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Tool Belts for Administrative Assistants

tool belts

Today’s blog is one in a series on education, best practices and industry hot topics related to careers in Administration, including but not limited to those working as Executive Assistants, Admin Assistants and Office Managers. Today’s Admins handle duties that have no limits in scope and as the greater Philadelphia’s most trusted Corporate Transportation partner, Kevin Smith Transportation Group is invested in supporting those who work to make sure their companies run smoothly every day.  

If you want to hire your own Personal Assistant to book ground transportation, call 610-222-6225 and speak to one of Kevin Smith Transportation Group’s Corporate Concierges who can assist you with everything from Airport Transportation, Executive Black Car Service and Employee Shuttle Services.

We are often asked how we keep all of our task lists organized. Based on interviews with some of our Rockstar Admins, we were surprised at how many still solely rely on a pad of paper and a pen. We wanted to share their tools in case other assistants are interested in exploring other options that might help to shave time off of more manual approaches. 

The best approach will vary based on the type of assistant role, but we wanted to share what has worked for them in case it helps anyone else to become more efficient.

Asana

We are listing this one first because it is hands down the favorite tool of many Rockstar Admins! Keeping all of your to-do lists organized as an assistant is an ongoing task, and if you haven’t discovered a great task management app, I recommend giving Asana a whirl. 

Listen to one of our Rockstar Admins who works in King Of Prussia, PA. “First of all, using a task management app has increased my efficiency as an assistant immensely. I have always been a very organized person, but I used to have a more manual approach to the way I organized my tasks (I admit it, I was a pen and paper person).

The fact that it’s a digital system gives you access across all devices and the ability to search current and archived tasks. It also allows you to share your lists with other team members and even cuts down on email communication. The main plus for me is that it makes it very hard for even the smallest detail to fall through the cracks. It’s incredible!

We also heard great things from other assistants about Trello and Wunderlist as well so feel free to explore your options by searching online or speaking to others.    

We also heard of other assistants who use their inbox, Evernote and other electronic systems for managing their tasks, so we want to address going that route. You can establish a system using another electronic system but just keep in the back of your mind that you are missing out on some incredible features that a tool that has been created solely for the purpose of managing tasks has. 

Sometimes the tiniest feature can have a major effect on your productivity so why not take advantage of the best option that is available?

Dropbox

Sometimes there are documents that need to be referenced in tasks in Asana (or another task management app). Although Asana allows you to attach documents to tasks and subtasks, it’s always helpful to add a link to where the main document is housed. 

Dropbox is a favorite cloud storage tool for many Rockstar Admins and one they recommend checking out if you are helping your principal transition into a paperless office/lifestyle. There are many other options besides Dropbox and you should explore online to see what might work best for you. 

Notepad and Pen

A financial services firm in Trevose, PA is where one of our Rockstar Admins crushes it every day. “I love having a pad of paper and a pen to grab to jot down tasks on the go. I almost always use these notes to input my to-do items into Asana later, pending the task doesn’t take less than 20-30 seconds to complete.”

“I typically prefer a notepad that’s around 6″x9″ in size, has a binding on the left side so the back side of the paper is not wasted and has a decently sturdy cover so it can survive everyday bumps and shoves into my purse.” 

“I have enjoyed my notepads by Moleskin and Ricco Bello but I do go through them quickly and have found that the inexpensive Mead options aren’t too bad.” 

She also added. “I want to point out that it helps to keep pens and notepads everywhere you work. For example, if you are on the go, keep a stash in your car. No matter what, always keep extras in your desk drawer and in your purse. I know we always have our phones on us and can use its notepad function, but batteries die so it’s always best to be prepared.

iPhone

It’s handy to use the digital notepad if you happen to not have a paper and pen handy as well as the microphone for dictating notes for yourself. Many people also love always having access to the Asana app or other tools you may use

Since many people rely on their I-Phone so much especially for access to the Asana app on the go, I do like to keep extra chargers everywhere. Part of being able to manage a to-do list is being able to always have access to it. 

As many of our Rockstar Admins mentioned in the notepad and pen section, think through everywhere you work so you are set up in all locations. It doesn’t hurt to go a step further and keep an external battery case in your purse to really make sure you are never in the lurch. 

Folders

One of our Rockstar Admins from Reading, PA weighed in on folders. “I’m not a big fan of paper but for larger projects sometimes print outs are necessary. For example, if there’s a large event that I’m organizing I will usually print out my to-do list as well as catering orders, team building game rules and any other items that would be helpful to not have to dig through my phone to find. 

That entire project will be in that folder since I will be executing it while running around. Once it is complete, I will scan any documents that were not in my system to make sure everything is in one place before it is marked as complete just in case I ever need to reference that archived task it at some point in the future.

Post-Its

Most admins said they use post-its very sparingly. If there’s something major on their task list that they do not want to forget, then they like to stick it in a location that is front and center directly in front of their face until it’s complete. 

They also like to make sure the post-it is a nice bold color (such as these) so it’s extra obvious. They like to be extra careful about covering their bases. However, they never use post-its for any confidential items. 

Hotspot

Having Wi-Fi access is key. Sometimes a cell phone has the ability to be used as a hotspot, so purchasing a separate one is not always necessary. If you do need to purchase a separate hotspot then I recommend seeing what kind of a deal your mobile carrier can give you. 

I was able to get a hotspot for $1 when I added it onto a plan I already had, so you might not need to spend $100+ for a new device.

The tools and best method for your task lists will vary greatly based on your role. I’ve had roles where I spent most of my time on the go and having a hotspot was one of the most crucial items I depended on.  

However, that was totally unnecessary when I was in a purely office setting and didn’t go offsite. I recommend maximizing technology and making sure your lists are handy in any situation you could possibly need to access them.

If you want to hire your own Personal Assistant to book ground transportation, call 610-222-6225 and speak to one of Kevin Smith Transportation Group’s Corporate Concierges who can assist you with everything from Airport Transportation, Executive Black Car Service and Employee Shuttle Services.

Thank you for reading today’s blog on the Administrative Professional industry. Please visit us every week as we continue to publish tips, industry news and strategies that directly impact every Administrative Professional. Next week we will publish part 2 of today’s blog on Developing Administrative Skills.