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- Reducing interruptions
- Dealing with feeling overwhelmed
- Responding to quick questions
- Making the most of meetings
- Following up
- Implementing a closed door, open calendar policy
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- Many people act as the gatekeeper. These are the first responders when calls or email come into a business. You can be an assistant or the front desk or an admin. This is a critical position but it also involves a lot of time juggling because of the interruptions that are going to happen. Here are a few tips to keep in mind. Number one, make interruptions your top priority. Now, sometimes people don't want to be interrupted. It's your job though to be interrupted throughout the day.
So, no matter what you're doing you want to make that your top priority, to drop whatever you do, and immediately respond. That helps set your expectation about what your position is really about. Number two is to be realistic. If it's your job to respond to interruptions, then you want to make sure that your calendar has lots of space in it. Instead of packing your day full, only schedule about 50% at most of your time to do any kind of work. This leaves you plenty of room to respond when those necessary interruptions come in.
Number three is avoid multitasking. Now, I talk about this a lot in my book "The Myth of Multitasking" and there are three effects of it. If you try to multitask things are going to take longer, you're going to make mistakes, and you're going to increase your stress levels. Rather than trying to accomplish multiple things at the same time, focus on one at a time and be realistic about what you can accomplish. Number four is the yes/no/maybe list. Now, I use this tool in a variety of ways.
In your situation it's a document that you're going to want to create by sitting down with the person that you're helping. Have a conversation about who goes in the yes list. What people do I always let through to you? In the no column, what people do I never let through to you? And in the maybe column, what people do I check with you first? Hey, I've got such and so on the line, do you want to talk to them? Number five is to have a system for downtime.
Now again, your job is to respond to the interruptions but sometimes that just doesn't happen, right? Sometimes for a long period of time you're just sitting there. This means that we want to have a few activities that you've designated in advance that you do whenever you have downtime. This allows you to make the most of the time but keeps you nimble and ready to respond at a moment's notice when the interruptions come in. You play a vital role in your position. Hopefully by implementing a few of these tips you can be even more effective with a little advanced preparation.
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1. Time Management Tips
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