/ədˌmɪnɪˈstreɪʃn/ (informal: /ˈædmɪn/)
activities done in order to plan, organise and run a business, school or other institution;
the process or act of organising the way something is done ;
In contrast to last week’s creative focus on writing, a fair amount of time this week has been taken up by that powerful two-syllable word ‘admin’ – mostly taking me a step or two forward, so I guess that’s a form of progress worth reflecting on. Sometimes it feels like a distraction from ‘the real work‘, but effective administration means, for the most part, that everything else goes more smoothly in the end.
With institutions like universities, registration, payroll and course admin are seldom straightforward, but this week I’ve seen (some) progress and a lot of helpful advice. It’s the administrators that keep institutions like this running, sometimes with little recognition of the contribution they make, and it’s reassuring on returning to a university setting that they’re still oiling the wheels of academia. It can seem frustrating (as it has at times this week) but when you’re dealing with hundreds of staff and thousands of students and you can still give the human touch to people like me I think that’s always worth recognising. Thanks ‘Admin‘. the people who plan, organise and run a business, an institution, etc.
A big part of making sure students get a fair shot at a good education, and clients get the service they need is administration too – essential behind-the-scenes stuff. So, ‘moderating’ assessments (more than ten modules to-date), to check on standards and process, gives both reassurance and feedback and recently has been an important job on which I’ve been happy to put in the time. Making sure materials are up-to-date and accessible and instructions are clear is also well worth the time and effort . And those records of student progress I mentioned earlier? They’re essential to making sure everyone’s on track, (me as well as the student) even if it all takes a little longer – so it’s good to remind yourself how much progress reports contribute to the planning, preparation, and performance of both education and delivering the high standard of service I would expect myself and certainly aim to deliver.
Oh, and then there’s registration with the Information Commissioner so that I can store and process essential data about my clients and contacts. Where would I be without at least a little day-to-day data? Certainly I’d be out-of-touch with notes on student progress, out-of-touch with the students themselves, with potential future clients and partners. And the combination of registration and official guidance means I can make sure I only keep what’s necessary, permitted, do it responsibly and for as long as it’s necessary. I know what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, I’m officially allowed to do it, so that sounds like progress to me.
Checking bank records, cashflow and timesheets this week has been time-consuming, but like moderation and feedback it’s a reassurance and of course it’s good practice for anyone running a business, whether for themselves or for a big institution. Completing forms and reports, sending emails, arranging meetings, has sometimes sent me a round-about route to where I’m heading, but they’ve mostly ensured I stay on track and in control.
‘Organising the way things are done‘, even though this may well lead to late (if not sleepless) nights, is sometimes the only path to progress. Administration of your own business is by far preferable to that ‘other’ type of administration that takes your affairs out of your own hands for all the wrong reasons. It’s time well-spent, as long as I’m doing the right things and doing them right.