Over the last week most of my office has been preparing for a huge global conference taking place abroad. My manager has had tons of meetings and rehearsals for this annual event and every department is trying to pull things together in time. As a result there is a lot to do…however as an assistant, there is not as much for me to do. Granted there is a lot of rescheduling/moving things around calendar wise, but other than that I have had some time to kill. As a result, I have come up with a few key things you should be doing when you are faced with *gasp* a slow work day.
- Review your To-Do list – Make sure there aren’t any pressing things that need to be crossed off your to-do list. Sometimes quieter days are great ways to get through those random tasks you’ve been putting off.
- Get organized – To me there is nothing more stressful than a messy desk. Whenever you have a few extra minutes, take the time to get your desk under control. It will save you time and anxiety when you are bombarded with work.
- Clean out your email – Whenever I leave my desk, even for a few minutes, I receive at least a dozen emails. From industry newsletters to calendar invites, my inbox fills up pretty quickly. I have set up lots of folders that help with organization, but every few weeks I find it helpful to go through and delete any unnecessary emails. It clears out more space and makes your email run faster!
- Read up on industry news – I am subscribed to countless industry email newsletters. On busy days I usually don’t have the time to read these emails, but on the slower days I love to catch up on the latest news and trends. Many times I have found articles that directly related to ideas that my manager was looking into for our department.
- Check your supplies – As an assistant, I am pretty much my team’s personal Staples. I have a bunch of cabinets filled with everything from printer ink to staples. Every few weeks I go through my supplies to see what needs to be replenished. It doesn’t take long, but it is important to stay on top of, because there is nothing worse than running out of computer ink and having to wait a few days for one to arrive.
- Network – Especially if you are in a new job, take the time to get to know your new team members. Go to the kitchen, grab a coffee, and chat up the person who is making their morning tea. When you have some free time it is great to make connections with those around you, because you will be spending a lot of time with them.
- Help out – Your boss may have tons of different projects that he/she could use your help with, but you won’t know unless you ask. Obviously don’t bombard them, but if you find that you have extra time on your hands, lend one of them. Your manager will appreciate your assistance. However you shouldn’t constantly be bored/need work to do. That is a sign that you should set up time to meet with your boss and discuss your current projects/work load and ask for greater responsibility.
Although slow work days are far and few between, I hope these tips help you stay motivated and productive on even the slowest of days.