We all know the worst part of running any company in the creative industries is the boring paperwork. Sometimes we get completely swamped with the ‘business’ side of activities that it leaves little or even no room for the fun parts!
It is therefore important to know the key skills necessary to smash out your admin tasks or (if you’re lucky enough) to hire the perfect administrative assistant to smash out your admin quickly and efficiently!
- Great Communication Skills
This seems pretty obvious, I know, but nowadays you need to be literate in all kinds of methods of communications: face to face, email to messenger, text to WhatsApp, phone to facetime… nowadays there are hundreds of different ways to approach customers, clients and colleagues.
Not only do you need to know how to use all of these platforms, but you also have to be able to deduce the appropriate manner for each different medium. For example, Messenger, Text and Whatsapp generally have a more relaxed and casual tonality whereas email is generally more like a letter form. These tend to be longer and full of more professional sounding vocab.
Great Communicators also tend to be great readers of people. In a very short amount of time they can deduce how to speak to someone in an appropriate manner whether this is matey and approachable or professional. There is often a fine line in the creative industries so be sure and, if in doubt, air on the side of professionality.
- Time Management
A good administrator is an excellent timekeeper. I often find it useful to keep timetables which are designed so that I can use my time in the most efficient manner.
A great administrator also has the inherent ability to gauge the weight of certain tasks and prioritise them appropriately in order to get the most pressing tasks completed first.
An unbelievable administrator makes you think that they have all the time in the world even when they are the busiest ever. That calmness can be infectious especially when there are lots of deadlines to meet.
- Microsoft Office (and their Apple Equivalents)
Every job you ever work in, whatever industry, wherever it is, will almost certainly require you using Microsoft Office (or the similar mac programmes like Pages, Numbers or Google Docs).
It never ceases to blow my mind how many job apps request this as a must have requirement in job application because I am of the opinion that if you don’t know the basics of Word, Excel and PowerPoint then where the hell have you been?! It’s been around since 1995! Have you been living in a box!
To give some clarity: that’s nearly a quarter of a century. If you haven’t tried to learn how to copy and paste by now there is no hope for you! It’s like living in France for 25 years without learning how to say ‘Bonjour’.
No more excuses! If you don’t know how, ask Google and if you need visual guidance YouTube it!
- Problem Solving Abilities
I love problem solving! Whether it’s that buzz of on the spot quick fix results or the longer term negotiating, searching for an answer until you find one that is just right, there is a real rush that runs alongside finding the perfect solution to a problem.
How can you be a great problem solver? You need to be able to spot the problems, find solutions, pick the best one and most importantly apply your strategy then evaluate it to assess if it has worked.
Sometimes you have to perform all of these almost instinctively in a matter of seconds. I once, in a moment of genius and madness, played the part of the Magic Mirror in a pantomime of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ when we had a technical problem. I was the Deputy Stage Manager but safe to say I was an awesome Understudy. Although in moments (especially like that) it is partially instinctive, it is definitely something that can be learnt and gets easier the more you do it.
- A ‘To Do’ List
Learn to love a list!
Lists have some real benefits in the admin world:
- You don’t forget things – carry a notebook round, jot it down in your phone, whack it on a post it, whenever and wherever it pops into your head! Then compile it into a list later! And never forget anything again.
- Think of the happiness – every time you cross something off a list you get a tiny kick of dopamine. That little burst of excitement drives you on to check off the next thing, so however big or small write it down so you can cross it off.
- Reward yourself – whether this is something as minor as the satisfactory sound made by Swipes or the way that Trello turns green or the physical action of checking something off a handwritten list or ripping a page out your list book it is unbelievably satisfying. And our brain finds them encouraging pushing us onto achieve even more!