Project Management

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This old management adage ex­­plains why most bosses want administrative professionals to create measurable goals. But how do you measure results in a job that’s often about responding to others’ needs?
As workloads expand under the pressure of diminished staff, administrative professionals grapple with how to best absorb all the new work coming their way. One executive admin recently asked, “How should I tell managers we can’t do it all?” Other admin pros weighed in:
In a perfect world, office equipment would never break. Colleagues would be as dependable and timely as a Swiss train. And creating a foolproof schedule for a project would be a cinch. But in the real world, well, not so much. What happens to that disciplined road map—your schedule—when you hit unexpected snags, as you’re bound to do?
You’re a model of efficiency … except when it comes to that one task you dread. Whether it’s filing, completing an assignment for your “difficult” manager or approaching the boss about a raise, you fall prey to the procrastination monster. You know the answer is “Just do it,” so push yourself along with these tactics:
It’s not enough to do your work correctly and efficiently; you must also be sure that other members of the team or project-based work group can be trusted to finish what you started. Try using or adapting this “handoff checklist” to your work. Ask these questions of the person taking accountability for the completion of the work:
As people grapple with the urge to put things off, economists and psychologists have turned the study of procrastination into a significant field. And what have they discovered? Simply trying harder to “stop procrastinating” doesn’t work. Here’s what will:
A reader writes: “We have tasks assigned to us via e-mail, the phone, in-person, in passing, etc. I carry my notebook and keep it on my desk to jot down assignments and then transfer some tasks to Outlook, but I’m wondering if there is a better, more efficient way to keep track of everything. What are your secrets to staying organized and on top of all your assignments?”
Next time you feel overwhelmed and frozen, tighten your focus on a few, easy things. Knock out easy tasks for 15 minutes. Then turn your attention to one of the hardest tasks on your plate, and work uninterrupted on that task for 35 minutes. Take a 10-minute break, then start the cycle again.
When resolving to reach a goal, it might help to commit to a hard deadline, and then tell colleagues, friends or a spouse about it. A public commitment might strengthen your resolve.

Surviving a bad performance review

August 23, 2010 Categorized in: Project Management

Question: “On her performance review, my sister ‘Jenna’ was rated ‘below expectations’ because her boss said she took too long to complete a major project. However, this really wasn’t her fault … I don’t think this is fair, because many things are beyond her control and she gets little cooperation from others. What do you think?”
These seven phrases won’t get an admin noticed—at least, not in a good way, says Dave Willmer, the executive director of OfficeTeam. He recently compiled a list of the words your manager doesn’t want to hear:
Establishing an office recycling initiative could reduce the carbon footprint and save your business money. In the average workplace, 80% to 90% of solid waste is recyclable, according to the EPA. How to begin one at work:
Administrative professionals could be a secret weapon in helping companies bounce back from the recession. New research by OfficeTeam and the IAAP shows admins are moving beyond their traditional roles to take on responsibilities in areas such as cost control, technology and the use of social media, hiring and corporate social responsibility.