How to admin

I hate admin, but love getting it done fast and productively so that I can do the rest of the things that I want to do in my life. Let me share some of my admin-go-getting pearls of wisdom with you lovely folks.

Firstly, don’t let admin stuffs get you down – there will always be admin stuffs to be done. The floor will get dirty, even right after you wash it, you’ll keep on eating and therefore creating more dishes to wash, you’ll wear clothes that need washing, you need food that needs buying, you’ll always be using, finishing, emptying stuff. And you’ll always be breaking stuff – cars, gas-lifts, mugs, computers. Admin is part of life – so let’s embrace it.

Secondly, make a list of things that need to be done – an action list. Write down what needs to be done, where, with who, how and with what. Write it down as you think of it, and not all in one go. And then forget about it until the appointed time. If it will take longer to write it down than to do it, then just do it – unless you’re at work and what needs to be done is at home – or something like that. If it’s a quick phone call then do it now! Then set a date where you can just rock your list – this is your appointed time. It may be a Saturday or a Thursday afternoon, or any other day or afternoon that suits your preference. Then plan what you need in order to make all the things happen – get what you need, get who you need, prioritize the list, set things up so that they flow, do things that must be done in daylight during the day, get stuff from the shops while they’re open, get all the stuff from the shops at the same time, while you wait in queues phone people, research things, tick things off that you’ve completed, re-prioritize. Think on you’re feet – if you couldn’t get something here, could you get it on the way back, or could you phone around to see who has got an idea of how to fix it? This appointed time is for the big things – things that take more than 30 minutes, more than quick phone calls, polite emails, filling out short forms – it’s when you get dirty, sweaty, tired, when you drive to far places, hold-on for hours, walk for kilometres – it’s a glorious get-it-done day. Don’t schedule much else and wear some old clothes. And don’t cry if you don’t get to do it all – just keep it on the big list and schedule your next appointed day.

Thirdly, don’t let it pile up too much, especially the small things – get it done! A little bit everyday is much easier to tackle than that whole monster at the end of the week. What I like to do is to incorporate the have-to’s and non-negotiables, the things we’ve got to do everyday like dishes and plant-watering, into my daily routine – along with eating, sleeping, burping, farting – these things just need to be done. Other things that pop up here and there like flat batteries, flat tires, flat airbeds and the like – actually none of those would pop up if they were flat – should be tackled in 30 minute increments. I like to call these 30 minute sessions admin shots. Don’t get distracted! Phone all the people that you need to, have a pen and paper handy, email them, fill out forms, sign up to things, change your printer cartridges if you know how, take out the meat for dinner, wish someone happy birthday – have Google open to search for stuff, be relentless, do it quick and then get back to what you were doing before or start doing what you want to do after that. It can’t all be done in a day – so don’t try to do it all in a day – just get nearer the target in these 30 minute shots.

Fourthly, don’t spend your life doing admin – get over some things, tell others to do some things, wait for the appointed day for others – some admin things are quick, but many minutes can add up to hours and even days – and then you’re dead, feel like you’ve done nothing cool, done nothing creative, haven’t relaxed, haven’t spoken to anyone – admin is apart of life but it is not life. Put your life first and remember that it’s okay that you don’t finish your list everyday – just make sure that the last thing on your list doesn’t stay at the bottom and never get’s done.

And then some general pointers : Make a note of it before you need it! Put it on the grocery list when it’s almost empty, not when you’re looking for some vanilla essence to make your brownies and there is none. Keep lists, but not too many. Keep lists that others can add to when they think about it – nothing worse than asking someone if there’s anything that they need you to do and they shake their head, and then when you’re about to fall asleep or when you’re watching the game on the telly there’s a “Can you please fix the door?” And that goes for yourself too – write stuff down when you think of it. Don’t mix admin and internet surfing – you’ll get no admin done, nothing really productive done and then still have admin to do and you’ll feel like you’ve wasted your life for a little bit. Focus! Get it done.

Got any more tips and hints? Write a comment below.