Four Ways to Save Five Minutes at Your Desk

Julie Shenkman
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As an administrative professional, you need to save time whenever you can. Improving efficiency gives you more time to learn new skills or perform extra tasks, which could help you get a promotion or a raise. Wasting five minutes may not seem like such a big deal, but all that time adds up. If you work 260 days per year, saving five minutes per day will give you nearly twenty-two extra hours to get things done. Use these time-saving tips to improve efficiency and save time on your most important tasks.

One of the easiest ways to save time is to create a to-do list at the end of each day. Doing it at the end of the day ensures that you know exactly what you need to do when you get to the office the next morning. You won't have to spend time wondering what needs to be done, or in what order. Brian Tracy, the author of Time Management, recommends prioritizing your to-do list based on which tasks will add the most value to your work. As you complete each important task, another important task will move up the list to replace it.

Many administrative professionals spend a lot of time talking on the phone. Another way to save time would be to reduce the number of calls you take each day. Having someone else take just one call could save you five minutes or more. If you are an office manager or executive assistant, you may have a receptionist or office clerk who reports to you. Tell this person to hold your calls, or ask someone to handle your calls for you when you are busy.

A third way to save time is to declutter your inbox. People spend a lot of time opening, reading, sorting, and responding to emails, but many of these emails are unnecessary. Save time by canceling subscriptions to email newsletters you never read or asking people to stop sending you forwards that have nothing to do with your job. Set up email filters so you don't have to spend time sorting your email every time you open your inbox.

Finally, ask people to cut down on the number of times they visit your desk during the day. Visiting with coworkers helps build relationships, but it also reduces the amount of time you have to complete your projects. If a visit usually lasts five minutes, skipping two visits per day could save you more than forty hours of time in one year.

Your time is precious, so you must do everything you can to avoid wasting it on unnecessary tasks. Creating a daily task list, reducing the number of phone calls you take, canceling unnecessary email subscriptions, and reducing the number of times you visit with colleagues each day are just some of the time-saving tips you should follow. If you save time each day, you'll be more likely to get your work done without rushing and making mistakes.




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