When you’re running a home and working practically every hour, it’s a pleasant surprise to find something that simplifies your life, rather than taking up time and energy that you just don’t have. That’s why I’ve decided to pull together this handy list of online services that have streamlined my ‘life admin’ and I hope that it’ll help you to make some changes and reclaim your free time!I’ve owned my home for almost 18 months now and have lived here just over 12 months. So, I think that’s the perfect time to take stock of the household processes that I’ve been doing and see whether there’s something I can do to make life easier. I mean, who doesn’t want to do fewer chores and have more spare time, eh?
Sure, I’ve rented homes for years and have always managed to pay my bills on time and keep on top of things. But now that I’m self-employed AND paying a mortgage, I want everything from bill-paying to grocery shopping to be as fuss-free as possible. I want to work, rest and play – not have my precious free time taken up with life admin.In fact, I’ve seen a LOT of mentions of life admin on Instagram. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see a post on Instagram Stories about the life admin tasks that need to be done. And quite often, it seems like the quantity of these #LifeAdmin posts increase around the weekend. Yes, we’re all working harder and longer, and now the only free time we’ve got is taken up with administrative tasks. That can’t be good, can it?I want to change all that. There MUST be ways to make life admin much easier and considerably faster. Who wants to spend their Saturday morning filling in forms and making payments? I certainly don’t! So, I’ve come up a list of ways that I’ve already simplified my life and some new series that I’m planning to try out. Here goes…
Argh, bills. Why do we not get more training in bill-paying (and understanding!) at school, eh? The amount of time that it takes me to get through to a call-centre and give them metre readings and discuss tariffs, only for them not to be able to let me know the total cost of my bill and then having to wait for the ‘letter of doom’ to arrive in a week or so. Then I have to arrange to pay it. Argh – so much wasted time.I’ve decided that I need to streamline this process and one way is to make bill paying more convenient so that I can do it whenever I want to. I’ve found an online-only tariff for gas and electricity that I’m thinking of switching to when my current contract is up. It’s called Easy Online and there’s no call-centres, so no more being on hold or pressing the # key to get through to a customer service operator. That doesn’t mean that there’s no customer support when you need them; you can get in touch via live chat, Facebook messenger, text or through the app, and get a reply 24/7, not just during opening hours.I like this feature because I’m usually working during the hours that the call centres are open, and I guess everyone else in the country is also phoning on their lunch break, given the amount of time I’m usually kept on hold in the queue! And the added bonus is that it’s a competitively priced tariff too. Because there’s no call centres or paper bills coming through the post, the tariff has fewer overhead costs associated with running your account, and this saving is passed on to us, hurrah! Plus, it’s paid by direct debit, so you’ll never forget a bill or be late with a payment again, phew!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a lifelong learner. I love to study something new every year and I just can’t get enough of textbooks and educational courses. That said, I don’t really have the time to commit myself to going to a leisure learning course. If I signed up and paid my fees, I KNOW something would come up after a couple of weeks and I’d have to miss a class, therefore wasting the money I’d paid. Not to mention the time it’ll take for me to drive to the nearest town and back, and the hours spent in a classroom.Nonetheless, I want to carry on learning so I’m not going to let a little thing like ‘not having enough time’ stop me. So, I’ve enrolled on a course but, because it’s conducted online, I can complete it at my own pace and from home. No travelling, and no missing classes. I sometimes find myself with an unexpected spare hour and it would be so convenient to be able to pick up the course where I left off and fit it in around my life. I wrote more about the course I’m taking on my blog last week so have a read if you’re interested in doing the same.
Argh, I hate going to the supermarket. It takes hours. The driving, the traffic, the shopping bags, the trolleys, the other people, the queues. And then, you’re back there within a week because you’ve forgotten to buy something, or you’ve already run out of fresh fruit. I find it to be such a waste of time and it was such a revelation to me that when I started shopping online. Now, I admit, I don’t do it all the time and I DO like to use local shops, but for those ‘big shops’ where you’re completely re-stocking your store cupboard with cereals, tins and drinks, you can’t beat online grocery shopping.I even enjoy seeing the van pull up outside my home with the boxes of shopping on-board. It’s like Father Christmas pulling up in his sleigh! Okay, maybe it’s not quite that exciting, but I’m still pretty chuffed with the time and energy I’m saving by shopping online. Admittedly, it takes a while to set up your first order, but once it’s on the website you can easily re-order and add/remove items in the future. As anyone who’s needed to go to a supermarket on a Saturday knows, it’s such a relief not to have to push a heavy trolley down a crowded aisle towards an ever-growing queue.
This is a bit of an unusual one but it’s one of the ways that the internet has streamlined my life over the past year, so I thought I should include it in my post. I don’t have a TV aerial. When we moved in, the aerial didn’t work, and we haven’t got around to getting it fixed yet. But now that we’ve lived like this for more than a year, I don’t think we’ll ever get a TV aerial. That’s because we watch almost everything online now.Luckily, we already had a smart TV and we have a decent broadband connection, so we’ve always been able to access the shows and channels we want to watch online. Sure, we might be missing out on the countless Freeview channels that are available via a TV aerial, but we’ve got all the main channels, plus YouTube and Netflix so that’s more than enough entertainment to keep us busy.
I think that having more channels means you’re more likely to mindlessly flick through and find something to watch. And that’s a big thief of time! I feel like I have much more spare time now that I consciously decide what to sit down to watch, and it means that the shows I enjoy are always available when I’M ready to watch it, and my life isn’t dictated by the TV schedule.
There you have it; some easy ways that you can simplify your life and make some easy swaps to save you time and energy during your previous time off. What do you do to make your life admin quicker and fuss-free? Please let me know your tips in the comments below, I’d love to get your advice and streamline my life even more!
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Thanks to EDF Energy for collaborating with me and being a great source of helpful advice for my life admin blog post 🙂