By ProfessionalManager | June 14, 2012
Was your day spent in meetings, on conference calls or did you have impromptu and urgent conversations that demanded more of your time than your schedule allowed? All of these have you now feeling like the real ‘work’ on your plate is left behind in the smoke and it will only get done if you stay late or squeeze a few hours in on the weekend to catch up?
The New Norm: A Fast Paced Environment: AKA - Doing More With Less
In the fast paced office environment the time spent on actual work processed, like those due diligence reports, HR paperwork or financial budgets are frequently left on the wayside to put out ‘fires’ and deal with pop-up issues that demand immediate time and results. All leaving the professional manager with stressful feelings of lack of competency and self doubt at the ability to keep up.
Let’s be honest. A day in the life of a professional manager can often feel like you have done nothing but spin your wheels. How many nights did you get home and have the question posed, ‘How was work?’ or ‘What did you do today?’ Your mind starts churning. You know were busy all day (your body can testify to that), but you can’t put your finger on one single thing that makes you feel like you accomplished what you know needed to be done.
The professional manager who is results driven should not dwell on what they feel was not accomplished as that cam only lead to unnecessary stress. If you find yourself in this situation, try giving yourself an efficiency check. Ask the incredulous question, “I did what today?” If you find the answer spins in your head as fast as those imaginary wheels then it’s time to start prioritizing your ‘To Do’ list in a more organized and efficient manner.
Keys to Success - Organization and efficiency
Organization and efficiency are fundamental skills that every professional manager should master. They are essential keys to success needed in the ‘quick, fast and in a hurry’ office environment we work in today.
Here are a few tips to help your efficiency thermometer rise to success:
Prioritize your ‘To Do’ list - NOW!
Organize your calendar and stick to the times allotted
Enlist the assistance of your Manager when ‘fires’ need to be drenched quickly (it’s okay to ask for help!)
Who said direct reports don’t have great ideas? When a problem comes to rise, ask them how they would solve it. You will be surprised at who actually solves the problem and how quickly it gets done.
King’s X - Time out! It’s okay and appropriate to limit those impromptu conversations that often start in the hallways or common areas. It may seem awkward at first but a professional manager should take the initiative and stop the conversation before it gets too involved. Simply state that you are in a time crunch and suggest that the person contact you to schedule time to get on your calendar to discuss further.
Enjoy being a Leader! It’s what you are born to do!
Professional Development is Critical to Your Long-Term Success as an Office Manager - Diane Lockman, CPA
When I passed the CPA exam seventeen years ago and joined my state licensing board, I became immediately obligated to complete a minimum number of hours of professional development each year. Professional licensing bodies like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Bar Association, and the American Medical Association understand the value of annual continuing education; consequently, they require a certain number of hours logged in professional development in order to maintain the license to practice. The specific rules and technology of business change so quickly that staying up-to-date is critical to long-term success.
The savvy office manager, administrative assistant, or secretary can take a clue from the professional CPA, attorney, or doctor by planning your own professional development. Although your employer may not require that you participate in continuing education, self-initiated professional development serves two purposes:
- you expand your own potential by learning new information
- you become more valuable to your employer
In essence, taking responsibility for your own continuing education is two-fold: you help your employer by helping yourself!
Professional Development Satisfies Yourself
There is nothing more satisfying than learning new things, and professional development is an excellent avenue for personal growth! Continuing education can take many forms. You could sign up for a live workshop like one one learning how to use Microsoft Excel or some other computer software unique to your position or industry. If you can’t attend a class in person, you can take a professional development class online or check a book out of the library that teaches you something new. For instance, maybe your boss has decided to give you responsibility for maintaining the department budget. Find an online course or book on budgeting, and stretch your horizons by learning how to compare budget numbers to actual expenditures. You’ll feel so good about yourself, and you may just find that the new information that you have learned can be applied to your personal life beyond your workday. The old adage “use it, or lose it” is really true in that the more you use your brain and your body, the more fit you become intellectually and physically. Take the first step today and brainstorm about what areas of expertise you want to pursue, and start your professional development today!
Professional Development Satisfies Your Employer
As a former supervisor of many staff members, I can tell you from personal experience that nothing pleased me more than a self-motivated employee. Some people might be shy about sharing their self-initiated professional development, but believe me, you should tell your employer what you are doing! Give him or her a chance to note your accomplishments on your personnel record, and next time the review process begins, that info will be duly noted, and you might get a better raise. Even more importantly, your boss will be likely to give you the more exciting pioneer-type work because he knows you are self-motivated and can work independently.
So don’t be complacent and stagnant in your skills as an office manager, administrative assistant, or secretary. Be proactive and take the first step toward lifelong learning, personal satisfaction, and career enhancement by committing to regular professional development. Your long-term success will be greatly improved!
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Guest author, Diane Lockman, is currently home schooling her two teenagers. She writes about her adventures and shares teaching tips for classical Christian home schooling success on her blog, The Classical Scholar.