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Where does the time go?

I often hear administrative professionals share with me that they are ‘overwhelmed’ with their workloads, and having been an executive assistant myself for well over 30 years I completely understand that feeling.

There came a time in my career when I dreaded going to work because I had so much to do and could not seem to manage it no matter how hard I tried. I was unhappy and that was just not going to work for me because deep down in my heart I loved my executive and my role. It was just that at this time in my career, my executive had taken on several projects including recruiting and hiring new executive team members which meant I was taking on more responsibilities too.

My typical job duties had suddenly expanded to reviewing resumes, scheduling calls, and setting up interviews with John and other executives. This was challenging given everyone’s already crazy schedules and I knew I needed to get a handle on it quickly or my ship would sink.

Where was my time going exactly? “Time” to find out! I pulled out a pad of paper and started keeping track of everything I was managing and how much time it was taking me to do those things. I tracked the time it took for me to do emails, phone calls, the scheduling of meetings, the expense reports as well as the travel itineraries I created for John just to name a few. I continued to do this for well over a month, determined to get a sense of where my time was going. Yes, it was taking up my time to track everything, however, my pad of paper and the data I was collecting began to tell a story.

I was spending almost 3-4 hours a day, 15-20 hours a week on the recruitment process for executive candidates alone! Reviewing emails (both John’s and mine) was a close runner-up and travel itineraries which were nauseatingly detailed were right up there. That is when I knew what I needed to do if I was going to get back to being in control and happy. Time to show the data and pitch my solution.

When I shared the data with John in a detailed way, he was amazed. He had no idea! Then I suggested, (with fingers crossed he would be open to it) that he pass most of the recruitment processes over to our growing human resources department and have them do the bulk of it. Then, I shared with him that adding another administrative resource to our team would allow us both to move more speedily, and efficiently, and afford me the luxury of growing in overall responsibilities and still maintaining a high level of job satisfaction and happiness. He took a few days to think about this, however, he finally allowed me to grow my team to include another administrative assistant.

In summary, when we can truly understand where our time is going and how it is being spent minute by hour by day, as painful as it is, ultimately, we can see the BIG picture and begin to create solutions that can assist us in getting our time back, get back in control and find enjoyment again in our career.

Yours Truly,

Debbie Gross


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