Develop a thick skin
It’s very important especially when starting out as a PA that you learn to take criticism lightly and always try to remain positive. Your day-to-day is likely to involve some stress as the role of a PA is reasonably fast-paced. You will also be looking out for the interests and of your boss(es) and spinning many plates with a fine attention to detail. When things don’t go according to plan people tend to react differently with some outright venting in what may feel like a personal attack. Try not to take this to heart and know that criticism is the by-product of the environment and situation.
Know your industry
It helps if you know the industry you’re working in inside out. Make sure you get to know the business, its employees and your boss as well as you can, as well as the network of people your boss works with. This allows you to react to requests in an informed and clear-headed way. You can better assess which is the more urgent priority and decide exactly what needs to be done. At University of London Venues our events team are always on hand to support you with any logistics queries when you book a meeting room in our venues.
Mirror your boss
It helps to get to know the work your boss does too, so you can stand in for them if necessary and know what to expect when their peers fire across questions.
Keep a good work/life balance
Your time spent working as a personal assistant will be busy and at times demanding. You’ll spend most of your days working in support of someone else so it’s important to make time for yourself. The nature of PA work means that anything could happen any time and you need to be available spring into action. That said, it is imperative for your mental wellbeing recuperation to ring fence some personal time in your life to enjoy things that you like such as seeing friends, exercising or any other hobby that isn’t work. Being too work obsessed is not sustainable and could result in burnout.
Get comfortable with chaos
The ability to plan ahead and effectively organise is one of the must-have skills for an effective PA. At the same time, relying on rigidity will be your downfall as plans can change in a heartbeat forcing you to adapt with them. People get ill, meetings get rescheduled, laptops fail, flights get cancelled and game plans change. This is an important concept to hack: to be detailed, meticulous and well planned but able to adapt everything when a curveball is thrown and still run a steady ship.
Write everything down
Writing everything down as clearly as possible is one of the best survival tools for any PA in any industry. Having written records of requests and comments means that you can get things done quickly without having to ask multiple times. As a PA, you’ll be taking lots of requests and orders and the likelihood of remembering them is pretty slim. In addition, the things that you boss(es) say in a hurry will mean that so you can refer to it later, whether as a reminder or to cover yourself if your boss grills you.
File and organise your work
Filing work and keeping things tidy and ordered is a must. Not only does it create a cleaner, more focused work environment, it also means that anyone can access up to date information in the event you are not there. Company audits are also commonplace so if you are working with anything to do with financial, leaving clean logical paper trails is essential.
Use Google Calendar and Google Sheets:
This is handy for seeing what you and your boss’ meeting schedules look like at the drop of a hat. Google Sheets are great for a number of organisational and collaborative tasks. You can use them to create master lists of all contacts for different areas of the business so you have the answers at your fingertips and can solve most problems that come your way.
Use a free or paid program for project management:
Tools such as Asana, Jira, Invision or Trello are fantastic for task tracking and collaboration. For many people visualisation is a great tool for productivity and these tools provide a great way of visualising tasks, deadlines and responsibilities. Using such tools provides more clarity, normalises expectations and prevents things from slipping through the net.
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These PA life hacks will help you be the best personal assistant you can be. Make sure you file everything, become the master of lists and be as organised as possible.
Try to get to know your boss and their work as much as you can. Understanding how they work and how you can best assist them is your greatest tool to making your job easier and less stressful. There will always be stress, so just try to channel it into productive tasks and make it your motivator.
When it comes to meetings and training, let our expert team take the stress out of it. At University of London Venues our in-house events team can organise everything for you, and our catering team can provide bespoke menus to make sure your meeting delegates are well-fed. Our meeting rooms are affordable and vary in size and style, with flexible room configurations. Find out more about our meeting rooms by emailing email@example.com, making an online enquiry or calling us on 020 7862 8127.