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How to find time to sort out life admin when you're already busy with your everyday workload

Steph Panecasio

Finding the time to address general life admin can be hard enough at the best of times, particularly when you're already inundated with work. But it's an important aspect of your day that shouldn't be overlooked.

So how do you manage to get it done without having to squeeze it into your lunch breaks and spare evenings?

Here are three key tricks to ensure you're staying on top of your time — and not falling into the trap of procrastination.

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Tackle it in the little moments

If you've allowed a lot of things to pile up over time, it can seem insurmountable to address them all without setting aside an entire block or day. In reality, the easiest and most practical thing you can do is take it piece by piece throughout your day.

Say you're busy delivering a presentation that you've been working on for a while. A study from Stanford University found that giving successful presentations comes down to factors including being succinct and balanced in your delivery.

Imagine emulating this in your business life, resulting in shorter, sharper presentations that allow you more time to address other tasks.

That's your cue — you may find that due to your performance, you've got availability to sneak away and work on your life admin. Plus, by devoting the same amount of effort to your life admin as your work, the wins and takeaways you derive from your work can also be applied to tasks such as booking appointments, sending off invoices and balancing your time between work and home.

Beyond the fact that finding those sorts of post-meeting moments is less intense than blocking out entire days, it also sets you up for good habits in the future. Updating your Trello board after you've ticked off a task? That's an endorphin rush now, but it's also a developing habit that'll see your to-do list diminish over time as you get on top of it.

Incorporate it into your team goals

The trick is to ensure that life admin becomes ingrained into your work day, treating these duties like they're part of your regular responsibilities — not just to your company, but to yourself.

It could be as simple as clearing your emails for the day before heading home or scheduling ten-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon in order to do a status check.

And it's all the more important if your life administration tasks are financial in nature. You wouldn't let company financials fall by the wayside, so why would you allow your own to?

An easy start to keep things clear is to establish the difference between work expenses, home expenses and any excess savings which could go towards general pleasure.

It doesn't have to take long — you can set up a snap account with CUA in order to save — in less than five minutes if time is a concern — but it could save you a lot of confusion in the long run.

Budget your time as well as your money

If you're time-poor even after making a conscious effort to find those small moments, it may be time to streamline your most common time expenses in order to get on top of your responsibilities.

If you notice you're spending a lot of time answering emails, for example, you might consider listening to a relevant research podcast at the same time in order to maximise your productivity.

It can also be as simple as syncing your phone with your address book, so you can avoid shuffling through the expanse of business cards you've accumulated over the years. Ditch your wallet in the office and just use your phone. Chances are you'll be using it as a hub of productivity anyway, maybe even for payments from your CUA account with Google Pay™, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, so it stands to reason that you'd use it as your central port of call for all things networking.

Don't forget that sometimes streamlining just means actively multitasking. That doesn't mean allocating a million things into the same time slot in the hope that you'll somehow grow seven extra limbs to achieve it all. It just means knowing the breadth of your capability and using its full capacity.

Ultimately, it's important to devote as much time to your own wellbeing and life admin as you do to your work life. It's not just a matter of balance, but a matter of reducing stress and pressure in the long run. And when it comes down to it, that's worth far more than a few minutes each day.