Life Admin (Mental Effects)
Researchers out of Columbia University in New York City have found that one of the “shared anxieties” that people of all different life experiences contend with more often than not in today’s hectic busy world is a fear of inadequate life admin (mental effects).
Life admin can be described as handling the “office work of day-to-day life” – paying bills, organizing appointments, scheduling our days and weeks in advance, managing our time, etc. – and it turns out that most people do not feel that they are doing a good job in this department more often than not.
Thankfully though, there are a couple of different things you can do to dramatically improve and optimize your life administration without having to turn your day-to-day workflow upside down overnight.
No, there are ways to manage stress and anxiety caused by inefficient personal admin pretty quickly and pretty efficiently by just adding a couple of daily or weekly habits to your life that are simple and straightforward.
Let’s dig right in!
What Consists of Life Admin
There are a couple of different things that make up the life admin meaning, but as a general rule anything and everything that could fall under the “administrative side of life” – scheduling, time management, delegation, etc. – would all fall under this umbrella.
These are all the things that every person on the planet has to contend with as they reach adulthood, but also are all of the “invisible inconveniences” that many of us find ourselves woefully unprepared for even if we have tricked ourselves into believing that we were ready to make the leap into adulthood as soon as we hit 18.
These administrative tasks run the gamut from dealing with new technology, purchasing new appliances throughout the home, making daily decisions about what to eat and how to cook it, as well as handling the bigger tasks in life – dating, getting married, moving through the different cycles of a pregnancy and losing loved ones or family members.
All of these tasks have an emotional weight to them that can feel overwhelming at first, particularly since much of this work is (as we highlighted above) “invisible”. These are the kinds of tasks we usually take on as they come at us, never really preparing for these issues but instead sort of absorbing them as they come down the line and we are forced to contend with them.
The Effects on Mental Health When Getting Behind on Bills
It doesn’t take a whole lot to see the impacts of life admin (mental effects) when you look at the amount of stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression that people feel today.
Truth be told, we are dealing with a lot more stress and pressure now than ever before even though we are living in the greatest period of human prosperity and peace that has ever existed. It’s just that we are so overloaded and overwhelmed (large part because of global communication tools that beam the day-to-day lives of billions of others directly into our devices instantaneously).
When you add all the things we have to handle on the administrative side of life into the mix things can really start to go haywire.
One of the biggest life tasks we have to tackle come in the form of the bills we pay each month. Bills alone presents plenty of stress as it is (there aren’t too terribly many people that get eager or excited about opening up bills in the mail), but as soon as you start to slip behind on your financial obligations – which happens to everyone every now and again – things can really start to snowball.
Even just missing a single payment can be enough to put people in a downward spiral. Not only do you have to contend with the financial penalties of a missed payment or a delayed payment, but then you also have to contend with the stress and anxiety of finding extra money to cover those financial obligations (as well as how that behavior may have to affect future bills later down the line).
Keep Track of Due Dates and Renewals
Thankfully, modern bill pay solutions and calendar technology allow us to do a much better job of managing our budgets, managing our due dates, and managing our renewals.
Some of the best organizational stress management techniques specifically designed with life admin (and bill pay in specific) leverage these modern technologies and our smart phones, combining them all into a seamless system that:
- Gives you advance notification and frequent reminders about upcoming bills and their total amounts
- Allows you to automate the actual bill pay process so that you free this mental bandwidth from your mind completely and
- Works to schedule your payments and your bills so that everything is either spread out or concentrated in a short block of time to make managing your finances even easier
Buy a Diary
Personal diaries or journals can be a great way to handle the life administration side of things, too.
Some of the most successful people in the world report that they take time at the end of every day to plan their next day (sometimes in great detail), waking up in the morning feeling energized and refreshed knowing that they have a blueprint to work off of rather than a feeling of just sort of “winging it”.
Not only can your diary or journal work as a scheduler or a planner but it can also be used to jot down ideas you come across throughout the day, inspirational or funny quotes you’ll used to get you through stressful times in the future, or as a “knowledge book” that lets you jot down things you’ve learned, experiences you’ve had, and anything else you want to save to reflect on later.
Write Things Down
In today’s hyper-digital world there’s just something relaxing and calming about sitting down and writing things out by hand, and something even more enjoyable about referring back to your own written words months if not years later and seeing how you’ve changed and grown.
The practice of writing things out my hand has been conclusively proven to activate different areas of your mind as well that are not activated when you are typing things out or reading passively. This is why there’s so much power in handwriting notes, even if you are going to transfer them digitally to some sort of storage solution (on your computer or the cloud) later down the line.
Having to actually write things out, however – whether you write by hand or type it out – clarifies your thinking in a way that is almost impossible to pull off with any other approach. Trying to explain your position or your thoughts to someone through the written word forces you to think and consider your message with every word, sharpening it but also finding the weak spots in your thinking that you’ll have to contend with later down the line, too.
Organize Your Time Effectively
At the end of the day, one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle when it comes to life administration is managing your time more effectively.
And while there are a lot of time management solutions out there promising the moon and the stars when it comes to results you may find it more useful to stop thinking about time management as literally managing your time and instead thinking of it as managing yourself and your behaviors.
This paradigm shift puts the responsibility on your shoulders for better managing the time you have available, but it also gives you full ownership of the decisions that you make and the habits that you embrace – good or bad.
Some have found it to be a much more effective way to organize your time than the more traditional approaches. It may be well worth investigating if you found other time management solutions somewhat lacking.