5 Effective Ways I Stay On Top Of Life Admin.
Life Admin. It’s one of those buzz words that constantly gets thrown around, yet something we rarely seem to stay on top of. The endless list of bills to pay, appointments to make and errands to run constantly seems to grow. So why is it that we can never seem to get on top of our life admin?
Well, research shows that the average adult carries our 109 life admin task per year. A significant portion of our time is now spent completing mundane tasks such as sorting out car insurance, changing bank accounts, booking appointments and completing tax returns.
Between balancing a demanding full-time job, managing my blog, working on a start-up and finding time to work out 5-6 times per week, it’s safe to say I’ve learnt to use my time as effectively as possible. Below are a few tactics and strategies I’ve used to stay on top of life admin:
I know this may seem like a really basic piece of advice, but writing lists helps me to feel calm and in control of my tasks and understand exactly what I need to get done. There’s a real magical quality when it comes to putting pen to paper.
Rather than letting my life admin overwhelm and get the better of me, writing a list helps me to feel calm and more in control.
I’ve learned that when it comes to being effective and staying on top of life admin, more time is not necessarily the answer. In fact. Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time we have. Essentially, the more time we allow for something, the longer it will take to get it done.
Set deadlines for each of your tasks and stick to them.
I am the queen of batching tasks. If you haven’t heard of the term batching, it effectively means grouping similar tasks together and setting an allocated time frame to complete those particular tasks. Examples of this may include:
I do my food shopping on a Sunday afternoon and I’m on a serious mission. I
don’t spend time aimlessly walking around the shops. I go in with a list or a very good idea of
what ingredients I need for the week. I’m in and out of the supermarket in less than 20
minutes. I also plan ahead and ensure I buy enough food for the week, to prevent me having to go back to the shops a second time. I have considered online shopping, however until the current systems and standards improve, physically visiting the supermarket is still working out to be more effective for me.
I spend 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon/ evening cooking and preparing my meals
for the week. Rather than doing little bits of food prep and cooking every day, I
consolidate it into one, weekly task. This means one set of washing and chopping up
vegetables, one time to cook and one time to clean.
I used to do my washing and cleaning on a Saturday, and it used to kill half to all of
my day. I work on Saturdays on my blog on start-up now, and that time has become golden.
I now spend Thursday nights doing my washing, hang it up on Friday before work, and it’s all done by the time I get home on Friday night. My cleaning is now done on a Friday night so that’s out of the way. Sure, it means I no longer commit to going out on Friday nights but if it means my Saturday is clear to work and do more important tasks, it’s a small price to pay.
The same batching principle applies to all my other life admin tasks, such as paying bills and booking appointments. I set some time aside one day per week to get organised and on top of these tasks, rather than allowing to infiltrate my time on a daily basis.
Since we are approaching the festive season, I thought it would be worthwhile talking about my approach going into Christmas this year. I used to spend days upon days going to the stores, aimlessly wondering around and trying to find the perfect present for everyone on my list.
This year, I just couldn’t afford the time to do that. I wrote a list of people I had to buy presents for, what I was going to buy for each person, set a budget and hit the stores- online.
I completed my Christmas shopping in one night, from the comfort of my living room. On top of that, I selected the gift wrapping options where viable. It’s been the most effective and stress-free Christmas shopping experience I’ve ever had. And the best part? I actually stuck to my budget because I wasn’t distracted my all the shiny ‘add-ons’ and traps you (or should I say, I) tend to fall in at the stores.
I have to credit Tim Ferriss as his book The Four Hour Work Week introduced me to the concept of outsourcing tasks. Virtual assistants can effectively do a majority of your life admin, for a very low cost. Anything from responding to emails, to finding and sourcing products, to waiting in a line for you. Platforms and apps such as Upwork and TaskRabbit may just become your best friend.
Consider how much you are paid per hour vs. the cost of you paying someone to do that task for you. If you are paid $100 per hour, is it really worth your time to stand in line for 5 hours, or could you be doing something much more effective during that time? Weigh up the cost vs. benefit and outsource certain tasks where viable.
Do you have any tools or tactics to stay on top of life admin? I would love to hear your thoughts and any other suggestions you may have. Please leave your comments below!