to take colored folders and put everything in one. I use red for hot items, yellow for things that can become hot if not dealt with and green for things that can wait a bit.

I also use folders with the months and then a set with 1-31 on them. Anything that is happening in the month get a folder for the day it's due to happen. Keeps me looking forward and catch anything that may be of conflict for my boss.

Hope this helps.

As far as time management, I live by my planner. Every day the last 15 minutes or so are spent going through my workload that I had listed that day and confirming all is complete or not complete. If it is not complete it is added to the next day's list in my planner with a pirority number. I refer to my planner throughout the day to keep me in check with the hottest issues that need taken care and so forth. This includes minimal things such as filing, ordering supplies etc. I then add to the list anything that I didn't complete that day to the next day.

Hope this helps with the time management issue.

I use Microsoft Outlook to keep my daily duties straight. I refer to it all the time for appointments, dates when something is due and projects I need to work on. I also, have used colored file folders for different projects. Just find what works for you and stick with it.


I learn as much as possible about the company I work for and how each department, division, etc. works. It is an ongoing learning process, but this way I can more effectivly and effectianly assist with the vast array of projects, problems, everyday work that I am asked to do. Among other things, this also allows me to know exactly where to go if I need assistance or if I'm asked to do something that may really be someone elses responsibility. An extra advantage to learning the company is that it helps to increase the possibilities of future advancement in other areas of the company. Hope this helps and good luck!

I came across an article from a manager that I worked with, she shared it with all us admins, and it has helped a lot:
1. Keep your desk and files organised to avoid wasting time shuffling through piles of paper.
2. Go through your inbox at the beginning of each work day. Either throw away, file or follow up on each item.
3.Prioritise a list of tasks that you need to accomplish that day.
4. Delegate tasks to co-workers and assistants if possible.
5. Finish one task before you go on to the next.
6. Have someone else answer your phone if possible. Give instructions about calls that you wish to take and those that can be returned later.
7.Communicate effectively and plan carefully to make sure the job is done properly the first time around.
8. Schedule time when you'll be available and let colleagues know to avoid constant interruptions. Close your door if you need to.
9. Take breaks. A short walk or a quick lunch away from the office will increase your overall productivity.
10. Before leaving for the day, tidy up your desk and make a short list of projects you will need to do the next day.
11. Try not to take work home. You need the break...
Sure you will find these tips as handy as I did!

Thank you for this information. It is very helpful. The only thing I can comment on is "what door?" That is a manager's viewpoint, support people never have a door to tune out or shut out interruptions. HEE! Hee!

One other thing I have heard is only touch the paper once. Complete what is needed and move on to the next item. Takes time to go thru the pile a couple of times. If they are prioritized that will help.

I also used colored folders too. I even used colored folders in my file draw. Each subject has a different color other wise all one color. Just separated some to find a little easier.

There is a great little book out there called "Eat That Frog." Its main premise is that to be organized for success is to do the tough thing first (i.e., eat that frog!), and the author gives 21 principles to help you become skillful in prioritizing. Our entire organization has read this book and has found it helpful. I purchased some little plastic frogs and distributed them to staff. Often I will walk into an office and see a frog sitting on top of a group of papers or a file and I know that my boss has designated that stack his "frog" for the day.

In response to Jo Ann's comment -
Luckily everyone in my office does have a door and that really helps. In case there is none though, here's an option - Some colleagues who work in cubicles put a note indicating where they are (if they are on a market visit), one could consider putting up a small note saying "on a deadline" or something like that and people will learn to respect that.

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