You know you need help to get even a fraction of your to do list done, but unless you have deep experience on how to best leverage the admin help you have in the office, often it feels like more work to get someone else to take things off your to do list. You say, “I’ll just do it myself.”
But that is shortsighted thinking. Sure it’s easier the first time (or even the second time) you hold back from delegating, but especially for recurring tasks or task categories, you’re almost always best off in the medium and long run delegating to the admin help you have.
Here are top six best suggestions to best leverage your “admin” help to get more done in less time. Your admin might be a new hire you just brought on who in part will work to give you support, or it could be an assistant that you’ll share with three other peers in your office, or if you’ve hit the mother lode, your admin could be a new full time assistant dedicated to helping you accomplish your business goals and tackle your to do list.
Tip #1: Don’t manage your admin’s deliverables by email, instead have your admin track everything you give him or her through one app based project list.
Currently my admin and I use Asana. In the past I’ve used several other tools. The key point is that you need one place that your assistant posts all the tasks you’ve handed them so you can see updates in one centralized place. The right tool should give you a view to see a feed of the new updates your assistant has made since you last reviewed the list.
Tip #2: Have your admin record your key “delegation meetings”.
About once every week or two I’ll sit down with my admin for 45-60 minutes to both go over her project list and to hand her more projects and tasks. (I use this same technique with other staff that I directly manage.)
As you can imagine, that’s a lot of information coming at your admin in one sitting. So she has the recorder on her phone going and after the meeting, she goes back through her notes to compare them to the recording so that she captures everything.
I’ve found this one tip alone has made a big difference. My past office managers and admins over the years have told me that where they originally felt like my insistence on them listening to the recording after we met was frustrating, but after a few months of doing it they unanimously found it incredibly helpful and reassuring to have the audio files to hear a second time.
Tip #3: Have an organized system to capture your delegation items for your admin.
For me, I’ve learned that the fastest way to capture tasks and projects for my admin to do is to have three places I capture items:
A) In email (I use the “categories” and “quick steps” functions in Outlook to just flag an email for her to: do, add to an appointment, add to my contacts, or discuss with me.)
B) In a desk file. (This is where I put the scraps of paper or physical items that I will use to remind me to hand off to her.)
C) On a written “Admin” delegation list. (I keep mine in a notebook at the side of my desk.)
Tip #4: Know how you best take in information and hand off items.
I’ve learned that I want to read updates from my admin and hand her project by verbally telling her. This saves me time and makes getting updates and handing over tasks feel much more fluent and easy.
What is your preferred style? Ideally you’ll hire someone who is compatible. At the very least, talk with your admin and explain to him or her what your needs are and how you can best work with each other.
Tip #5: Leverage technology to quickly hand off to-do’s to your assistant.
For example, I can click one button on my Voxer app on my phone and it instantly passes a recorded message with the action items I want my admin to handle over to her. My admin works out of her home office roughly 40 miles away (she comes in to my office two or three days a week to do things like scanning, filing, etc. onsite) so this is a fast and easy way for an auditory delegator like me to hand her multiple items throughout the day.
Tip #6: Have your admin build the “system” for being a great admin for you.
Over time you’ll likely have multiple admins work for you. Some you’ll promote to other more valuable responsibilities, and some you’ll part ways with. Right from the point of hire, one of your admin’s the key responsibilities is to create the system of how to be a great admin for you. Not only does this build depth into your office, but it also helps your admin get up to speed faster and buy into your systems deeper.
If you want to learn more ways to effectively grow your business and get your life back, I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.