Executive Assistants & The Art of Prioritization

 

What Makes A Great Executive Assistant Series (Article#1).

This is part of a series of ‘What Makes A Great Executive Assistant’ and making references to specific sections in the Certified Executive Assistance Professional CEAP Body Of Knowledge BoK.

One of the major challenges for executive assistants is prioritization. From handling scheduling conflicts, arranging meetings, tackling HR issues, managing PR appointments, letters and speeches, very often executive assistants struggle to meet such increasing demand. They simply can not figure out a way to rank, classify and prioritize these conflicting demands by their executives or managers.Urgent-Importance-Matrix-min

In the Certified Executive Assistance Professional CEAP Body Of Knowledge BoK, we discuss the concept of Urgent vs. Important Matrix. It is a very effective tool for executive assistants to use to prioritize their tasks and only focus on the highly urgent and highly important ones. Here is how it works.

“Being able to differentiate the urgent from the important is essential for time management. The urgent vs. Important matrix is a useful tool that will help you identify which tasks need to be addressed first. Urgent tasks, such as picking up dry cleaning or fixing the printer, often take up too much of our time. Urgent tasks do not help you meet your goals and can become distractions. Important tasks help you meet your goals and the activities that reach the goals. For the best productivity and time management, give priority to the important tasks. However, you have to identify the important tasks first. The Urgent vs. Important matrix has four quadrants:

  • Top priority should be given to tasks that are both urgent and important. These need to be done immediately.
  • The second priority should be given to tasks that are import- ant but not as urgent. If you spend enough time on tasks in the second tier, you will reduce the number of urgent tasks. Plan to do these tasks the same day.
  • The third tier includes urgent but unimportant tasks that should be done today. If you ignore tasks in this tier, they may become both urgent and important.
  • The bottom tier includes tasks that are not urgent or import- ant. Label them as tasks that cannot be forgotten. These tasks may carry over to the next day.”

CEAP-Urgent-Importance Matrix-minBy effectively using the Urgent vs. Importance Matrix, you can safely prioritize your tasks and deliver them on time. Learn more what makes a great executive assistant by reading the Certified Executive Assistance Professional CEAP Body Of Knowledge BoK.