What’s on your to do list today? No, not your work to do list, your LIFE to do list. Mine looks something like this: Get cash out and hand in to school for school trip, take school raffle tickets to school office, pick up prescription, buy packed lunch stuff for school trip, book hair appointment, sew on Beavers badges, renew the six-year-old’s passport, buy birthday present and card for the six-year-old’s friend, find babysitter for Sunday night, email around church halls for the six-year-old’s birthday party. And that’s not even including housework like laundry, recycling, ironing, tidying and all the other jobs that build up around the home.
It doesn’t seem to matter what your home/work set up is – whether you work 9-5, whether you work part-time, whether you’re a stay at home parent or whether you’re self-employed – fitting in life admin can feel HARD. It’s something I struggle with on a weekly basis. If my daily routine just consisted of getting my daughter ready and off to school every morning, then hitting deadlines, going to meetings and keeping on top of emails, I reckon I’d pretty much ace it every day. But add in all the other stuff and suddenly I’m dropping balls all over the place.
It’s not just me who feels overwhelmed by it all – asking around a few friends quickly revealed that lots of us feel a bit like we are drowning in life admin. “This is something I’ve been struggling with,” confided one friend. “I can’t seem to get the balance right at all.” Another told me: “I got overwhelmed recently, and found that the more I made lists, the less I did.”
A is for… Ace your life admin
So how do we get on top of it all and start nailing life admin like a boss?
1. EMBRACE THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF CHESHIRE
I don’t mean by cavorting around Alderley Edge drinking champagne (chance would be a fine thing…) but use the time that you’re watching telly to get shiz done. My friend Alice (read her ace blog More Than Toast here) does exactly this. “I try and do all the stuff I dislike when the telly’s on in the evening,” she says. “It really helps.” She also blitzes her house with a bin bag once a week. “I go round with a black bin bag to get rid of anything that’s been hanging around and annoying me – things like broken toys and school letters.”
2. USE A CARD MAKING APP
I swear I should have shares in Paperchase, the amount of money I spend in there – it feels like every week, there are birthdays, weddings, Father’s Day, anniversaries to buy cards for. I try to have a stock of them in the house, for emergencies, but my friend Bryony has a better plan. “The one thing I am good at,” she says, “is cards. I put credit on my FunkyPigeon account every couple of months, set up reminders and have the app on my phone. It reminds me whenever a birthday is coming up and I quickly make a card on the app and either send it to myself to write in or order it straight to whoever it’s for!” Genius.
3. DEVOTE TWO DAYS A WEEK TO LIFE ADMIN
I can hear you now: “Two whole days?” But imagine having FIVE whole days where you don’t need to do much life admin at all. Ahhh bliss. This is the bright idea of my pal Charlotte (read her ace blog Write Like No One’s Watching here) who says: “I have two days a week where I devote to ‘getting sh*t done’. So Mondays and Fridays are those days for me. Monday to clear up after the weekend and sort myself out for the rest of the week. And Friday so that the weekend is spent on family.” Amanda (who blogs at The Ana Mum Diary) does this too! “I’m the same as Charlotte and Monday and Friday are my days to get stuff sorted. I don’t spend all day doing it but I think it helps knowing you need to go through the paper work, change beds or whatever on those days. When I was really struggling and busy I had a promise to myself to just sort one room a day and that helped me loads. I soon started to get on top of things again.”
4. USE KETTLE-BOILING TIME WISELY
Guess what, fact fans. Kettles take between two and three minutes to boil, depending on the brand and how much water is in there. If you drink five cups of tea a day, that’s between ten and fifteen minutes a day that you could use to get stuff done, according to Rachel from The Little Pip. “I work from home on a Friday and use my kettle boiling time to put on a wash, or load the dishwasher, or change the bed sheets, or hang out washing.” Rachel is ace at using all her time wisely, as she explains: “I use my commute time to send emails and do online shopping. And I have a million Google drive spreadsheets to organise life admin, and I can access them from any of my computers.” My friend Molly is also a fan of using time wisely. “I clean the bathroom when the kids are in the bath, put the washing away when Si’s getting the kids in their pjs and do other life admin late at night after work,” she says.
5. HAVE A CRAP CUPBOARD
Take a leaf out of Monica Geller’s book and just have one place in your home where you shove ALL THE CRAP. Alice does this and thinks it works well. “I have one area of the house where I put all the crap that needs to be done but that I can’t be bothered dealing with at that time. Having one space to dump my rubbish (and not minding that it looks like rubbish) seems to minimise my stress rather than having a rubbish pile in every room of the house!” Molly agrees that it’s the way forward. “We have a drawer in the kitchen full of crap,” she says. “We also have a filing cabinet which helps as we file stuff as it comes in.”
So now you have life admin nailed, it leaves more time for scrolling mindlessly through social media while drinking gin, right? As Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sings in Moana…. “You’re welcome!”
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