Multitasking : How to Handle Multiple Tasks in an Administrative Role


Taking on an administrative role is an exercise in various technical and soft skill sets. In essence, you keep your department running efficiently by being an expert in different types of tasks, from accurate data entry to organizing team schedules. Yet, this can also see you facing the challenge of multitasking, that of juggling multiple activities on a daily basis, without dropping any balls that negatively affect the company.

This certainly isn’t easy. Despite what some people may claim, genuine multitasking—giving more than one activity your full attention at the same time—isn’t really possible. At least, not in a way that maintains the quality of your output. So, how can you deal with the various tasks you have to handle as an administrator? Well, by applying some strategies and tools, you can really thrive.

Prioritizing Effectively

One of the characteristics of any administrative role is that there is usually a variety of tasks and subtasks that need to be taken care of on any given day. This can get pretty overwhelming when those elements pile up to the point that they seem unmanageable. A way to effectively navigate this is to prioritize your tasks. You may not be able to take care of them all immediately, but at least you’ll have the most important or time-sensitive aspects completed.

An approach to prioritization should include the following.

Daily assessments

Before you can prioritize, you need data on each task you need to manage. This might include the complexity of each task, which can give you an idea of the length of time they’ll take. The hard deadlines for the tasks can be important, too. In some instances, the lack of relevant resources may allow you to deprioritize some tasks. You may need to await receipts from a manager before you can file the week’s expense reports.

Schedule mapping

Once you have your list of daily priorities, you can start blocking out your daily schedule. This visualizes what you can realistically achieve in the time you have available. You might simply block out time for the high-priority tasks first, handling lower priorities if you have time at the end of the day. You could also block by task type. For instance, if you’re taking care of high-priority filing activity, you might also include slightly lower filing priority tasks in the same block, as you’ll be in the same software or location.

Stakeholder communication

It’s important not to simply prioritize administration unilaterally if other colleagues or leadership depend on these tasks to perform their roles. There may be nuances you’re not aware of that can affect the priority level. Therefore, you should make a point of just checking in with these stakeholders about your prioritization intentions. This not only helps you avoid unexpected issues, but also enables colleagues to set expectations for their work day.

Multitasking – Adopt Supportive Tech

The rise of the digital landscape has provided some useful tools for administration professionals, from cloud-based file storage to automated invoicing. Importantly, there are some technologies that can help with handling multiple tasks, too.

Project management apps

Handling multiple tasks effectively is dependent on utilizing the time available to you in a smart and organized fashion. Project management applications can support strategies that enable this. For instance, some project management apps come with time-tracking solutions that give insights into how long tasks take, so you can plan more effectively. Many enable you to visualize a personalized productivity workflow. Importantly, this also empowers you to see where areas of inefficiency are and make adjustments accordingly.

Wherever possible, adopt project management apps that enable integrations with software tools you already use. For instance, cloud file storage platforms or team messaging systems. This means that you don’t have to switch between different software when performing your tasks, thereby improving your productivity.

Artificial intelligence software

The recent rise of artificial intelligence (AI) offers remarkable benefits to various aspects of our lives. In essence, AI uses algorithms to mimic human thinking, but faster, more efficiently, and capable of handling huge volumes of data. As a result, AI-driven software can automate needlessly repetitive tasks and utilize predictive analytics for effective decision-making. This is useful for when you’re managing multiple tasks in administration.

There are many ways to use this technology in your workplace. You can utilize generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, to draft correspondence quickly. There’s AI-enhanced software that interacts with your files to automate basic data entry. Even chatbots can take care of basic office inquiries so you can focus on more complex activities that require your full attention. Remember, though, that AI can still be fallible, so it’s vital to review the results for accuracy and even evidence of biases.

Incentivize and Celebrate Achievements

Tackling multiple tasks every day can be an arduous process that requires a great deal of energy and focus. It’s important to recognize how much of your talent contributes to your success along the way. Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate your successes is not just a good way to motivate you as you tackle your work, but it can also boost your self-confidence. This is essential for your mental wellness and resilience as you continue to face challenging multitasking situations.

Celebrating your achievements doesn’t have to always involve a big event. Instead, recognize your small daily and weekly successes. Take moments to really look at the challenges you’ve faced during your days. Think carefully about which of your personal attributes and technical skills you used to overcome these. Perhaps reward yourself for milestone achievements at the end of projects, such as a nice meal after completing all the data entry required for filing this year’s taxes.

If you’re leading a team of administrators who are also multitasking, you can find that introducing employee incentive programs can have multiple benefits. Getting occasional rewards for specific outcomes tends to help boost productivity, as they can see evidence of their impact. Not to mention it enhances job satisfaction, ultimately minimizing turnover which reduces the potential for other staff to be overburdened with more tasks than they can handle.

It’s important to track the metrics related to how effectively workers manage their tasks in your incentive scheme. This is both to apply the appropriate rewards, but also to emphasize what aspects of managing their time and productivity make a difference to the business.

Multitasking Conclusion

Managing multiple administrative tasks effectively requires planning and strategy. You’ll need to understand how to effectively prioritize as well as adopting tech tools. That said, it’s just as important to recognize when your number of tasks is even too great for these strategies. The last thing you want is to risk burnout. When you find you have too much on your plate, be vocal about this and suggest to management that delegation or taking on additional staff is necessary.

Author Bio: Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, business, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.