I knew that a messy desktop can distract from the task at had, but I had no idea how much. I recently read a post that said:
Participants at a UBC study took 10% more time to perform tasks when sitting at a messy desk (compared with control group at clean, organized desk).
Organize Your Desktop with These Six Items
Here are six well-priced items, totalling under $60 for all, that are effective tools to keep your desktop organized so that you can enjoy your workspace.
File Organizer – Files should always be upright on your desk. Why, you ask? Once you lay a file folder flat, you start to pile other things on top of it and it’s no longer accessible. A vertical file holder allows you to see the folder and label and you can slip papers into the proper folder quickly.
File Folders – I like end tab folders. They have tabs on the top and on the side. Perfect because no matter which way you have your file organizer facing, you can read the tabs on the folder.
Odds’n Ends Organizer – The perfect little holder for pens, notepads, loose papers, and other odds’n ends.
Notebook – Keep at least one notebook handy at all times. Write all your notes in it rather than little bits of paper here and there. If you like, have separate notebooks for different topics. But get into the habit of using it for your lists and notes and you’ll keep a tidier desktop.
Post It Tabs – Love, love, love! Keep them handy with your notebooks or your file folders so you can flag specific pages for easy reference.
Pens – A few different colour pens not only adds a touch of colour but you can make notes in different colours to help you highlight and separate ideas.
It doesn’t take much to keep your desktop tidy. These six items are reasonably priced and versatile. If you’re struggling to get your workspace tidied up, give this a shot. At these prices, you don’t have much to lose – but you have so much time to gain!
Being an executive assistant for over 30 years, and now working as a virtual assistant, I’m always reading articles about the admin profession. I’m passionate about what I do and my goal is provide the best support I possibly can.
I came across this article recently. Although it’s a few years old, it’s written really well and can easily be adapted from personal assistant to virtual assistant.
Being an assistant, to me, is a balance between cheerleader and partner – working alongside you to give you the best support for your success!
10 Things that Personal Assistants Do Better Than Anyone
by Bonnie Low-Kramen for Estate & Manor Magazine | August 14, 2015
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs *
It’s about love.
The great assistants all love what they do. They unabashedly and unapologetically love their work in support of others. They blow off comments like, “You’re just an assistant,” because they know better. Personal assistants are some of the brightest, most organized and resourceful people on the planet. That is why not everyone is cut out for this demanding work. They are very far from being “just” anything. The smartest people in the business world know to invest in the true power of the assistant.
I worked for 25 years as the personal assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis, and I loved it. Yes, I said it. Friends would say that I was one of the only people they knew who genuinely loved their job. That always struck me as important feedback as I observed how often the world treats assistants with disrespect. That happened to me too. Working with a movie star did not make me totally immune. Now I teach Be the Ultimate Assistant workshops for assistants all around the world and I want to share some universal truths about this thing we call love. These apply whether it is an assistant in Maryland or Malaysia or any point in between.
Here are the top 10 things that assistants do better than anyone else:
- They are relentlessly adaptable. They love the variety the job offers and that no two days are ever the same which makes it easy for them to shift gears at a moment’s notice.
- They love a challenge. “No” is usually not an option. True confession: I used to play a game at work called “How few emails or phone calls in the shortest time will it take to get this answer?” I won if it took three or less in five minutes or less.
- They underplay their power. Looks can be deceiving. The assistant has the ear of her manager and wields tremendous influence. Do not underestimate this. Seriously.
- Making people happy is their goal. Going above and beyond is SOP. Personal assistants have an innate desire to please and to figure out the myriad of ways to do that. Assistants are born with a “service heart” and receive great pleasure and satisfaction from being supreme implementers.
- They read minds. They usually need a clue or two. A look on their principal’s face or the way a fellow staffer responded at the staff meeting. Great assistants are clairvoyant and truly know when “it is a good time” to approach the boss, and more importantly, when it is not. Anticipating what needs to be done is their gift.
- They love to put out fires and bring order to chaos. The assistant is the go-to person in any crisis whether it is prepping for Hurricane Sandy or untangling a meeting gone haywire.
- They are master jugglers. The best assistants enjoy managing 12 invisible balls in the air and are able to handle #13 and #14 too. Just give them a fresh cup of coffee.
- They are hungry to learn. Assistants know that they need to commit to life-long learning in order to stay at the top of their game. Smart CEOs and business leaders recognize this need and invest in their assistant’s professional development.
- They are connected. Resources are an assistant’s best friends. The best assistants have the widest and deepest networks. They know the magic power of relationships to get it done…now.
- They yearn to make a difference. Assistants are the ultimate enablers for their managers and companies. It gives them great pleasure to see the results of their plotting and planning. They don’t need a lot of feedback. A little goes a long way.
If fully utilized and are well managed, assistants are the eyes and ears of their principals and can be the powerful secret weapons of every household and estate.
The true old saying tells us that money can’t buy happiness. I have to disagree. Money can buy happiness.
Top health problems are related to stress – heart disease, asthma, obesity and headaches are all stress-related ailments. Stress is one reason for arguments, relationship problems, and business failures.
So if we can eliminate some stress in our lives, we can be happier in our relationships, be healthier and run successful businesses.
Common ways to relieve stress include:
- Going for a walk or a workout
- Meditation and yoga
- Deep breathing
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Do something you enjoy
But what about getting the help you need to alleviate the workload in your home and in your business.
♥ A cleaning service for your home
♥ Lawn service or snow removal service
♥ Home services such as grocery delivery or organizing
♥ Virtual assistant
We often feel that we can’t afford the services so we just continue being stressed and overloaded. It’s not doing any good! These services come at different price points so you can negotiate to fit to your budget.
The best term I heard when I started my business was “money flows”. Somehow, when you decide that you need to rely on a service to help you maintain balance, the money follows. Maybe it comes from the extra time you have not worrying about the service; maybe it comes from more time to sell; or maybe it was there all along.
Money can buy happiness & health & wealth!
Featured Contribution submission for SheOwnsIt.com
When I tell people that I’m a virtual assistant, I almost always get a reply of, “oh, I need you!” That is a great feeling – to be needed. And that is a wonderful way to start a conversation about the “needs”.
So when does a business owner really need a virtual assistant? My answer is usually the same … it’s all about time. When you find you are spending time doing administrative work but could be doing something else. What is that something else?
- It could be more time to connect with your clients or prospective clients to generate a larger revenue.
- It could be more valuable time with your family.
- It could be more time to investigate a new venture or create a strategic plan for growth.
- It could be that the administrative work has grown to a larger time commitment due to increased business.
It’s really different for everyone. It’s all about return on investment. What is the “time” worth to you and what are you willing to pay to get that time back?
Often letting go of a few small things is the best way to start. It can lead to greater growth and prosperity as well as peace of mind. Give up the monotonous tasks and you find a new level of love for what you do!
If you think you’re in need of more time, think of what tasks keep you from it and let’s chat!
Is it more important to do everything “in house” or outsource it in order to get it done? We often feel that we want to do everything ourselves for many reasons – it gets done the way we want, we don’t want to give in and admit that we don’t have the time or that someone else can do it as well, or we don’t want to spend the money. All are very valid. It’s a tough decision to outsource and there are a number of things to think about:
- Who can do the work they way I’d like to see it done?
- What is my budget – what can I honestly afford?
- Is there something else I can outsource in order to get this one project done myself?
What it really comes down to is getting the task done. Weigh options of in or out – and make the decision that works best for you to get the job completed.
As I sat out on our boat watching my husband guide us through the beautiful Callander Bay, I focused on the ripples of the water as he made slight movements of the tiller. I could barely see his hand move as a spectacular glistening effect occurred behind us. It made me think about how sometimes a small change in our lives can create a beautiful pattern that we might not even see. We often look forward and keep trying to create or struggle through big changes that we forget to look back and see how small changes have made an impact in our lives, or better yet, the lives of others.