How many times have you postponed a task only to realise that it took you all of 20 minutes to get it done? How many times have you compromised spending time on your hobbies and goals because you needed to focus on a last-minute task? How many times have you felt the need to do something you value, but never really found that time?
The truth is, all of us are busy. While we want to spend time on things that matter to us, there is just so much to do – work, family and social obligations that never seem to end. We are doing our best, but we may not be sure if what we do is valuable in the long term. One way to get a handle on life is to pause, evaluate everything we do and decide what we should/should not be doing. It’s not about micromanaging every aspect of your life. It’s about balancing the time spent working on things that matter along with other obligations.
So, what can you do?
You could start by spending time every week/month to take care of your Life Admin stuff. You can use this time to be your own assistant and plan your events/appointments for the next month to be a step ahead. Here are some suggestions on what you can do as part of your Life Admin. Let’s assume you want to do this every week.
1. Check-in with yourself
A good starting point would be to reflect on your previous week and write down the highlights. You can describe how you felt through the week, what went well, what could have been better and what you can do about it. You can then think of a goal for the next week – catching up with a friend or journaling every day – whatever is important to you. Think about what matters to you and what you want to focus on in the next few weeks.
2. Set up your schedule
You can use this time to plan your week. I block time for events, reminders and appointments. I plan my day depending on this schedule so that there are no surprises. I set up reminders for bills, birthdays (shopping for gifts), catching up with friends and any other events. I also use this time to set up recurring household chores, check finances and set reminders. I avoid planning too far into the future as priorities change. I review my schedule every month to see if they are working or if you need to change them.
3. Review what you should start/stop doing
It is easy to get inspired by the people around us – in person and on social media. I’m always looking for new ideas that could suit me and I’ve experimented a lot. I’ve started many activities but once the initial excitement wore off, it was not that great. Inspired by Warren Buffet’s strategy of focussing on 5 goals at a time, I reviewed everything I did. I realized that most of them didn’t align with my goals. Instead of stretching yourself thin by focusing on multiple things, pick up 5 goals for a month/year and focus on them. Get rid of everything that is not helping you work towards your goals.
4. Track progress on your goals
Use this time to get feedback on your progress. We start well with our goals. But unless you track how you’re doing and how consistent you are, it’s difficult to understand if you’re moving in the right direction. Some things may not be as exciting as you imagined them to be. You can use this time to decide if it’s worth pursuing or finding something better to do.
5. Update your compliments and gratitude list
When in doubt, all we need is an assurance that things will be fine. When I can’t find people to talk to, I go through my Compliments list. When my day is not going well, scrolling through the list and reading what people have said to me in the past gives me assurance that I’m capable of getting the job done. You can use this time to update your list. I also use this time to write down at least one thing I was grateful for during the week.
The 1 hour I spend every week on planning helps me prioritise the right things to do. A quick glance at the calendar would tell me how hectic or relaxed my week would be and puts me in the right mind space. It eliminates decision fatigue because I can focus on just getting things done one after the other. It removes the element of uncertainty to an extent and puts me in better control of my time. I can spend my days better and relax better instead of feeling guilty that I should be doing something else.
If you’re trying to manage different aspects of your life, I highly recommend this activity for you. Block an hour every week/month to plan your days by balancing your interests, goals and other obligations. Our interests evolve as we grow. It is important to align what we want to do with the current version of ourselves. Take control of your life and make things work for you. Don’t try to find the time, make the time. You owe it to yourself.