Have you ever stopped to consider how much time you spend on all the administrative tasks involved in your life? And when you factor in children, pets, or aging parents, you may realize you are dealing with an enormous amount of administrative tasks. Making appointments, running errands, returning calls, scheduling maintenance, shipping a package, signing up to volunteer, filling out the permission form, refilling prescriptions…the list goes on and on and on. Today I want to suggest a way to manage what I call Life Admin, or the little things we must take care of in order for our life to move along in a responsible manner.
Life Admin includes the kinds of things that are done at a desk, online, on the phone, or require brief trips away from the house. Life Admin is making the hair appointment, but Life Admin is not going to the hair appointment. Picking up a prescription is Life Admin, but going to the doctor’s office is not Life Admin. Filling out the volunteer request is Life Admin. Attending the field trip is not.
There are a number of ways to manage all of the Life Admin tasks that fall under our purview, but lately I have discovered an approach this is working well for me. Instead of executing tasks as they emerge, I collect them in a list on my phone and schedule a Life Admin Day to tackle all of them at once.
It is worth noting that I am using the word “day” quite liberally here. I don’t literally take an entire day off for Life Admin, but I do block off a chunk of time to manage everything from my Life Admin list. For me, lately, I take care of Life Admin on Monday afternoons. Once a week is proving to be an appropriate frequency to tackle everything that surfaces.
However, I expect my Life Admin schedule will shift and change. Particularly in the first month of a new school year, I might need to schedule Life Admin twice a week. But in the summer, Life Admin slows and I might only need to address new tasks every other week. The point is, I protect time to give my full focus to these tasks, and they seem to fly by and not clog up the rest of my week.
Protecting our time and working with intention is one way we can create space and prevent our days from being at the beck and call of every request as it happens. Our approach becomes, “Yes, I will definitely give that task my attention, and I will do so when it works for me.” This mindset allows you to act responsibly as you manage your life, but to do so while steering your own ship, so to speak. As an added bonus, when we devote time to focusing on one kind of task at a time, we are actually far more productive and work more efficiently than if we took the popcorn approach and tackled the tasks all throughout the week.
I hope this idea helps form how you think of managing all the details of your life!