Life admin. How to do it better and stop limiting your life.
It’s fair to say, especially in a week where we will lose an hour to daylight saving, that most of us would like to be more organised in a bid to save time and use our time more wisely. But if you’re not ready for a radical decluttering, or picking up everything in your home to see if it ‘sparks joy’, take heart—being organised is not the same as being minimalist.
Organised people do have stuff (sometimes lots of it) but they also have systems in place so that they don’t run out of clean undies, accumulate piles of paperwork and life admin on every flat surface, or lose hundreds of biros to a vortex of chaos. In this piece, we explore what we’ve found to be the biggest barriers to an organised life, and share our top tips to overcome them.
Barrier #1 – indecision
The accumulation of unwanted clutter is mostly down to indecision. If you tend to put your life admin paperwork on an ‘I’ll deal with that later pile’ on top of the microwave and sling your worn-once work trousers over a chair with all the other clothes you’ve worn once, this applies to you.
How to overcome it
Go binary and decide to keep or bin at the point of potential mess.
With admin paperwork, you’re safe to shred everything except legal originals like passports and birth certificates. Seriously. Warranties, P60s, invoices – all these can be snapped, uploaded to Lifefyle and then shredded. They’re safe, organised and available online whenever you might need to revisit them. Still not sure? Read our recent tips on “How to Spring Clean your Paperwork” for more detail.
With clothing, just put it in the laundry basket or back in the wardrobe as soon as you take it off, and you won’t need to play clothes Jenga with the worn-once pile every morning before work (yep, us too).
Barrier #2 - you don’t have things in the right place
It’s not that you’re too lazy to keep your house in order, it’s that you’re not lazy enough to have streamlined everything into a minimal effort process. Feeling that something is too much effort tells you that your systems aren’t working. When your house starts feeling oppressively messy, it’s time to rearrange things so you’re using your space with the least possible effort.
How to overcome it
Identify where you’re most likely to check your post and put a shredder there. This way, you can immediately shred your life admin documents as soon as you’ve captured the important stuff in Lifefyle from the phone in your pocket. A shredder, not a bin – you won’t empty a bin if it’s full of paperwork you need to take upstairs to your box-room-come-study to shred.
Most of us tend to keep hairbrushes in bedrooms then find that kids’ plaits and ponytails happen in a cantankerous hurry just before leaving for school. Keep baskets, trays or bags near the front door for hairbands, brushes, sunscreen, lip salve – anything that you always seem to need last minute.
Try to store things so that they’re easily accessible. If you have to extract the ironing board from behind the pile of shopping bags and shoes, you won’t feel like putting it away when you’ve finished, or even getting it out to start with.
Vertical storage is key where floor space is tight, so use hooks and shelves to make your wall space and the back of your doors work hard.
Keeping things off the floor has the added bonus of making it less of an effort to actually clean said floor too.
Barrier #3 - you make your jobs too big
Some household and life admin tasks are frankly so thankless that it’s all too tempting to keep putting them off. We all know though, that the longer we leave them, the bigger they get and the lower our heart sinks at the thought of tackling them. Ironing pile needs planning permission? Kitchen bin greets guests before you do? That Will conversation that makes you feel a bit queasy every time you think about starting it? Uh-huh—we’ve been there.
How to overcome it
Make tiresome jobs smaller but more frequent and they won’t feel like such a drag.
It may sound counterintuitive but try replacing your 80L kitchen bin and giant laundry basket with something much smaller. Emptying a small bin every other day feels like much less of a chore than wrestling a vast bag of festering rubbish out of the bin once a week. Putting a load of washing on everyday means that you won’t dread spending the weekend hanging out damp clothes.
Keep a bottle of spray cleaner on hand in the kitchen and each bathroom – frequent quick wipe-downs of cleanish surfaces feel less onerous than tackling a week’s worth of grease and soap scum all in one go. If you have a cleaner, hand over the tasks that you never seem to get around to (oven, fridge, cupboards and shelves) and keep on top of the easier, everyday tasks yourself.
With life admin, break the big tasks down into smaller shorter actions and pop them into your Lifefyle To Do list. You’ll get the satisfaction of ticking something off the list so much more frequently, and each little task is a step towards your goal.
Most importantly – delegate where you can!
It’s too easy to just take everything on yourself but it’s healthy for your kids to get used to doing some chores. And take a step back to think about whether you and your partner are genuinely, fairly sharing the load too.
Communication is key here: does your partner actually know the jobs you despise doing, and vice versa?
Chances are, something that really bothers you may not be a problem for them. Lifefyle Premium members can assign each other tasks via the shared To-Do list so you don’t need to nag, or worry about whether your partner will forget something, it will all be there, online, for you both to see and reminders will come and give you a gentle nudge when something needs either of your attention.
There’s no limit to what you can put on your Lifefyle To-Do list, so use it in a way that works for you and your life admin.
Get started today, it’s one small task that will take just a minute or two. One small task that your future, more organised, self will thank you for.