As an assistant, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many colleagues, some organised and some who rely on their assistant for that. These experiences have taught me many techniques for being organised. I’ve worked with someone who kept every file on their desktop, which is great for easy access, but not so great when the laptop died. I once had a manager who left everything until the last minute, which resulted in a disorganised, out of control workplace. I have found that being organised is critical to successfully running your business.

Below are five secrets that I’ve used as an assistant to keep myself and my executive organised. You may already use some of these techniques, but if not, then hopefully you can try one of these tips to stay super organised.


Set a daily routine. If you can’t seem to stick to a routine, write up a simple daily routine on a sticky note and stick it to your monitor. Or better yet, schedule routine tasks into your calendar as recurring entries.


To do lists

Setup a system for your daily to do list. Trial a few systems and stick to what works for you. There are many choices, for both hard copy and digital systems. Some examples include: notebook and pen, diary, Post-It Note, Outlook Tasks, Outlook Calendar, Franklin Covey planner, emails sent to yourself, Trello, Asana, Todoist and more.

Once your to do list is filled out, then it’s equally important to prioritise, to ensure you’re doing the right work. Highlight the urgent and the important tasks and do these first. Ensure you carry over unfinished tasks to the next day.


Hand in hand with your daily to do list, is blocking out time in your calendar. Check out the example below.

I use my Outlook calendar as my bring-up/follow-up system. I add reminders in advance for planning in work due, deadlines, recurring meetings, important tasks. This is great for monthly reports, following up others for approaching deadlines, to planning in the next team get together.


Reference Manual

I keep a reference manual with important information that I will need again in the future. It’s useful for tasks that you perform infrequently, but could cause you to lose time remembering the process each time. Just bullet list the steps under a relevant heading and you’ll only need to refer to one place next time.

Automate repetitive tasks

Where you can, automate your repetitive work. There’s no use wasting time reinventing the wheel. I love templates, especially email templates. This is great for weekly reports, agendas, minutes, follow up emails, etc. Here are the steps to set up email templates in Outlook.

Staying organised is the key to feeling confident, in control, prepared and ready for opportunities. I hope the above secrets to staying organised will be of assistance in helping you look professional, meet your commitments and maximise your time.

What are your best tips for staying organised? Leave a comment below.

If you could do with help from an assistant getting organised, contact me and let’s see what we can do.

Author profile:  Catherine McGregor

I help business owners, professional service providers and consultants with organising and managing their biz.
Do you know anyone who could do with this type of support? 


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