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The Admin’s Niche ISSUE


Dec 2010

The Admin’s Niche (previously known as the Coffee Break Ezine)

is supplied by the Institute for Certified Administrative Professionals

In this issue Renewing Your Enthusiasm at Work

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Save money and the planet

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Surviving the office of the 21st century

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Office Security - 10 Great tips for a more secure workplace

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The Key to successful travel planning from the Virtual Assistant's (VA’s) End

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Last minute Christmas cake recipe

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Backing Up Data Before Formatting Your PC: The Most Important Things To Back Up

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Nibbles of Knowledge ...

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“Don't wait. The time will never be just right.”

011 615 2868

The end of another year has crept upon us. 2010 has been an exciting year for South Africa and South African Organisations. A lot of things happened in 2010 - the long anticipated Soccer World cup 2010 has come and gone in the blink of an eye and Debbie De Jager was awarded the title of PA of the Year 2010 to name but a few.

working lives.

The December E-zine was put together to assist you, the reader to end 2010 smoothly and successfully. The first article looks at your enthusiasm, or lack of enthusiasm in the workplace - the article on page 2 will help you solve the puzzle of where you lost your drive to work.

Please remember there is no E-zine for January 2011 and that the first edition will be released in February 2011. If you haven't subscribed to the Admin’s Niche Ezine, and wish to do so - please request a subscription form from me on the email below.

I have also included a checklist when backing up your computer. This is VITALLY IMPORTANT, you never know what you are going to need when. My checklist should give you a good starting point of successfully backing up everything. Another reminder that ICAP HAS GONE ONLINE - registration for the online CAP course is the 15 December 2010. Another important announcement - ICAP’s Indaba for 2011 will be held in the beginning of March, and this Indaba brings something interesting to the table. ICAP along with the assistance of Niche Pro will be producing a confex (Conference and Exhibition) for Office Professionals in South Africa.

Finally to all those who wrote the November 2010 exams - I am holding thumbs and crossing toes for your results! Remember: if any article ideas pop into your head, please let me know by sending me an email to If you would like to write an article that is aimed at helping administrative professionals do their jobs more effectively or advance their career, or perhaps you had a moment of creativity, please feel free to e-mail the article to me on: Have a wonderful and safe festive season and new year Till next YEAR!!

~Napoleon Hill~ (October 26, 1883 – November 8, 1970) was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. He is widely considered to be one of the great writers on success

Along side the conference, will be an exhibition, showcasing companies which will assist the office professional making their jobs that little bit easier from day to day. For more information please contact the ICAP offices.

The topics which will be presented over the 2 days will showcase important aspects which affect the office professional in their every day

Kelly CAP, The Editor

PLEASE NOTE: ICAP Offices will be closed as of 18 December 2010 and will re-open in the new year. If you have any queries please email as we will be working virtually or Have a wonderful and safe festive season - we hope to see you all in the new year

Renewing Your Enthusiasm at Work by Robert Hosking Taken from: AdminAdvantage, Volume 21 September 2010

Faced with greater responsibilities and growing workloads, many administrative professionals today are busier than ever. Unfortunately, having too much on your plate day in and day out can lead to low morale and reduced productivity not to mention decreased job satisfaction. Here are several signs you may be approaching burnout at work:  You have trouble getting out of bed when you have to go to work.  You frequently arrive to the office late.  You feel withdrawn.  You watch the clock excessively.  Work stress spills over into other areas of your life.  You get into frequent disagreements with your manager and co-workers when you didn’t in the past.  You feel you aren’t making progress, despite your best efforts. If these symptoms sound familiar, the following steps can help you better manage your workload and renew your enthusiasm for your position: Identify your stressors. Think about what has contributed to your burnout and if any of your own actions have exacerbated the problem. For example, you may have set an overly ambitious timeline for completing an assignment, creating unnecessary stress and obstacles to its success. Or perhaps you have been obsessing over small details and micromanaging projects to make sure everything is exactly the way you want it to be. Even small changes, such as requesting additional time to complete a project, can help you decrease your level of on-

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the-job stress. Look at your schedule. The way you manage your time also can affect your ability to meet growing workload demands. If you are overbooked or placing too much focus on noncritical initiatives, you may be creating additional pressure at work. To determine if you are spending your time wisely, keep a record of your activities for a week and place them into categories such as “preparing reports,” “writing memos” and “responding to e-mails.” Are you devoting adequate time to the highest priorities or do you tend to shift your focus to new tasks as soon as they come in? This exercise also can help you better understand your work patterns. For example, perhaps you’re more productive in the morning and should try to complete the most important assignments then rather than leaving critical tasks for later in the day.

You may need to have an honest conversation with your manager about your workload and to discuss what resources are available to help you in meeting goals. Ask for help. A common symptom of burnout is a feeling of isolation. You may think you’re the only one who can review a particular document because you understand the project best. But someone else might bring in a fresh perspective ― not to mention relieve some of the burden. Let go of the desire to control or oversee every little step. It’s OK to raise your hand for assistance. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, work with your supervisor to reprioritize projects or delegate some of your work. Keep in mind that you won’t be perceived as a complainer if you objectively outline the competing demands you’re trying to address and ask for guidance.

Take things step by step. Take a break. Consider your approach in tackling large projects. You’ll feel less overwhelmed if you develop a game plan and focus on one manageable piece at a time, rather than taking on everything at once. Re-examine your role. If your company is operating with a lean staff, you might be shouldering more responsibility than in the past. Assess whether you can comfortably handle all of the additional projects you’ve received. Although taking on new assignments can be a good career move, over-committing and underdelivering will most certainly affect your morale and your reputation at work.

People often feel like they don’t have the time to take quick breaks during work. But allowing yourself even fiveor 10-minutes throughout the day to stand up and stretch or go for a short walk will help you come back more relaxed and productive. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, try the break room or outside courtyard. Make sure to also balance your schedule inside the office with outside interests and hobbies. Participating in activities you enjoy, whether it’s going to the gym, reading or knitting, will help get your mind off of stressful work situations. Continued ...

Renewing Your Enthusiasm at Work by Robert Hosking Taken from: AdminAdvantage, Volume 21 September 2010

When your schedule permits, take some time off, if even for a day or two. While it may be tempting to constantly check in with the office while on your break, making yourself too available can detract from the benefits of taking a vacation. Instead, make sure your day -to-day responsibilities are handled by colleagues you trust during your absence. Talk it out. It’s important to have a network of colleagues you can turn to for insight when you’re faced with challenges. In particular, administrative professionals in other departments may be able to

suggest solutions and company resources you hadn’t thought of. You should also build a support system of trusted people outside of work, such as friends, family and professional peers, that you can talk to about issues. Consider joining an industry organization like the International Association of Administrative Professionals so you can collaborate with individuals in your field. Not only will they be able to relate to your job woes, but they may be able to offer advice on how they’ve tackled similar situations in the past. A certain amount of stress is inherent in any job, but when the pressure gets

to be too much, it’s important to act quickly. By taking measures to reduce the amount of anxiety you’re facing, you can regain your motivation and

Robert Hosking is executive director of OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 320 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at For more career advice, connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS SELF STUDY LED BY A FACILITATOR The International Certification: Certified Administrative Professional® (CAP®) is going ONLINE in 2011. Register before the 15 December 2010 and you qualify for the 15 week online CAP course Start Date: 17 January 2011 Each week you will receive: Study notes References to additional online readings A practice test to confirm your understanding of the readings (not counting towards final marks) Feedback from the facilitators 24/7 assistance regarding studies After 15 Weeks you will be ready to write the CAP Examination in May 2011 with CONFIDENCE. How online training can work for you and your organization *Delegates are able to access their course notes via email at home or in the office* *If you do struggle with certain terminologies/course info you can e-mail ICAP & the relevant facilitator will be appointed to assist with your queries.* *This method is ideal if a company would like to train it’s employees without losing man power at work when sending them off for training (discounts given for group bookings)* *Study in your own time at your own pace* *The online CAP course is a disciplined self study as you have to submit a test every week* *Study groups can be formed at the office during lunch times* What is required from you? *To work through the weeks readings and have a clear understanding* *Submit the practice test on a weekly basis so that ICAP can keep track of your progress* *Attend the examination in May 2011* For more information about the online CAP course contact: Kelly on 011 615 2868, or alternatively visit the ICAP website on Page 3

Save money and the planet By Marie Oser It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The issues we face may seem daunting and individual efforts may not appear to have much impact, however collectively each of us can play a significant role in the effort to conserve our resources. Here are five actions you can take that will help to preserve and protect the planet and your budget.

Drive Less  Transportation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and the largest end-use source of CO2. (EPA) Walk, bike, carpool and use public transportation more often for hearthealthy, stress-reducing alternatives that preserve precious energy reserves and save money.  A study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that families who use public transportation reduce their household expenses by as much as $6,200 annually. That’s more than the average U.S. household spends on food every year!

Eat Responsibly  Eat organic, plant-based meals as often as possible. Go vegan to lighten your ecological footprint. Plant-based meals are healthful, delicious and far more

cost effective than a meat and dairybased regimen. Livestock occupies 30 percent of the earth’s surface, and 33 percent of farmland worldwide produces animal feed. Each plant-based meal you eat saves 280 gallons of water and protects up to 50 square feet of land from overgrazing and deforestation.  Support local farmers. Locally grown food requires less fuel to move the food you eat from farm to table, reducing energy consumption, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Conserve Energy  75 percent of the electricity that powers home electronics is consumed while they are turned off. Use power strips to cut all power to “phantom load” appliances, such as computers, TVs, DVD players, cell phone chargers and coffee makers.  Use cold water rather than hot wherever practical. Weather-strip doors and windows. Install blinds to prevent heat loss during the winter and Air Conditioning during the summer. Turn down the thermostat before bedtime and every degree will save you five percent on your heating bill.

Use Less Water  The earth is a water-rich planet, however most of it is salt water and

much is tied up in icecaps and glaciers; 99.7% of all the water on earth is not available.  Turn off water while brushing your teeth to save three gallons of water a day. Cut two minutes off your shower to save five gallons of water per day  Repair leaky faucets, which can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day. Run clothes washers and automatic dishwashers when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of the load to save up to 1,000 gallons of water a month.

Replace Light bulbs  Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) have a distinctive swirl, fit into the standard socket and are available everywhere light bulbs are sold. Most labels do not say CFL; GE calls its bulbs Energy Savers and in some cases the telltale twist is encased in frosted glass.  CFLs cost three to five times more than incandescent bulbs, use 75 percent less energy and last about ten times longer.  Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. Because a CFL bulb contains 5mg of mercury, do not toss them into the regular trash.

“I don’t object to progressive HR policies, but I think they went a step too far when they replaced our coffee with ‘diversitea’.”

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Surviving the office of the 21st century ICAP would like to present the ICAP Indaba 2011 with something special on the side. ICAP along with NichePro presents you with the opportunity to attend the first ever Office Expo tailored to suit the needs of the Office Professional.

Who shouldn’t miss this opportunity? Secretaries, Executive Secretaries, Assistants, Professional Assistants, Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants, Administrators, Office Managers, Receptionists At the ICAP Indaba conference you will learn about ETHICS in the workplace, CYBER CRIME, ACCEPTING CHANGE, CULTURAL DIVERSITY within the office, becoming the best PUBLIC SPEAKER, how to manage PROJECTS AND TIME, meet BOSS OF THE YEAR winners and find out what they expect from their PAs and participate in a panel discussion with representatives from the industry. When and where is this event taking place: 8-9 March 2011 GOLD REEF CITY CASINO CONVENTION CENTRE (JOHANNESBURG)

LEARN THROUGH INTERACTION WITH THE FACILITATOR AND OTHER DELEGATES R5000.00 EXCL VAT for 2 days and exhibition entry R3000.00 EXCL VAT for 1 day and exhibition entry Contact Kelly on 011 615 2868 or for more information and/or a booking form Previous comments from last year’s Indaba: *My first ICAP Event – I am glad I attended – great change to other PA seminars, training etc* *Thank you for your high level of excellence in all aspects of the Indaba* *Interesting and inspiring* *EXCELLENT* *I am hugely impressed!! Very good choice*

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Office Security 10 Great Tips For a More Secure Workplace By Braden Russom Taken from: AdminAdvantage, Volume 21 September 2010 Any assessment of an office security system should begin with specific security needs and the impacts they will have on your business as a whole. You may need a facility secure enough for a relevant securtiy certification or you may simply need to ensure your employees safety before and after business hours. Regardless, here are ten important ways to improve your office security system.

Effective Communication: First and foremost is communicating information to and between employees. Many companies use email alerts to warn employees about would-be hackers. Likewise, be certain that employees remain updated on procedures and potential visitors. By letting employees know what and who to expect, they are better equipped to recognize suspicious activities or persons. In order to avoid complacency, try to use a single source of information that becomes part of an employee’s routine. This could be a daily server broadcast or informational email. Whatever the source, it should be brief, practical, and include positive news as well as precautionary information.

asked to produce their keys to verify a master registry.

Site-Wide Policies: Something as simple as a “clean-desk” policy, training all employees to clear and secure their desks of valuable equipment or information before leaving for the day, drastically reduces potential theft. Mandating employees to have and display ID badges or access cards at all times increases the visibility of any unauthorized persons. Don’t include job titles on any directory accessible to the general public as many criminals will use a name and title to justify their presence in restricted areas. Finally, make sure to maintain a “chain of possession.” Any deliveries should be handed to a person and not left in a hallway or on an unattended desk.

Small Investments: All computers, laptops especially, should be secured with cable or plate locks to avoid “walk-off.” Docking stations are relatively inexpensive ways to protect electronic devices when not in use. Pay close attention to high-risk targets like state-of-the-art equipment, postage meters, check writers, and company checkbooks.

spyware, malware, Trojans, and worms is one of the shrewdest investments an office can make. This includes firewall protection for your main system, security for your wireless Internet routers, and securing backups of all data, preferably off-site, for recovery in the event of a cyber attack.

Lights, Camera, Layout: Be aware of “dark spots” both inside and outside your office. Install adequate lighting in parking lots and outdoor break areas for employee safety, eliminate blind areas in stairwells, and arrange hallways and offices to remove any places where someone could conceal himself or stolen items. Short of CCTV, discussed below, it may be worthwhile to install recording security cameras at key areas like loading bays and access points like after hours entrances.

Reception: Among the more complete solutions is to employ one or more full time receptionists. From a security system standpoint, this person allows for close inspection of credentials and identification and funnels security information through a single point.

Key Control: Assign the responsibility of locking or unlocking the office to as few individuals as possible. Eliminating the “first in, last out” method ensures that all access points are secured regularly. Create a procedure for those responsible for opening or closing your office that includes checking washrooms, closets, or anywhere someone might be able to hide. Hard keys should be numbered and assigned to specific individuals. Employees assigned keys should periodically be Page 6

Improve doors by installing peepholes and keypads. Utilize two locked doors surrounding a small lobby or foyer. This type of “airlock” system eliminates piggybacking, a method criminals use to gain entry by catching a locked door as an employee exits.

If it is impractical to have each visitor greeted and checked-in by a person, consider a dedicated phone line in your lobby or at your front door that goes only to a designated receiver. This method, combined with a sign-in station, can be a cost effective strategy for many offices.

Anti-Virus: Access Control System: While it is extremely unusual for a company not to have anti-virus software in this day and age, it is impossible to overstate its importance. High-end protection from viruses,

One of the difficulties with hard keys is reacting when one is lost or stolen. With an access control system, businesses can issue access cards to employees

Office Security - 10 Great Tips For a More Secure Workplace while maintaining complete control over what each card will open. Moreover, access control systems minimize risk by allowing only enough access to complete a job. Thus, employees, contractors, or visitors can be restricted by area or time of day. Two things are critical with access control systems. First, allow “total access” to as few individuals as possible. This will clarify who is authorized to be where and thereby enable employees to recognize and report infractions. Second, monitor the use of each card. By reviewing card activity, you can determine who needs access to where and at which times, streamlining routines and defining access.

Depending on the specifics of the system, footage can be monitored by an employee or digitally recorded. Place cameras strategically to achieve the maximum coverage for a single unit. Likewise, cameras or corresponding signs that are visible to guests and employees can be effective deterrents and create a safe environment. It is important to remember, however, that as effective as CCTV is, it should be used efficiently and in tandem with other measures. For example, installing a unit in an entry with an “airlock” door system allows extended footage of a person(s) entering or exiting the premises.

Proper Training: Closed Circuit Television (CCTV): For higher end security system needs, CCTV is one of the most effective methods of protection. Through limited broadcast, each camera can be monitored through a single interface.

Above all, make sure each of your employees is adequately trained to use security equipment and follow procedures. Investment and planning in the best security system will have little impact if individuals are unclear on precaution and intervention.

This may be as simple as making sure employees keep doors and windows secure or protect their personal belongings, but often entails specific training on identifying and responding to suspicious items, persons, or events. This article was commissioned by Security Integrations and written by Braden Russom to offer businesses some key steps to take towards a more secure workplace. Security integrations is an upstate NY Security firm specializing in complete security systems for government, manufacturing, and other industries where the highest security is necessary. One of a few companies in New York State to hold UL 2050 Certification, they serve New York (NY), Pennsylvania (PA), Massachussetts (MA) and New Jersey (NJ). Their website is http://

The Key to Successful Travel Planning from the Virtual Assistant's (VA’s) End Adapted from: When it comes to planning travel, a VA can have some initial difficulties with an employer because he or she may not be as personally familiar with an employer as someone who actually works in the same physical space as that person. However, you can easily overcome this issue – and appear far more prepared and thorough in the process – by developing a travel “care package” for your employer when you plan trips for them. As you become more familiar with your employer, you may be able to tailor some of the contents of this package. From the very start, though, you will be able to ensure that you have planned and executed a comfortable, convenient stay by sending your virtual care package with your employer each time they leave home. This package works just as well in a corporate environment, to show your efficiency to your boss. A virtual care package is really just a list of information that will make traveling easier. Usually it involves phone numbers, locations and useful suggestions that will make the traveler’s stay as efficient and easy as possible. Here are some things to include in any traveling care package: • Visitor’s information: This would include maps of the area, possibly with routes to meetings and other points already marked clearly so that transit can be planned in advance and your boss does not have to worry about

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getting lost. Also, you might include points of interest, such as national landmarks or ways to pass the time like movie theatres and mall areas with concentrations of restaurants or entertainment. • Important phone numbers: These include taxi service numbers, hospital and emergency numbers, restaurants near the hotel, dry cleaners, directions to your country's embassy (if you are dealing with international travel) and the number of the hotel where they are staying. • Contact information for duration of the stay: This includes names, emails, titles and phone numbers for all people involved in the meetings. It also includes a way to reach you at any reasonable time in case of a last-minute emergency. • A timeline: This is a list of where the traveler should be, when they should be there and whom they are meeting. Arrange it chronologically in a spreadsheet so that it is clear when (and if) there is any downtime. A simple, bulleted list of this information accompanied by maps, bus and train routes, if applicable, can dramatically improve a traveler’s state of mind while they are away. Even better, it will not only be helpful, but it will showcase your preparedness and organization in the process, demonstrating just how indispensable you are to the entire operation

Last minute Christmas cake recipe Adapted from:

second slice. Slightly paler than a traditional cake, it was packed with fruit, tasted wonderful and kept well. The last slice was tucked into my lunchbox at the end of January.

of the flour before continuing. 5. Using a tablespoon, gently fold in the flour, lemon zest and spices. 6. Fold in the beer and honey and stir gently.

Last minute Christmas cake recipe Over the years we have tried various Christmas cake recipes but the best by far was the one that we made last year, a week before Christmas. We wanted a cake packed with fruit but not a dark heavy traditional type of Christmas cake. We’d had to force down too many slices of these in the past. My Mother used to make us these and bring one each Christmas. Then she decided to buy them. These were worse and not disguised by being fed with lashings of brandy. We’d cut a few slices at Christmas, give her half the cake to take home at the end of her stay and the rest would linger in the larder for weeks and eventually been tossed out with the rubbish. We tried feeding one particularly disappointing one to the birds one year, and even they turned their beaks up at it. “Make a Christmas cake if you want. But I won’t be eating it,” said Danny, settling in a large armchair to watch the rugby. Faced with this challenge I was determined to bake a cake that even D couldn’t resist. I skimmed though all our books and found a recipe for a Christmas cake that sounded lighter than usual and tinkered with the ingredients. I replaced the darker ingredients, molasses, stout and muscavado sugar with lighter alternatives. We didn’t cut it until Boxing Day, when I spotted Danny sneaking into the kitchen for a

Equipment:  8″ round cake tin (4″ baking parchment.

7. Add the fruit and ground almonds and stir gently. deep),

8. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and make a hollow in the centre of the mixture (roughly 2″

Ingredients:  450g raisins

wide and

1″ deep). 9. Bake in the centre of a preheated

 285g sultanas

oven for about 2.5 hours depending

 110g currants

on your oven, it may need a little

 180g glacé cherries (halved)

longer. Check that it is cooked by

 110g ground almonds

inserting a skewer into the middle –

 225g





this should be clean when removed. The centre should feel firm and

 225g soft brown sugar (pale)  285g plain flour (sieved)

springy if touched. 10.Turn out onto a wire rack. When it is

 zest of a lemon

cold, make a few holes in the top

 5 eggs

and bottom of the cake (using a

 2 tsp of mixed spice

skewer) and feed the cake with the

 2 tbsp of pale runny honey

Irish whiskey (brandy would be fine

 200 ml of beer (I used Speckled Hen)

as an alternative). 11.Wrap the cake in baking parchment

1 Method: 1. Preheat oven to 160c (140 fan)

and store in a tin or cover with foil until you need it.

2. Line the base and sides of the 8″ baking parchment. Cut the paper an

Tips and tricks:  If you are going to cover the cake

inch deeper than the tin so that it is

with marzipan and ice it, put the

sticking above the top rim.

marzipan on a few days before it is

cake tin with a double thickness of

3. Cream the butter and sugar together

iced so the surface of the marzipan

until light and fluffy (I use an electric

can dry. Otherwise the marzipan can

mixer for this).

bleed through and stain the icing.

4. Beat the eggs well and add them

 I sliced off the top of my cake before

gradually to the mixture, a little at a

putting on the marzipan so the top

time, beating them well. If the

would be flat. Or use the base as the

mixture curdles beat in a teaspoon


“To be upset over what you don't have is to waste what you do have.” ~Ken S. Keyes, Jr.~ (January 19, 1921, Atlanta, Georgia – December 20, 1995, Coos Bay, Oregon) was a personal growth author and lecturer, and the creator of the Living Love method, a self-help system.

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Backing Up Data Before Formatting Your PC: The Most Important Things To Back Up Article Source:

When backing up one’s data, many people tend to forget about one or two things. Lets try prevent that by providing a small list. Here is a checklist of important items:  Clean up your Desktop. Figure out what items on your Desktop you need to keep and back them up.  Check your “My Documents” folder and subfolders. Figure out which items to back up, or just back up the whole thing.  Back up your Favorites/Bookmarks. This is an OFTEN overlooked item that many tend to forget to back up.  Back up your E-mail. I may post some guides for doing this in various e-mail programs sometime in the near future.  Back up your E-mail Software Settings.  Back up your E-mail Address Book.  Back up your E-mail Filtering Rules.  Back up and/or download your E-mail Software Plugins and Browser Software Plugins.  Back up your Documents that may not be located in your “My Documents” folder. It wouldn’t hurt to do a search of your whole computer for XLS, DOC, PDF, ODS, and other files of that type.  Backup your Pictures and Photos. Make sure to check the folders of any photo software you might be using.  Backup your Music and Movies! If you use iTunes or similar software to download music and/or movies, make sure to back them all up!  Backup your Chat Conversations. If you save your chat history then make sure to back it up!  Backup your Fonts! This is an often overlooked item to backup, but important all the same. If you have downloaded fonts in the past, make sure to back up your fonts so that you don’t have to spend a ton of time searching them out later on down the road.  Backup and make sure that you have all of your Product Keys and any Software Receipts. It would be very unfortunate to format and then find that you don’t have the key to activate a piece of software you rely on.  Backup your Save Files and Personalized Settings. If you are running software that allows you to “save games” or have special configurations that you like, make sure to back up the configuration and save files so that you don’t have to spend much time configuring the software when you get it back up and running.  Backup and/or download your Hardware Drivers and Patches. It will be helpful if you have all the drivers that you need for your PC ready to go BEFORE you format, rather than hunting for them after you format when you REALLY need them.  Download Software Installers and then back them up! You’ll thank me for this if you have the space to do so. Download installers such as Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, Flash, Acrobat Reader, WinSCP, Instant Messengers, and other such installers so that you don’t have to worry about much of this after the format. Another important one to grab would be your Windows Service Packs so that you can have it ready to go and not spend hours updating Windows.  Write down your Network Settings or ISP Connection Settings. After all, you’ll need this to get back online and get anything you missed.  Finally, check every nook and cranny of your hard drive for anything else you may have missed and back it up! If you have two drives that are similar in speed/space or have a better drive, it could behoove you to not delete the data off of your current main drive, and to use your other drive as your new main drive. Page 9

Nibbles of Knowledge ... S TA R T B O O K I N G N O W, B E F O R E I T I S T O O L AT E Important dates:


1 January 2011







New Years Day

SAT 1 New Year’s Day

17 January 2011 Online CAP course commences
















17 Online CAP Starts













“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ~Leo Buscaglia~ (31 March 1924 – 12 June 1998), also known as "Dr Love," was an author and motivational speaker



Learning on the job By Neil Atkinson Adapted from PA Enterprise, November 2010 Page 23 For as long as we can remember, one question keeps challenging business folk: How can businesses support leaders and managers to improve their performance at work? And to answer it we need firstly to understand how leaders and managers learn and where they go to for support. If we know this then maybe we can support the people who support our managers. So where and how do we learn...... I was astonished by a piece of research conducted by Princeton University. It suggested that 70% of effective learning by managers is from on-thejob experiences, tasks and problem solving in the workplace; 20% of learning from feedback and working with role models; and 10% from formal training. Another survey conducted with 200 managers said that 55% of managers will use trial and error at least once a month and 62% say that this is a very or fairly effective way to perform. When I digested these findings my immediate concern was around how much money I could be wasting on training courses.... Then I started to consider the consequences for my learning and development department. If people mainly learn from on-the-job experiences, how can an organisation support and enable that learning? As a starting point I suggest sharing these stats around learning with your staff. Leaders and managers will be astounded to learn that they are largely responsible for each Page 10

others’ learning - and that it’s not L&D or HR who ‘trains’ them! Beyond that, as an L&D professional or indeed anyone interested in raising performance at work, we must think through how to give informal learning a bigger role in our L&D strategy. Here are some suggestions from our own experience:  Build learning in to the working day by encouraging individuals to share their on the job learning experiences with others through informal ‘water cooler’ chats; encourage every individual in a team to share what they’ve learnt today via an email prompt (they may not do it literally but it may get them to stop and think about what they’ve learnt) and get them to think about who might benefit from this learning.  Build coaching and mentoring responsibilities into everyone’s job description - but then make it the role of L&D or HR to ensure everyone is skilled up to deliver on this.  Finally, as most training is conducted by managers on the job, HR or L&D have a role to play in supporting line managers by providing technical input into training design and pointing them to useful training resources. In our experience, informal learning is part of our working life, but by sharing these stats we have become more conscious of our responsibility to help and develop others.

Admin's Niche - December 2010  

A monthly electronic magazine for Office Professionals

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