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      We need PAs for ourselves to get stuff done, says research

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      Two thirds of adults admit to getting a sense of achievement, fulfilment and calm – from completing some simple life admin.

      A study of 2,000 adults found a lack of time and forgetfulness means 34 per cent hardly ever get around to completing household tasks such as personal banking, accounting and sorting the bills.

      Others blamed their struggle to get through life admin on being too tired (22 per cent), work getting in the way (13 per cent) and not knowing where to start (13 per cent).

      As a result, when they do finally manage to get something done, 31 per cent admitted to feeling a sense of achievement, while 16 per cent even feel fulfilled.

      More than one in 10 also say it leaves them feeling less anxious to know that a long-held job on their to-do list can finally be ticked off.

      As a result of the findings, TV platform Freeview worked with productivity coach Juliet Landau-Pope to put together a list of tips on how to complete outstanding admin tasks.

      These include giving yourself a deadline, writing a list and listening to your body clock to make sure you are tackling life admin at your most productive time of day.

      But as a PA you know this, of course.

      The study also found cleaning and doing household chores are among the most hated life admin tasks, with making new applications and exercise also featuring.

      One in 10 try to avoid changing service providers or looking for a better deal while eight per cent put off reviewing their bills, payments and subscriptions to make sure they aren’t paying too much.

      It also emerged young adults are less likely to keep on top of this, with 16-24 year-olds waiting an average of almost five weeks before cancelling an unused subscription.

      But 45-54 year-olds do this within four weeks.

      Top 5 barriers stopping Brits from keeping on top of life admin
      1. Too tired (22 per cent)
      2. Tend to forget (20 per cent)
      3. Perceived lack of time (17 per cent)
      4. Long working hours (13 per cent)
      5. Don’t know where to start (13 per cent)

      Top life admin tasks Brits are most likely to avoid
      1. Cleaning and housework (10 per cent)
      2. Changing service providers and looking for a better deal (10 per cent)
      3. Reassessing outgoings, bills and subscriptions (eight per cent)
      4. Ad-hoc applications (seven per cent)
      5. Exercise (seven per cent)

      Juliet Landau-Pope’s tips for tacking life admin:

      1. Be accountable
      One of the best ways to motivate yourself to get life admin done, especially when you’re working from home, is to make yourself accountable to someone else. Committing to a deadline and sharing that promise can help you to overcome procrastination.

      2. Change views
      Working from home and staying on top of your life admin can be particularly difficult when you’re trying to do both in the same location. If you don’t have a separate home office, you’re likely to be using the same desk or kitchen table. It might seem impossible to differentiate between roles, but one solution is to sit in a different place so that you vary the view of the room. Another option might be to listen to music while you’re dealing with personal admin but turn it off while you’re working.

      3. Bullet point and prioritise
      Whether you’re a pen-and-pencil person or an app aficionado, nothing beats the sense of overwhelm than making a list. Write down all the things that you’d like to accomplish while you’re stuck at home. Be realistic and prioritise projects that you can manage on your own or with help available.

      4. Divide and conquer
      Piles of paperwork cluttering up desks, surfaces or even floors is daunting. Now’s a great opportunity to regain control. The best approach is to divide and rule, or rather sift and sort into three categories: keep, recycle and shred. Then tackle the papers that you’re keeping, dividing them into sub-categories such as stuff to read or file.

      5. Digital decluttering
      If your inbox is jam-packed with irrelevant emails, newsletters and other forms of electronic junk, dedicate time to a digital declutter. Instead of scrolling through emails in the order received, try changing the settings to sort by sender. Then you can easily delete entire conversations or mailings from specific companies.

      6. Listen to your body clock
      We all suffer from dips in energy at certain stages of the day; neuroscience explains this as circadian rhythms, levels of wakefulness that rise and fall during each 24-hour period. That’s why it’s so important to understand your own body clock and to know when you’re likely to be most (or least) productive. Instead of waiting till the end of a busy day to renew your car insurance or fill in a loan application, it might be better for you to set an alarm and wake up an hour earlier in order to deal with your admin.

      7. Schedule appointments with yourself
      When you’ve found the right time of day for you, planning can make all the difference. Rather than waiting for a day when you might feel like completing life admin (which may never come), schedule a date and time in your diary or calendar and hold yourself to it.

      8. Stop the clock
      Tasks such as opening post or paying household bills can sometimes feel tiresome and tedious. One solution is to set a timer – on your phone or laptop, perhaps – and see how much you can accomplish within 15 minutes. You’ll be surprised how many envelopes you can open or how many bills you can deal with when you’re up against the clock. Firstly, you’re less likely to feel bored if you know the session is limited. And secondly, it enables you to compete against yourself.

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      AUTHOR

      Stuart O'Brien

      All stories by: Stuart O'Brien