Strong organization skills are an integral quality of a top-notch executive assistant. Whether you’re scheduling meetings, filing important documents, or planning your boss’s travel itinerary, staying organized is crucial. So if this is something you’re looking to brush up on, our top executive assistant organizational tips and tools are below.
What Does an Executive Assistant Do?
An executive assistant is a high-level administrative professional who supports a company’s senior executives.
Some duties of an EA include:
- Filtering calls and emails
- Calendar management
- Scheduling and planning meetings
- Implementing office organization and filing systems
- Planning events and business travel
Being an EA is a fast-paced job with a lot to stay on top of. It’s your responsibility to manage your schedule and a busy executive’s schedule efficiently. EAs often juggle multiple tasks and projects at once. You also need to be able to drop everything to help your boss with any urgent matters. This variety is why strong organizational skills are vital for a successful executive assistant.
Executive Assistant Organizational Tips
Becoming a super-organized executive assistant is something that develops with time and experience. But to get you started, these are our top organizational tips and tricks.
Always come prepared for the work day ahead. Run through your to-do list the day before or on your commute to work. What do you need for the day? What does your executive need? Is there an early meeting you need to prepare for? Starting each morning the right way can set you, and your boss, up for a more productive and stress-free day.
An organized executive assistant writes everything down no matter how great your memory is! Have a notebook or sticky notes on hand at all times. Use these to quickly scribble down notes when your boss asks for something or when answering a call. You can also document any plans, ideas, or reminders. Then when you have the time, organize these notes into your calendar, to-do list, or filing system. This way, nothing gets forgotten or missed.
From your notes, you can create your lists. Turn your scribbles and thoughts into well-organized to-do lists to keep yourself on track. Every executive assistant should have one master to-do list with all of your daily duties and ad-hoc tasks. You can also create additional to-do lists for individual projects. Then track your progress and update your lists as needed. Lists help you to plan out your days, stay organized, and prioritize tasks.
Set a Routine
Implementing a routine as an EA may seem like an impossible task. There’s a constant flow of urgent tasks and interruptions governing your schedule. But planning your days is an important organizational habit for any assistant.
Block out an hour each morning to clear your inbox. Put time aside each Friday to do your expenses. While you might not always be able to stick to your routine, having a rough structure for your days and weeks can help keep you focused and organized.
As an executive assistant, there’s nothing worse than not being able to find something your boss needs urgently. That’s why it’s vital to keep all your documents and storage clearly labeled. Create a system that enables you to retrieve items quickly and efficiently.
Labels are integral to an organizational system that can be used by you, your boss, or anyone else in the office who may need access. Don’t make it impossible to find anything if you happen to be off sick one day.
Keeps Things Minimal
Nothing derails an organizational system more than clutter. Whether it’s a messy desk or an uncleared inbox, clutter can be a huge distraction and lead you down a spiral of chaos.
To stay organized, try to keep things minimal. Tidy your desk. File important documents and toss out any unneeded junk. A clear desk space encourages a clearer mind. And keep your inbox at zero. Don’t be afraid to use the delete and archive buttons once you process something.
Use Your Calendar
Don’t underestimate the power of your calendar when it comes to organization. You can put everything in your calendar: meetings, appointments, lunches, events, deadlines. Color code or keep separate calendars for different categories. And make sure you can access your boss’s calendar to know what they have coming up too. A well-organized calendar keeps everything visible and in one easy-to-access location.
Digital calendars have loads of additional functions now too. Make the most of reminders, notes, attachments, and other helpful features.
Set Yourself Deadlines
It can be easy to let things slide when you don’t have a hard deadline to work toward. To stay organized, try setting yourself deadlines. Challenge yourself to finish a task by a certain time or a big project by a particular date. Setting a deadline will help you feel more motivated and stay on top of your workload.
Have a Weekly Review
At the end of every week, take some time to reflect on what you achieved, which big tasks you completed, and what you have to do next week. A quick weekly self-review can help you stay organized. You’ll start the following week with a clear head and an organized to-do list.
Amazing EA Organizational Tools
One of our biggest executive assistant organization tips is to use technology and tools to your advantage. There are plenty of helpful EA tools to keep you organized. Platforms, apps, and plugins can make your job significantly easier. Below are some of our favorite executive assistant organizational tools.
Day-to-Day Organizational Tools
Day-to-day organizational tools help you to plan, schedule, and monitor all of your tasks and projects down to the last detail.
- Trello. An easy-to-use visual project management tool for keeping to-do lists, tracking deadlines, and working collaboratively.
- ClickUp. Another collaborative project management tool with advanced features.
- Toggl Track. A time-management and reporting tool to keep track of time spent on different tasks.
Keep your online communication organized by using an established business communication tool.
- Zoom. A video communication tool for virtual meetings.
- Google Meet. Google’s video-communication tool for secure business meetings.
- Slack. A popular team communication and task management platform.
Scheduling and Planning Tools
Scheduling tools eliminate the back-and-forth that usually goes into planning meetings and events.
- Google Calendar. One of the most commonly-used scheduling systems, with the ability to add events, send meeting invites, and sync with other tools.
- Calendly. A meeting scheduling tool for sourcing availability, setting meetings, and sending reminders and follow-ups.
- Doodle. Simple tool for suggesting dates and times for meetings or events, and correlating multiple responses.
- Time Zone Ninja. A quick and free tool that helps you schedule meetings with clients or suppliers worldwide.
Organizing business travel for an executive is hard work. You need to arrange flights, transfers, car rental, hotels, restaurants, meetings, and loads more. Using a travel booking organization tool can make this planning so much easier.
- Tripit. A handy tool for keeping all travel plans and bookings in one place.
- Travel Perk. An all-in-one travel planning and expense management platform.
- Expensify. Streamlines the expense reporting process.
LifeSquire Can Help You Become an Organized Executive Assistant
An organized executive assistant is indispensable to a busy executive. Top-notch organizational skills are an absolute must. While these executive assistant organizational tips and tools will help get you started, finding a system that works for you is essential. LifeSquire Academy can help you advance your organizational skills through our professional assistant training program LifeSquire Academy.
Are you thinking about becoming an executive assistant or looking for a new EA position? At LifeSquire, we’re always looking for hardworking and organized executive assistants to join our candidate pool. Contact us today to find out more.