According to research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), adults do 109 ‘life admin’ tasks during a year. These include chores like arranging insurances, checking bank statements, booking car services and admin related to children and pets.
Another study by Altodigital found that an astonishing 82% of UK employees did some of their life admin at work - including organising utilities and even applying for other jobs!
Whatever kind of business traveller you are – whether you can flit off at a moment’s notice with just cabin baggage or need a full weekend to pack and organise the house, kids and dog before you go, we look at how you can use your business trip to get some life admin out of the way.
Sometimes it takes a change of scene, and a relaxing location such as a hotel, to give you that headspace ideal for a little life spring cleaning. Not forgetting to add in one of the most important things – downtime for you.
Effective life admin starts with a full calendar, and many of us use online calendars to organise our lives. When you include birthdays, annual renewals, MOT dates etc., you take that useful life admin information with you when you travel for business. In spare time after a meeting, make use of the hotel’s free Wi-Fi to check what tasks you have coming up in the next month and tackle them there and then.
Whether you own your home or rent, a property comes with lots of admin that’s easy to forget if you’re a frequent business traveller. Even if you’re super-organised, when did you last have the time to go on a comparison website to get the best deal on your utilities or home insurance?
Gill Sharma, a frequent traveller says, “Does the gutter need fixing? You’ve got time to research and email local tradespeople and arrange for them to come and quote when you’re back. Too much clutter? I photograph what I want to get rid of on my phone before the business trip and list it on Ebay, Gumtree or trash nothing! while I’m away.”
And from the quiet and comfort of your hotel bed you can order next week’s groceries online to be delivered as you arrive home.
When you’re a busy working parent, you may struggle to find the time to read all the emails and documents from school or nursery. A business trip in a comfortable hotel is an opportunity to catch up with educational correspondence, visit the school website, and maybe research your child’s next school or university. With Skype and FaceTime, you can connect with home to help with homework and say goodnight. And when you stay in a hotel that’s close to a city’s main attractions, look out for presents and educational materials in museum and art gallery shops.
With some relaxing head space in a comfortable hotel, it’s no hardship to run through your online accounts, checking your bank statements and direct debits and cancelling subscriptions to things you no longer use. Compare and switch your credit cards to low or 0% interest ones.
We’re all so busy these days that we sometimes have to schedule in time even to talk to our friends. A comfortable hotel stay on a business trip is the ideal time to Skype, ring or message friends you haven’t seen for a while. When your hotel is close to a city’s main attractions you’ll be able to buy original presents and cards for them when you take some downtime to go shopping.
‘Your iCloud storage is full’ and may have been for a while now, and you haven’t had time to do anything about it. Why not relax in the hotel bar and delete those blurry or duplicate photos eating up your storage? Look around for other photo storage options such as Google Photos or Dropbox. Audit your apps too, deleting ones you no longer use.
It’s essential you take time to look after yourself, and a business trip is perfect for arranging appointments with the doctor, dentist, optician and other health practitioners and ordering repeat prescriptions. “I use my business trip downtime to fit in a haircut or beauty treatment,” reveals Gill. Being in another city can be an inspiration for more travel, so research and book your next holiday.
Don’t forget your downtime!
Both work and life admin can be tiring: make sure you get a break, and switch off completely with a gym workout, spa session or tour of the city. Reception staff will be delighted to share with you their recommendations for the best places to go.