Every administrative professional needs a robust set of tools.
You might not need to wield a wrench (or maybe you do!), but you do need a great set of resources to help you do your job well.
Over the years, we’ve learned what tools you need to reach the top of your game. What goes into the ultimate administrative professional toolbox? Read on.
A Wide Network
We’re leading with this because so much of what top administrative professionals accomplish often comes down to their connections. Every administrative professional should work on building a vast network of contacts and keeping that network “warm.”
Your network can be anyone. From other administrative professionals to business owners, travel agents, corporate event specialists, the IT people, even the person who has connections for hard-to-get tickets or bookings can all be great “tools” in your network.
For example, we knowadministrative professionals who had to find popular tickets to a game or dinner reservations at the last minute for clients. Having a connection who can help out can make all the difference.
Besides fostering relationships with people who can help, it’s about building a good rapport with other team members. APs will often have random projects that require them to collaborate with other departments - it’s essential to maintain those human connections.
A Reliable System for Tracking Tasks
We’re not going to suggest one “right” system for how you manage tasks. Every administrative professional needs to identify what method works best for them, with the overall aim being that you never forget or lose track of a task.
Some people prefer a paper diary or a system of sticky notes. Many people find that writing things down helps them to remember better. However, several software options can now help you task-track. From task apps to full-blown project management tools, the software has never been easier for task management. Here are some examples:
Todoist - Todoist is a practical task list app because of its simplicity and portability. You can seamlessly switch between devices and always have an up-to-date version of your task lists. It can also delegate tasks and integrates with hundreds of other apps.
Trello - Trello is a kanban (cards) style of project management tool. Each card can represent a deliverable, task, or piece of a process. Cards get moved along columns as they go through different phases. You can assign people to cards, add due dates, and include things like checklists.
TickTick - TickTick is a to-do app that works across multiple platforms and is heavy on features. It includes things like calendar integrations, a habit-tracking tool, and even a pomodoro timer for getting through your work.
APs spend a significant amount of time managing busy inboxes, their own and those of executives. Having top-notch email management tools and tricks will help keep the email situation under control.
For example, you might follow strategies to get to Inbox Zero. One of the key takeaways of the Inbox Zero methodology is not that you necessarily need to have an empty inbox each day, but that you need to spend less time actually in the inbox. The aim is to have a system that helps you manage your critical emails, such as tags, folders, and labels, preventing them from ever getting lost.
You should enlist tools that help to manage the inbox automatically. For example, Unroll.me enables you to unsubscribe from unnecessary subscription emails. Depending on your email system, different tools are available to help you manage emails in a way that best suits you.
A Handle Over Current Affairs
Administrative professionals can go the extra mile in their jobs by staying on top of industry news and current affairs that can impact the business. It can allow you to bring insights to meetings with executives or raise new suggestions. Consider what is happening in the industry, with competitors, and more broadly, in technology and legal matters that can affect the business.
One tool that is great for this is Pocket. This app helps you set preferences to find relevant content and save it for when you’re ready to read or watch it. Conveniently, if you have the app on your phone, you could do it anywhere.
Administrative professionals often seem to perform magic to sort out busy schedules. It can get incredibly messy when trying to juggle multiple schedules and bring them all together simultaneously.
Robust scheduling tools are an essential part of the ultimate AP toolbox. You need at least one favorite tool that helps you to easily schedule meetings, events, and other things without having to go through a time-consuming back-and-forth. Out of the many tools out there, here are a couple of the best:
Calendly - The simplicity of Calendly is what makes it so efficient. Propose times that fit around your executive’s schedule, and people can select what works for them. Calendly will sync with most calendar apps, too.
Cabinet - Cabinet is described as an “all-in-one” tool for assistants, and it sure plays that role! The automated scheduling tool syncs automatically with calendar apps, including accounting for time zones - and that’s just one of the key features.
The administrative professional role is senior among the administrative staff. It involves operating at the boardroom level, often acting as a spokesperson for the executive and making some decisions on their behalf. You need to rally people and help motivate them toward the company’s goals.
How do you get leadership skills into your toolbox? Usually through both training and practice. For example, volunteering to lead projects either within the company or the community can give you valuable experience.
You could also sign up for leadership courses as part of your professional development, or even read some of the many good books on leadership that are available out there. Some examples include:
- Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
- Lead from the Outside by Stacy Abrams
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
The ultimate administrative professional toolbox is a group of essential resources for doing the job well. The areas we included here are those which we consider to be absolutely imperative for mastering the role. You might not agree with the exact tools we chose, but there are other options out there.
Here at Worxbee, our APs get the structure, community, training, and support to help ensure you have what you need to provide top-level client support. Our APs are trusted partners, who bring experience and strong skills to the table.
If you’re interested in joining Worxbee as one of our valued EAs, check us out here.