Life can get pretty crazy. Now that Lockdown is over and we have returned to some semblance of normality here in the UK, everything has felt quite overwhelming.
After months of sitting at home doing very little apart from watch Netflix, we now have people clamouring to spend time with us, events to attend, days for working in the office and from home and an extremely untidy house!
We don’t know about you but months of doing nothing has meant we’ve forgotten some key life admin skills. We’re drowning in unanswered messages, dirty dishes and unpaid bills. We’ve forgotten to buy birthday presents, let alone cards!
In today’s blog, we’re going to look at some top tips to take back control of our life admin. With so many things to juggle, we all need a little help to get organised. We need to re-learn and master our life admin skills so that we can stop feeling guilty about our forgetful brains and our never-ending to-do list.
Make Admin a Pleasure
The best way to get our life admin under control is to actually find some enjoyment in the process. Rather than treating our admin like a chore, we need to look at ways to start making it fun. If we can turn the perceived chore into an opportunity to do something we enjoy then psychologically we’re more likely to want to do it!
If you’re into making lists then treat yourself to some lovely new stationery. Use a pretty notebook and buy some coloured markers. Invest in a new app if you prefer to organise yourself digitally. The important thing is that you start organising yourself with to-do lists, due by dates, organisation charts etc.
Block out half an hour or an hour of your time on a daily basis. Find a quiet spot and make yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee, sit down and get to work! You can create a whole new organisation system for yourself if you’re so inclined – the important thing is that you’re taking some time out of each day to start planning your life and clearing your admin backlog.
Simplify/ Streamline/ Delegate
When reviewing all the things that you have to do, it’s important to ask yourself three questions:-
Is it an easy task? If it is then try to take care of it immediately so that it doesn’t take up your mental space unnecessarily.
Is this something that I need to do regularly? If the task is something that you have to do on a regular basis such as pay a monthly bill or do the laundry, then set up a recurring reminder on your phone or make sure it’s added to your weekly task list. Try to automate the task so that it’s automatically on your radar before you even realise it.
Can I delegate this? If the task is a big one that will take up a lot of your time then consider delegating or outsourcing it. For instance, if you find that you are constantly trying to keep the house tidy then why not consider hiring a cleaner to help you out.
If the cost vs reward doesn’t feel worth it then why not get the family involved? Get the kids involved. Make a chore chart and reward the completion of each task with a little treat such as 30 minutes of TV or the chance to choose their favourite meal for dinner.
Sort and Organise Important Documents
It’s so easy to just shove an important document away in a drawer and forget all about it. We can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve had to root through piles of disorganised chaos to find the vet vaccination cards, the council tax information, the letters from our child’s school etc. We always think to ourselves, ‘oh it will be safe there’. It never bloody is though.
Rather than putting yourself through mental stress trying to remember where you put that important document, why not invest in a simple A4 ring binder and a hole punch? That way, you can open the document the moment it arrives and file it straight away. You could even go wild and buy some file dividers! If you fall in love with organisation, you could also invest in an at-home filing cabinet… We know people who have them and we’re both slightly impressed and also seriously weirded out!
When you see the word ‘declutter’ you automatically think that it’s time to clear out your wardrobe but that’s not only what we’re talking about here. Whilst it’s important for your mental health to have a home that feels clean and tidy, it’s also equally important to declutter your digital life. I’m speaking from experience here as I currently have over 20,000 unread emails in my email inbox. I have no idea what is in there!
We recommend that you dedicate one day per month to sort out your digital life. Clear out your email inbox, unsubscribe to those ads that keep getting sent to you and create sub folders for all the important correspondence that you want to keep. As well as emails, you could also take some time to organise your photos, documents, music – everything that bugs you. Once you’ve decluttered your life both digitally and in real life, we promise you that you’ll feel far more organised.
Quarterly Budget Review
One of the key worries on every adult’s mind is money. Do we have enough cash to splash on that top we’ve been eyeing up? Are we putting enough money into our savings every month? Can we afford to pay our bills?
To put your mind at ease, we suggest blocking out one day every quarter to review your income and outgoings. Make a spreadsheet with all of your monthly bills and review your household utilities. Investigate whether there are cheaper options available. So many people neglect to review their energy providers – it’s quite likely that there are better deals to be had out there but we just need to make time to investigate them.
The more you look at your finances and take control of your spending, the happier and more secure you will feel. If you’re having trouble managing your money then why not take a look at our recent blog, How to Take Control of Your Finances, for some ideas on how to get started.
We’ve spent a lot of time putting things off in the last 18 months. From doctor’s appointments to dental check-ups, Lockdown has meant that we’ve not been able to sort ourselves out. Instead, we’ve ignored little aches and pains and avoided getting our health concerns checked out.
It’s so important to look after yourself and the health of your loved ones. Now is the time to start rebooking all of the appointments that you’ve missed. To keep track of them, we recommend setting up two schedules – one on paper and a digital calendar that you can share with your partner so you’re always aware of each other’s schedule.
Sharing your calendar will also prove useful for organising all of your social events, birthdays and anniversaries. If you have all of your important dates in one place, you’ll be able to accurately see what your commitments are for the month and plan all of the tasks around them.
Our favourite little organisation hack that we have used for years and has rather fallen by the wayside during COVID, is to be prepared. In the past, we bulk brought birthday cards, wrapping paper, sellotape, Christmas cards and even generic gifts! We cannot tell you how many times this saved our bacon when we had forgotten a birthday or special occasion!
We highly recommend that you set up a gift box for yourself filled with all of the things listed above. It will save you a lot of hassle and embarrassment in the long run. Other ‘Be Prepared’ tips include:-
- Make sure you have at least two ‘going out’ outfits in your wardrobe.
- Always have at least one pair of comfortable, smart shoes.
- Set up an online shopping list so that you can order the essentials on a monthly basis.
- Always have a tampon in every one of your handbags.
- Always have at least one ready meal in your freezer.
- Always have a spare set of batteries in the kitchen drawer.
We hope that these tips will help you to master your life admin and help you to get organised. The past 18 months have been hard on us all so please don’t beat yourself up. With a few days per month, you can get back on top of all your commitments and tasks and then you can concentrate on the most important thing in life – enjoying it.