Eight simple life hacks for easier everyday organisation

A stack of papers held together with a bulldog clip

Illustration: Made by Radio

Mundane personal jobs such as making appointments, managing bills or cooking are a necessary part of life, but every day these tasks eat into our precious free time. What if there were a few simple ways to cut down the time and effort spent on these while saving money? We take a look at some of the best ways to approach life admin so it becomes less of a chore.

Tackling admin with mini blasts of productivity
Dealing with household chores is best done in short bursts. Setting a 15-minute timer or taking the opportunity to dust the TV while the kettle boils can help add a few extra moments in the day. Using apps such as Wunderlist – which allows users to categorise certain tasks – is a handy way to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Or there’s always the option to delegate. Sign up to Airtasker and have someone come by to move a couch, fix a dodgy light or mow your lawn while you get on with your day.

Easily save money on bills
Nobody wants to pay more than they need to when it comes to bills. Now, thankfully, there’s a way to offload the price-checking process to an automated service. Compare the Market has made it super simple by launching EnergyCheck, which checks the market to help you stay on a great deal. It gets in touch whenever users can make an annual saving of a predefined sum of money – such as £50, £100 or £150 – so you can rest assured you’re on a great tariff.

Organising family schedules
Keeping on top of your own life admin can be a hassle at the best of times, but once a partner and kids are thrown into the mix it can feel almost impossible. Using apps such as Cozi and OurHome helps delegate tasks by giving each family member a calendar and a colour, and then combining the schedules in one easy-to-read spot so everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing and when.

Making appointments
Visiting a GP can require a lot of effort – especially as you’re often put on hold for long periods of time when phoning to book an appointment. But if you need to see a GP for something minor, there are plenty of online-based services – such as Babylon or Livi – that do not require taking a day off from work or making an appointment. Arranging a suitable time and day to meet friends can be equally as stressful – if you can do Friday, it’s highly likely your friends are busy. Next time you’re scheduling a meetup with a group of people, ask them to sign up to Doodle, which allows each person to pick the days that suits them best and automatically shows which dates most people are available.

Getting on top of paperwork
Writing a will, managing energy tariffs or filing a tax return are all life-admin tasks that need a block of time to sort out. Focus Keeper will help: the time-management app tracks and boosts your productivity. Online platforms such as Farewill make it easier to write up a will, while Expensify can help the self-employed keep on top of expenses and make tax time a little less daunting. Keep an eye on energy tariffs with Compare the Market’s EnergyCheck facility that automatically checks if you could have a better deal than what is provided by your current energy supplier.

Spring cleaning and making some cash on the side
There are plenty of ways to spring clean without the difficulty of hauling clothes, books and furniture to a charity store. Sell your items on Vinted and they’ll send you a prepaid shipping label to dispatch your gear to its new owner. Sites such as Gumtree and Preloved make it easy to list big furniture items online. And finally, for all those books gathering dust, head over to WeBuyBooks to give them a second life.

Saving for your next big holiday
Putting money aside for a holiday can seem like a mammoth task, but there are a few hacks that make it barely noticeable. For easy day-to-day savings use platforms such as Pouch, which automatically applies promo codes when shopping online, and use MySupermarket to find out which shop near you has the cheapest groceries. Getting to know your bank’s savings features is the easiest way to automate top-ups to your account. Monzo, for instance, rounds up purchases to the nearest pound and automatically puts the change into a separate savings “pot”.

Achieving an empty inbox
Having a giant list of unanswered emails in your inbox is enough to induce long bouts of procrastination. Use features such as “important”, “starred” and “focused inbox” to your advantage, so you see the emails that are important to you first. Then take a one-action approach to each one: reply, archive or delete. If you’re replying to emails, use features such as Gmail’s generated or auto-complete responses to cut time to a minimum. And finally, don’t let email distract you from your other tasks – turn off notifications and instead set aside some time during the day to sift through the ones that are most important.

For a simple way to ensure you’re always on a great energy tariff, sign up to Compare the Market’s EnergyCheck service. Customers of Compare the Market can also use the app to get two-for-one at restaurants and cinemas for a whole year


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