As an assistant, you are likely always looking for ways to work more efficiently and get more done in less time. In this post, we’ll be sharing three productivity tips that have made a big difference in our working day.  

These tips are specifically tailored to assistants and focus on tools and techniques that can help you stay organized and on top of your tasks. 

First, we’ll discuss the importance of using keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Office. Keyboard shortcuts can save you a ton of time and reduce strain on your wrists and fingers, so it’s worth taking the time to learn the ones that will be the most useful to you. 

Use keyboard shortcuts 

For example, let’s say you’re working on a report in Microsoft Word, and you need to add a table of contents. Instead of manually creating the table and formatting the page numbers, you can use the keyboard shortcut ALT+ S + T and then the arrow keys, to automatically generate a table of contents based on the heading styles in your document. 

Or in PowerPoint to duplicate a shape use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+D 

Create templates: 

Let’s say you work in a marketing department and you’re responsible for creating social media posts on a regular basis. Instead of starting from scratch each time, you can create a template that includes your brand’s logo, font and colour scheme and any other elements that you use consistently. This way, you can simply input the specific text and image for each post and save yourself the time and effort of formatting everything from scratch. 

Use the “To-Do” list feature in Microsoft Outlook: 

Here’s a case study to illustrate how the “To-Do” list feature in Outlook can help you stay organized and on top of your tasks: 

As an administrative assistant at a busy law firm, Rachel often has a long list of tasks to complete each day. She uses the “To-Do” list feature in Outlook to keep track of everything she needs to do, including scheduling appointments, drafting emails and preparing documents for meetings. 

Rachel starts her day by opening Outlook and reviewing her “To-Do” list. She sorts the tasks by due date and priority so that she can tackle the most pressing items first. As she completes each task, she marks it as done, which helps her stay focused and motivated. 

Throughout the day, Rachel adds new tasks to her “To-Do” list as they come up and she sets reminders for herself so that she doesn’t forget anything. By using the “To-Do” list feature in Outlook, Rachel is able to stay organized and on top of her workload, which helps her work more efficiently and effectively. 

I hope these additional examples and case study give you a better idea of how these productivity hacks can make a difference in your working day. Remember, the key is to find the tools and techniques that work best for you and your workflow and to be consistent in using them. With a little bit of practice and discipline, you can boost your productivity and get more done in less time! 

Improve your Microsoft Skills

Looking to improve your Microsoft Office Skills? Look no furhter, head over to and book your spot on Essential Office for The Savvy Assistant – a comprehensive bundle of courses that will take your Microsoft Office skills to the next level.

I find Shelley’s training easy to follow and the very best thing is that you can do it all at your own pace and revisit modules if it doesn’t quite sink in the first time round! I have learned so much from her training and continue to do so! She is responsive to my questions and I learn something new with each module. I find Iam hardly ever having to Google or YouTube information now, so it really is saving me time in my work day. Time that can be better used by learning more about the business I operate in!
Thanks Shelley!

Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

I have been following Shelley on Linkedin for several years, and always loved her hints and tips. In May of this year, I had the opportunity to recommend Shelley as one of our workshop speakers at the annual HMC Heads’ PA Conference in Sheffield.

On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

From initial enquiry to delivery Shelley is the consummate professional and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to engage with her.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Shelley to any individual or group.

Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

Shelley is THE guru on all things Microsoft.

I love Outlook, use it every day, and think I have a pretty good understanding of it. But every time I attend one of her sessions I learn a lot more. Her knowledge is remarkable. And she delivers her knowledge in a really clear, engaging way.

Thanks Shelley

Kathy Soulsby

I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn. It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney