As part of our 5th birthday celebrations, we are inviting guest bloggers to share their advice, experiences and recommendations on all things ‘Assistant’.
This week we have the fabulous Naomi White, a London-based Administrative and Operations Professional with over 5 years’ experience working in the technology, investment and media sectors supporting fast-paced, high-level executives. She prides herself on her drive, strong organisational skills and proactive attitude; motivated by and always seeking to create great company culture.
Naomi is passionate about the nature of her career and is always keen to share and expand her knowledge in the Assistant world! When she isn’t working, you’ll find her exploring the city, looking at pictures of puppies on Instagram or adding yet another plant to her home jungle. As a side project, she is also blogs for We Are The City.
Being an Assistant: You’ve Got This!
There’s no doubt being an Assistant is tough. You’re juggling crazy calendars, building complex itineraries and anticipating your executive’s needs on a constant basis.
Sometimes you can feel as if you are under an insane amount of pressure, but remember you’ve got this!
However, a few hints and tips to make it a little easier will always be welcomed, right? So here are a few to get you inspired…
Collaborate and Communicate
This sounds like the most obvious one in the book, but often we get so caught up in our day-to-day tasks we forget how vital it is to sometimes just sit down, grab a coffee and have a catch up.
Firstly, collaborate with your executive. It is vital that you keep communication constantly flowing. Whether that is through a weekly catch up (make sure you set ground rules at the start. I know you may be juggling a thousand different meetings and priorities but your time with your director is incredibly important – don’t forget that! Put in a regular short slot in the diary and stick to it, unless something absolutely unavoidable comes up. After all, the more in-sync with your executive you are, the better equipped you are to support them). Or, especially if your director is constantly travelling, through messaging apps – think iMessage, Slack, WhatsApp, Hipchat, or even just plain old texts – there are a crazy amount of messaging channels out there and they will all make your life so much easier! Ask questions, probe for more information, ask for feedback – don’t just jot down instructions blindly.
Secondly, collaborate with your team! In my most recent role, I implemented a weekly ‘stand up’ (a catch up meeting that we had via video call, so we could recreate that in-person vibe despite being spread across various locations) to allow my team and I to chat through what we’d each achieved in the last week, what we were currently working on, and what our challenges for the week ahead were. This allowed us to celebrate our successes, discuss our hurdles and share our workload. It also meant we had a platform to share our knowledge and collaborate with one another, becoming much more effective and streamlined in the tasks we were completing.
When I first started out as a PA, I had absolutely no idea how to educate myself on how to get better at my role nor was my company very forthcoming with any training. I quickly realised there were a whole bunch of different networks outside of my workplace where I could meet other Assistants, visit exciting new venues, plus learn new things through conferences and seminars.
Networks I love include Miss Jones PA, The Assistant Room and The PA Club, plus C&C Search (which has its very own PA hub). At the events they host, you get to speak with like-minded people and share tips and tricks. You can also visit some fantastic venues to add to your ‘little black book’ – it’s really satisfying being able to think of a perfect place for your boss on the spot and having the contacts in your address book to get it booked in quickly with that personal touch.
Practically Perfect PA and Go Burrows are my go-tos for how-to articles and handy templates. C&C also has an amazing YouTube channel with short clips focusing on ‘career hacks’ – incredibly useful for interview preparation and personal development.
One of my personal mantras is that you should learn something new every day. Use these resources to your advantage and get ahead of the game!
You’ve had an insanely busy day or week and feel completely and utterly drained. It’s easy to forget to look after yourself whilst you are constantly looking after someone else’s priorities.
So step back, take a breath and take some time to focus on yourself. After a long day at work I like to get home, put my pyjamas on (if it was acceptable to wear my army print joggers to work, I definitely would), treat myself to some crazy chocolate (who knew lavender was a flavour?!) and read a book or put on a mindless Netflix show. Your idea of de-stressing might be a long run, going to a pottery class, meditating, learning to play an instrument – whatever it may be, take some time out of work and indulge in what you love and allow yourself to reset.
You’re awesome, don’t forget to take care of yourself!
If you would like to feature as a guest blogger we would love to hear from you! Please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org