We often talk about decluttering, spring cleaning and all the benefits we feel once we’ve actually knuckled down and done it! This got me thinking about the value of decluttering your admin – whether you work from home, work for yourself or someone else, there is always a pile of admin to do.

The truth is that wherever things can accumulate, they will. Emails pile up, clutter piles up, read later list piles up, small admin tasks build up and then it starts to feel overwhelming and unmanageable.

It’s a bit like your garden and your house. If you don’t tend to them, your garden becomes overgrown, your house becomes cluttered and then we feel out of control, even depressed. We then decide to block out some time and work on getting things clear, getting things sorted out and feel back in control.

And so, we must tend to our admin in the same way.

The thing is with admin is if you attack it in small bite size chunks ‑ by setting aside small blocks of time each day/every other day ‑ it doesn’t become overwhelming.

 Here are my top tips for decluttering your admin:
  • Schedule in some space at the end of each day to clear out your email inbox or unread messages.
  • One day every week read through your “must read-later list” and re-prioritise. Anything that you know you won’t get around to reading or isn’t a priority bin or file.
  • Schedule a chunk of time to get to all the small admin tasks that pile up – if needs be, a couple of chunks, but dedicate that time to clearing the pile!
  • Find a time at the weekend for taking care of small chores and repairs that you didn’t have time to do during the week. I often suggest to clients that once a month they allocate some time at a weekend to get jobs done. Don’t organise any other activities and that way it clears the diary for other weekends.
  • On a Sunday evening, spend 30 minutes making sure all the piles are cleared, your ‘to do’ and project lists are updated, and everything is in order.

Some weeks/months there will be less to do than others. The key is consistency and actually scheduling the time to start decluttering your admin. They don’t have to take long — an hour, sometimes less. Some things take a few hours.

We are all aware that we pack our days with tasks, meetings, calls, and other things so much that we don’t leave space for tending to our lives. And when we do have some space, we tend to fill it with our favourite distractions. Keeping on top of these tasks regularly will give you more space.

See it as clearing out the weeds, taking care of things just as you would your garden.

The mental health that results from tending to our lives, clearing out piles, and cleaning up messes is incredibly rewarding and replenishing once we get our heads around it and make the time to do it.