As a busy mom, having a weekly review admin day makes everything you do so much easier. Learn how to design your own admin day and make a weekly review part of your regular routine.
Do you have a lot of items on your to-do list that you need to take care of?
One solution is to have an “Admin Day.”
On your Admin Day you set aside time to tend to your to-dos so you can set your mind at ease.
It's also a time for you to do some forward planning to make your life easier in the months ahead.
Here's how to do it:
How to Do a Personal Admin Day
- Set aside a day of the week when you know you can set aside a couple of hours for focused work. If this is laughable to you, do this work while your kids are sleeping (early morning or evenings are probably best).
- Make a checklist for all of the things you want to tend to during your Admin Day. I made my checklist in Asana so I can pull it up every week. Sometimes, when I check off items on the to-do list a unicorn flies across the screen. How's that for positive reinforcement?
- Work through your checklist!
Sounds too simple, right?
Read on to learn about what I have on my Admin Day checklist so you can get ideas for making your own.
What Should You Put on Your Admin Day Checklist?
We all have different roles and responsibilities, so everyone's checklist will be unique.
But for the purposes of sparking ideas, I'm sharing my own checklist below, along with some brief explanations.
Many of the tasks on this list come from David Allen's book, Getting Things Done.
In the book he outlines the process for doing a weekly review. I've taken many of the parts of his weekly review and tweaked it to work for me.
As I work, I add things to my digital calendar, note things in my planner, and update my Next Steps List.
Once I've completed my checklist, I schedule time to work on my next steps based on context (at the computer, on the phone, etc.).
- Clear off my desk to make room to work. Set aside work projects (I work from home), so I can focus on personal tasks.
- Gather supplies – a notepad, my planner, my inbox, and a glass of water/coffee next to my computer.
- Do a brain dump if I'm feeling particularly overwhelmed.
- Process my physical inbox. Or, use a Sunday Basket.
- Review calendar to see what's happening this week and in the coming month. Add appointments or reminders to my physical planner.
- Start filling in my weekly plan sheet so I can see everything coming up at a glance.
- Review my list of current projects and plan our next steps.
- Check on my routines checklists. Is there anything that's not happening? Do I need to tweak anything?
- Revisit personal goals. What are some small steps I can take this week to move towards them?
- Meal plan for the week, make grocery list, order groceries for pickup.
- Review my email inbox and folders.
- Look through my GTD (Getting Things Done) folders.
- Review our finances and update our budget.
- Print items in my “To Print” folder on my computer desktop.
- Clean off my computer desktop
- Make plans to chat with a friend at least once in the coming week.
This checklist is always changing and evolving. If I find that I'm doing a task each week that isn't helpful, I delete it from my list.
I recently added meal planning to my checklist. When I do an Admin Day, I'm already set up to plan and think strategically, so doing meal planning seems to require less effort from me if I do it as part of my Admin Day process.
What If I Need Help Creating My Own Checklist?
As I mentioned before, everyone's checklist will be different.
For context, the checklist above is mine, and I'm a working from home while homeschooling elementary school-aged kids.
We are trying to limit our exposure and be safe (it's 2020!), and our family doesn't have a lot of family or friends around who are able to help us with day-to-day things.
As our lives change, our checklists will change along with it to reflect our priorities.
While reading Getting Things Done helped me to understand the idea of a weekly review for an office employee, listening to this class really helped me understand how I could take the principles of GTD and apply them to my life working from home. <– I highly recommend listening to the class (it's free) to help you wrap your mind around how to do manage your to-dos as a busy parent.
What If My Email Inbox Is Out of Control?
If too much email is a struggle, this video training can help you get it under control.
I also set filters in my email, and unsubscribe to unwanted emails – go here to learn how to create filters in Gmail that'll save you a ton of time!
How Do You Do Your Meal Planning?
I keep it easy and use grocery pickup.
Every once in a while we try a new recipe, but we pretty much stick to this easy meal planning method to simplify things.
What Kind of Planner Do You Recommend?
Honestly, I love changing up my planners and trying new things.
But, I always use a combination of Google Calendar and a weekly planning sheet.
How Often Do You Do an Admin Day?
Ideally, once a week is best. If you can set up a consistent time and plan for it, it's more likely to happen.
However, sometimes life happens and you can't make it work. Just pick back up where you left off if you missed a week.
But remember, one of the benefits of doing an Admin Day is that it frees you up from worrying about missing important deadlines, forgetting to pay bills, etc. If you're able to be consistent with doing an Admin Day on a regular basis, you'll stress less about letting things fall through the cracks.