Diary management is a very important job in any office. This is also most important in the home as you well know. We keep track of what has to be done day to day and also throughout the day. For instance, we make a note of our friend’s or family’s birthdays, a dinner date, a weekend away in the country etc. etc.
Likewise it is most vital task in the office. It demands efficiency, flexibility and thinking on your feet. The office diary can be manual or electronic or, both side by side. You may have a manager who prefers the manual system or, it could be he or she does not read his diary but rely on you to update them and organise this part of their work life. This is where you need to identify any shortcomings and offer the necessary support in order to generate a united teamwork.
You may be managing the diaries of other managers. This does not mean you are overworked but you do need to manage the diaries impartially. Also, do not overlook your diary (both office and home).
Efficiency with the diary means you update it regularly throughout the day. These could be meetings with clients, suppliers, other managers, department and your one-to-one meeting whether this is daily which is ideal. You will need also to enter any meeting circulated in the office and the date of the next proposed meeting. This was agreed at the last meeting.
You also need to be flexible and be able to compromise. A client may need to change a confirmed meeting. Would you be quick thinking and flexible in order to offer an alternate date or would think that any appointment in the diary is set in stone and so be inflexible? Here is where you need to think quickly in order to appease the client and your manager without either party being inconvenienced.
A provisional meeting may have been set up but you will need to chase the relevant parties in order to get their commitment to the meeting. Here you will be using the diary to remind you of jobs to do so nothing is overlooked.
Your manager may be invited to a meeting or function then it is courteous that you RSVP in good time. Here again you may be using the diary as a reminder whereby you can prioritise effectively.
Outlook has a function where you can colour code. Here you can have a colour for different managers, tasks etc. as it makes it easy to read. Quick Click is helpful should you have to frequently categorize items as Important / Review immediately and so on.
So you should manage the diary logically. You should have guidance from your manager so you can then prioritise effectively.
EAs and PAs have an important function with diary management as the purpose is for them to take this task so the manager can concentrate on his role in a professional manner.