Life Admin Life Hacks
About the podcast Life Admin Life Hacks
Tools, techniques and tips to tackle your life admin with efficiency. Dinah Rowe-Roberts and Mia Northrop introduce ways to save you time and money, create peace of mind and restore harmony in your household.
Organising your digital photos
If you’re looking for the motivation, apps, and process to get your digital photos sorted once and for all, this ep where we interview Carly Michael is for you. About Carly Michael Carly Michael has spent her whole life surrounded by photos having grown up in her family's camera store - Michaels Camera Video and Digital in Melbourne's CBD. When covid hit, the family decided to close the store so she took the opportunity to become a professional photo organiser - something she had developed a passion for during her time managing the family's photo lab. She now spends her days organising both physical and digital photos, helping people get back in control of their photo mess! Digital photos made the top five life admin pain points in our 2021 community survey and while Dinah has had her photos sorted for some time until we recorded this ep Mia felt like there would never be enough time or motivation in the world for her to get her photos into a format that other people can actually access and enjoy. After the interview Mia downloaded the apps suggested, they did their magic, and her photos are finally organised. Carly starts the interview by talking about her background and how she became interested in the digital dark age. The digital dark age is a concern that, as technology advances, we will lose access to photos and other data as our current media (including hard drives and USBs) are not designed to last. Mia and Carly discuss how setting yourself a deadline and having a photo project as a goal will give you the motivation Carly discussed the key characteristics of an organised photosystem being: organised - chronologically is the easiest centralised accessible - ideally on your phone backed up (consider the 3-2-1 system - 3 copies of your photos, stored in 2 locations with 1 of those being off site) Carly discusses the risks around cloud storage (eg Google's recent change to its terms and conditions that states If you're inactive for two years Google may delete the content. She also discusses the importance of distinguishing between a back-up and a sync. The key steps to get your photos organised are: Gather - Make a list of all your photos (including on devices and in the cloud)and gather them into one physical location Centralise - Put all your digital photos into a central hub - ideally using a hard drive. If you have issues extracting photos consider using Dropbox. It is also useful as a backup Back Up - Carly recommends using BackBlaze Deduplicate - Get rid of duplicates - Carly recommends using Photosweeper for a Mac and Duplicate Cleaner Pro for a PC Organise your photos (folderise them) - Carly recommends using Big Mean Folder Machine for Macs and Photomove for PC. If you run into issues with dates you can use Adobe Bridge to assist with finding the original dates Maintain - consider using dropbox to make a backup of your photos from your phone (not a sync) until you reorganise them. Then create a habit (perhaps by pairing with another regular task) to make sure you oragnise your folders on a regular basis. Also consider changing your behaviour to curate your collection as you go. Adopt the same mindset as you had when you took photos with film. Carly also discusses scanning hardcopy photos - noting that if you are going to scan photos you want to scan once and to the quality you want. You can scan photos using your phone with apps such as photomyne, however, the quality will be limited. She notes that if you are going to scan you want to organise as you scan. Carly also recommends changing your photo setting on your iPhone from HEIC to JPG and not using the Live feature. RESOURCES PhotoGenie - Digital Reset Service Back Blaze - Backup service Photosweeper - to deduplicate photos on a Mac Duplicate Cleaner Pro - to deduplicate photos on a PC Big Mean Photo Machine - to organise photos on a Mac Photomove - to organise photos on a PC Adobe Bridge Dropbox Camera upload Photomyne - app to scan photos from your phone SHARE Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.
Define it to refine it
It is important to have a mental model of what life admin is in order to be able to approach it in a more systematic way Mia and Dinah start the episode by discussing how: for most people, life admin is a blurry amorphous bundle of tasks - and with no mental model of the different categories and types of tasks is can be difficult to approach or share the tasks in a systematic way their definition of Life admin - that it is not housework or parenting but it often overlaps; housework is defined as cooking, cleaning and laundry, parenting is about child-rearing and supports the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of your child; life admin is the third piece of the domestic labour puzzle - it includes the scheduling, booking, shopping, paperwork, and planning that often facilitates housework and parenting tasks, but also has its own areas of responsibility. life admin is often conflated with housework and parenting and that can be problematic because it can become hidden which is a big issue as life admin generates a significant portion of the mental load life admin often gets more complex and time-consuming at the precise time you have less time to manage it - particularly having children generates a significant amount of life admin their recent survey of more than 300 Australians revealed that the average Australian does almost 500 life admin tasks each year parents grapple with 33% more life admin tasks than households without dependents 37% of people do life admin tasks for a parent or adult relative most people think the reason their life admin is out of control is their lack of motivation and/or time - but usually, the problem is not having the know-how or system and/or the lack of a scheduled time to do life admin They discuss the cost of not having your life admin in control including: spending more time than is necessary on it wasting money - it has been estimated that Australians are paying more than $11 billion in ‘loyalty tax’ by not shopping around. cognitive load - stress, anxiety, overwhelm - worrying, scared of forgetting, monkey mind, brain chatter. relationship friction - their survey showed that life admin causes friction in 85% of two-parent households Mia and Dinah describe their framework for life admin: that there are two types of life admin - everyday life admin that occurs cyclically or seasonally and event-based life admin (eg getting married) that there are four categories of life admin and that these can help you prioritise and determine how you will share them in your household household operations eg meal planning, decluttering, paying bills personal affairs such as tax, super, other investments wills and health checks comparison shopping for plans and policies leisure and social planning eg holidays, Xmas, social life, kids extracurricular think about life admin tasks by how much time is required to get them done - Hour of Power - recurring slot in the schedule for chunky life admin tasks 2 Minutes Too Easy - tasks to complete as they arise 10 Minute Time Killer - tasks to complete in idle time - include them in a to-do list SHARE Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.
Essential digital life admin tools
It's hard to keep up with best practices for technology and the latest apps, so in this episode we chat to expert Lynette Coulston to get her tips on essential digital life admin tools. About Lynette Coulston Lynette Coulston had a 30+ year career in software development and IT but in 2012 she left that all behind to create iTandCoffee, a business focussed on offering technology support and education to residents of her local area, through relaxed, social gatherings and individualised support - where technology topics could be discussed and explained in a friendly, understanding environment, over a cuppa! Over the years this has extended to include support and training for those in small business, for parents struggling to manage the family’s technology, for those returning to the workforce or study, and for those who just want to better understand how their technology can help them manage their day-to-day life. This episode is full of practical tips and recommendations including: the importance of having a digital filing system and understanding where your files are saved - this is important to teach kids too! using inbuilt functionality on your computer (eg Time Machine for a Mac) to make sure you backup your files using apps like Reminders to remind you of important life admin tasks making the most of Voice Assistants to add reminders on the go (Siri or Google Assistant) selecting a calendar app that works best for you - Lynette uses Fantastical and WeekCal when you are helping others with their technology ask them to read to you what they see on the screen or use the share screen feature in programs like Zoom setting up parental controls like Screen Time before you give children a device setting up a home router that can restrict internet access for each device to supplement parental controls making sure you have good scanning apps on your phone to scan straighten, crop, clarify documents - Lynette recommends Scannable, Office Lens, Adobe Fill & Sign and Photomyne making sure you have strong and different passwords to reduce the risk of phishing, Lynette recommends using a password manager (Last Pass, One Password, Dashlane) or a secure note. We also discuss the curve of forgetting and how people can become easily frustrated when trying to use technology, particularly when they compare themselves to others. Lynette discusses the curve of forgetting and that it will be difficult to retain how to use technology unless you use it on a regular basis. RESOURCES IT and Coffee - Lynette’s support and training business Time Machine - for backing up Apple computers Siri Voice Assistant Reminders App Fantastical Calendar App WeekCal - iPhone App Setting up screentime on an iPad/iPhone Parental control routers Scanning Apps - Scannable by Evernote, Office lens, Photomyne photo scanning app, Adobe - Fill and sign Have I been pwned? - check you credentials for data breaches Password Managers - Last Pass, One Password, Dashlane The curve of forgetting - how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it. Episode 2 Going paperless - cloud storage Episode 4 - Mastering To Do Lists Episode 3 Managing passwords and form filling data SHARE Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.
Daycare and school transitions
This episode explores why transitions can be stressful, the key tools and processes you need to have humming to support daycare and school admin, and Mia and Dinah's top hacks for saving time, money and sharing the load. Mia and Dinah reveal that in a survey they conducted earlier this year, one in three respondents reported that their child starting at daycare or school generated a significant amount of life admin. Mia discusses how transitions, particularly when starting at a new daycare or school, can be hard for both parents and kids because we are letting go of the familiar and need to adjust to new ways, people and routines. We are hard-wired to resist change and it can trigger a stress response. There can be a sense of loss of what was, wishing things could stay the same and perhaps some fear and anxiety about what’s to come. Transitions are also an opportunity to lean on our strengths, reach a new equilibrium and bring a sense of renewal and growth. We can let go of old beliefs and assumptions with excitement and enthusiasm. Given the potential emotion of the transition to a new daycare or school, ensuring your life admin is sorted is a tangible way you can make the change easier and reduce the stress for everyone. Dinah discusses the key foundational life admin systems to have in place to make the transition easier: Have one central dedicated shared document or checklist for you and your partner to store all the information, to-dos or discussion points with your partner and child. It's important to get all that detail out of your head to reduce your mental load. Set up a folder in your cloud storage to file all documents related to the daycare or school when you enrol, so that you can file as you go, making filing a Two Minutes Too Easy task Use a shared life admin email address so all school communication can go there, and agree on a system for sharing the management of this inbox with your partner. Ensure your password manager is installed across all your devices, so you can easily store the multiple passwords needed for school portals, uniform and book ordering etc. Add frequently used form filling data to your password manager once so you can speed up the process of the endless form-filling. Set up informal communication networks like a WhatsApp group with other parents. Plan any traditions that are important to you (eg photo on the first day) so that you don't forget and it is calm and intentional, rather than rushed and last minute. Consider the costs of a new school, such as fees, uniforms, books, technology, excursions and camps, so you can budget in advance and plan ahead if you prefer to buy second hand. Mia talks about morning and evening routines, considering which things will change and what will stay the same. Some continuity is reassuring. You can preview what the new routine will look like by replicating the new schedule ahead of time as practice. In terms of daycare transitions, particular life admin tasks to consider are: putting your child on the waiting list which may be more than one year in advance filling in enrolment forms including information about your child’s wellbeing such as sleeping patterns, emotional and social preferences, family circumstances and comfort items proof of immunisation status - download a PDF from MyGov and consult GP if need catch -up vaccinations procuring a second copy of your child’s comfort item in case it gets misplaced at daycare applying for child care benefits via Centrelink getting a Working with Children Check if you want to volunteer or spend time in the daycare dress code & wardrobe - you might need to do some shopping adding the new schedule and any key dates like centre closures to your family calendar including orientation dates adding everyone who might potentially collect your child as authorised contacts borrowing or buying picture books about the transition to share with your child ahead of time ordering personalised labels and labelling belongings creating a checklist for what needs to be packed in the daycare bag adding passwords for sign-in apps and parent portals to your password manager. In terms of primary school transitions, make time for life admin tasks such as: selecting the school based on what is important to you having all the paperwork you need for the enrolment form fostering friendships with children going to the same school planning for daily lunchboxes (particularly if your daycare has provided food), Mia created a lunchbox matrix, Dinah made lunches the night before practice how long it takes to get to school: walking/biking/driving beforehand consider making time to explore the school grounds and showing your child the options of where they will be collected and where after school care is held get feedback from your informal networks of other parents about what uniform items are actually essential and how strict the school is about uniform compliance explore what the second-hand uniform options are so you know where to buy and sell make sure you have two sun hats (a spare) as this is usually a compulsory item to play outisde during sunny school terms consider having your surname only on any personalised name labels you order, so all your children can use the same labels buy school shoes in advance so you can get the style/size you want and there is enough time to wear them in. In terms of secondary school transitions, prioritise these life admin tasks: you need to enrol by April/May of the final year of primary school or many years in advance for independent schools with longer waiting lists start planning for the new transport arrangements - consider scheduling in some practive runs ahead of time consider how homework will work - where they will do homework and what their afternoons will look like if there are more pieces of uniform, work with your child to set up a system so they can remember what uniform items to take on which days consider having an adult at home in the afternoons for the first few weeks of high school to check in with your child allow time to assist them with their technology set up and help them safely store their passwords consider when you will give your child a mobile phone - this might be something you want to do several months in advance find out the options for school canteen and cafes - they might need a debit card or an account to purchase items. RESOURCES Episode 4 - Mastering To-Do Lists Episode 3 Managing passwords and form filling data Episode 2 Going paperless - cloud storage Episode 52 - An Hour of Power and the Monthly Momentum Meeting - Two Minutes Too Easy Task Raising Children - Starting Childcare Raising Children - Choosing, Starting or Moving Schools Raising Children - Starting Secondary School SHARE Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.
Tina Paterson on burnout and sharing the mental load
In this episode, we interview Tina Paterson, remote working and productivity expert, about burnout and how to avoid the ultimate level of exhaustion. About Tina Paterson Tina Paterson has worked across nine industries and 12 countries over the past 20+ years. She has led large departments, governed billions of dollars of assets and her teams have delivered Transformation Programs and Projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. She has achieved all this while raising two kids with her husband James, running marathons, raising a million dollars for charity and taking 3-month sabbaticals every 5 years with her family. Following her own story of burnout (where she ended up in the local Emergency Department due to being at work with pneumonia), she now partners with large organisations to help their leaders embed the strategies she has learned, lives and breathes. What we talk about During the interview, we chat about: what burnout is - a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress Tina’s story of burnout and how it slowly crept up on her that people often abandon their self-care right at the time they need it the most how Tina’s burnout was the impetus to do things differently that the mental load of parenting and household management contributed to her burnout that reducing the number of decisions she has to make is an important contributor to relieving the mental load how she relies on friends to make recommendations about what to buy to save herself the time to do the research that 'being busy' is not a badge of honour that doing a time audit of your 168 hours per week can help you consciously see what you are spending time on and how you can swap your hours to activities more in line with what is important to you that it’s common to get out of touch with what’s actually fun for you setting up your environment to make the things you enjoy easier to do how Tina shares the load with her husband and kids - by having a regular family meeting and agreeing who owns what and ensuring end to end accountability how watching Teenage Boss inspired Tina and her husband to put their kids in control of the family budget for a month to provide a real lesson in the value of money how she has a chart to help navigate what fruit and vegetables her kids enjoy to simplify family dinnertime. RESOURCES Tina Paterson’s website Tina Paterson on LinkedIn Time to Breathe : Navigating Life and Work for Energy, Success and Happiness, Dr Bill Micthell 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Laura Vanderkam Teenage Boss Money Brilliant App SHARE Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.
Michael Grose on upskilling your kids to contribute
We chatted with parenting expert Michael Grose about how we can get our kids to contribute more, relieve the life admin burden and grow up to be efficient at their own life admin. Michael Grose, the founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators, informing and inspiring audiences in Australia and around the world for more than 20 years. Micheal is a former primary school teacher with 15 years of experience. He holds a Master of Educational Studies specialising in parenting education and is the father of three children He is a bestselling author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, Thriving!, Anxious Kids and his latest re-release Why First Borns Rule the World and Later Borns Want to Change It. Michael has had parenting segments on The Project, The Today Show, Weekend Sunrise, ABC radio and more. He has contributed to Huff Post, Kidspot and Mamamia, and is a former columnist with both News Ltd and Fairfax newspapers. What we talk about Our recent survey of over 300 Australians revealed that parents do 33% more life admin than those without kids, and they are twice as likely to struggle for time. During the interview, we chat with Michael about: how parents often underestimate what their kids can do by up to three years that we should never regularly do for our kids what they are capable of doing for themselves that kids want more autonomy and independence that as family sizes have shrunk we know more about each of our children, and so we give them less space to become more independent being aware of developing independence and providing small opportunities for kids to feel and be useful starting where your kids are at and pushing them along over time developing a 'junior version of the game' (eg like Auskick for AFL) for life admin and housework and setting the standards based on their age and stage that we need to not rescue kids so they can learn from their experience accepting what kids do as a reasonable standard if they have tried their best that pocket money is a great way to increase autonomy and independence and you can start from age 5 deciding what your benchmark will be in your family for handing over responsibility for a task (eg when they make their own lunch) thinking about sharing the 'jobs and the joy' and wealth within your family using a roster to allocate chores to create the sense that the roster is creating the “ask” rather than the parents when kids start asking for more independence we can look at ways that we can make it happen by giving them the skills they need to do at least part of the task pets are great to teach kids what it is like to have someone else reliant on them thinking less about the amount of time that kids are spending on screens and more on what they are consuming and what the opportunity cost is (what else could they be doing) teenagers need parents who will challenge them that gender and birth order can create different expectations girls are often more organised at a younger age and boys may need more coaching, due to the way the brain develops differently between the genders firstborns tend to be more detail-orientated and introverted there are three aspects to consider when parenting - a child's genetics & temperament, birth order and the family frame that sets the landscape for everything else. Resources Parenting Ideas website Michael’s books Dr Kristy Goodwin - Michael Grose's collaborator and colleague Share Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions with us.
050: State of the administration
Get up to speed with the good, bad and ugly state of Mia and Dinah's life admin. Since Mia and Dinah have been writing their Life Admin Life Hacks book they have optimised their life admin processes even further. In this episode they bring you up to speed on their life admin systems with a focus on the foundational tools: password manager, cloud storage and dedicated email, scheduling, lists and budgeting. A password manager is an essential foundation for life admin. Dinah has continued to use Last Pass Families and Mia uses Keeper. They recommend: if you don’t have a password manager you should start a free trial if you need some help setting up your password manager you can watch YouTube videos to step you through the process. installing a Chrome browser extension on your computer to make it much easier to access passwords on your PC or Mac and allow auto-filling of login details all important documents (eg copies of passports and Medicare Cards) are uploaded to your password manager, given its high security and encryption setting up a legacy contact in your password manager so that if you become incapicated or die your passwords can be accessed to manage your digital estate. The second foundational life admin tool is having cloud storage and a dedicated life admin email. Mia and Dinah both continue to use Google Drive. They recommend: a separate dedicated email for life admin to keep life admin in a separate, defined space and to more easily share the load with your partner or coparent if you have had a cloud storage setup for some time it might be time for a digital declutter to get rid of anything no longer required. trying different mail apps on your phone to make it easier to save things into your cloud storage - Dinah uses the Gmail app to make it seamless to save files into her life admin Google Drive. Another foundational life admin element is a shared digital calendar and scheduling. Mia and Dinah both use Google Calendar but Dinah uses the Outlook app on her phone to make it easier to view her work and family calendar together. Mia loves lists! She uses: the iPhone Reminder app for her to-do lists the iPhone Notes app for reference Llsts including her meal plan and shopping list to-do lists that are categorised by the duration of the task: “Ten Minute Time Killer” tasks and “Hour of Power” for more complex tasks Dinah also uses the Reminders app as she can easily share the lists with her husband and use Siri to easily add to the lists on the go. Budgeting is the final element of the life admin system and is essential given its links to comparison shopping for household bills. Mia uses the Money Brilliant app while Dinah uses defined bank accounts to help live within her targeted savings goals. There have been quite a number of changes to other areas of life since the various episodes were recorded. These include: Home loans - lowest interest rates since the 1970s - make sure you compare the rate you’re paying against the average interest rate on Moneysmart.gov.au. If your rate looks high at a minimum, call your bank and ask whether they can offer you something more competitive. If you want to invest more time and reap more savings then call a mortgage broker. Energy - always on comparison services are now possible such as Energy Umpire. Most contracts no longer have exit fees and so shopping around each year is critical to get a good deal Internet - the NBN rollout is now complete and contracts have reduced in time to 6 months. There are 35 providers to choose from and you can probably get a better deal if you have been with your ISP for a while Mobile phones - this market has changed considerably with 5G now rolling out. It is now generally cheaper to shop around and buy a handset on sale, and then sign up with a SIM-only contract. If you are now working from home more, you may no longer need as much data so you might be able to downgrade to get a better deal. RESOURCES Last Pass - Dinah’s password manager Keeper - Mia’s password manager Episode 3 Managing passwords and form filling data Episode 44 - Planning your digital estate Episode 5 - Scheduling the Inevitable, the Inspirational and an Hour of Power Episode 4 - Mastering To Do Lists Episode 25 - Embracing Budgeting Money Brilliant App Money Smart - Home Loan average rate Energy Umpire SHARE Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook or Insta pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.
About the podcast Life Admin Life Hacks
Tools, techniques and tips to tackle your life admin with efficiency. Dinah Rowe-Roberts and Mia Northrop introduce ways to save you time and money, create peace of mind and restore harmony in your household.