58 episodes

Tools, techniques and tips to tackle your life admin with efficiency. Dinah Rowe-Roberts and Mia Northrop introduce ways to save you time and money, create peace of mind and restore harmony in your household.

Life Admin Life Hacks Life Admin Life Hacks

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 46 Ratings

Tools, techniques and tips to tackle your life admin with efficiency. Dinah Rowe-Roberts and Mia Northrop introduce ways to save you time and money, create peace of mind and restore harmony in your household.

    Going solar

    Going solar

    There are more than three million homes across Australia that have rooftop solar, but with installation costs in the thousands, it can be difficult to figure out if it makes sense for you. This ep gives you all the shortcuts to figure it out, including how to optimise your investment if you already have a system.

    The first thing Mia and Dinah discuss is that if you are thinking about getting solar, get clear on why you are considering it. Is it an economic decision only or for the environmental impact or for some other reasons?

    It's also important to do some basic research about solar so you know what you should consider.

    Dinah recommends using the Clean Energy Councils’s solar buying guide to get some basic understanding (Link in Resources below).  Understanding if your house has the appropriate conditions - north facing and slope of the roof - is important to know. Understand your energy consumption - as this is the main source of savings as feed-in tariffs are much lower than they used to be.  Know yourself - will you be willing to change your energy patterns to make the most of your system?  Think about how long you are planning to stay in your home to take into account as part of your investment decision. How are you going to fund the purchase and what other costs will there be?

    Once you have decided to explore it, get a couple of quotes to compare. You can use a service like Solar Quotes to get a number of quotes from providers that are accredited by the Clean Energy Council. Providers will also help you with rebates available to support the system purchase.

    The things the quotes should include are:

    a site-specific system design (which takes into account shade at different times of the year) a performance estimate  an itemised list of components/products  a clear breakdown of costs, including the total value of any discounts or rebates  warranty (including STC snd state-based rebates) full terms and conditions of sale.

    The providers will provide a return on investment calculation but make sure you think about:

    the time horizon - do you plan to live in the house for that time period? will your energy consumption patterns change? what other costs will there be (eg buying more roof tiles)? what else you would do with the money?

    You may also wish to consider a battery, however, for most people, this doesn’t make economic sense and fewer than 10% of new installations include a battery. The costs start around $4k plus installation costs. You need to consider the same factors and you need to make sure the battery can be fully charged from your solar panels even in winter. In addition, for most people, the time to make a return is longer than the warranty period, so this is probably not something to do for purely economic reasons.

    For both solar PV and batteries, those that make the best returns are those that are willing to change their behaviour by downloading the apps and optimising your usage. 

    If you already have solar, it's important to understand the feed-in tariff and the implications when choosing an electricity provider and a plan. The feed-in tariffs have been falling across the board in the past few years.

    The higher the solar feed-in tariff (i.e. what you get for ‘exporting’ power), the lower the discount on electricity the household draws from the grid (i.e. what you pay for ‘importing’ power).

    In order to secure the highest solar feed-in tariff, you will need to choose the plan that offers the lowest discount on electricity imported from the grid.

    This means that if you usually export a lot of power to the grid, you should go for the highest feed-in tariff.

    If you end up using most of the power your system generates and only export a little bit on occasion, you should go for the highest discount.

    For comparison shopping, Canstar seems to have the most comprehensive list of the feed-in tariffs on off

    • 28 min
    Organising your digital photos

    Organising your digital photos

    If you’re looking for the motivation, apps, and process to get your digital photos sorted once and for all, this ep where we interview Carly Michael is for you.

    About Carly Michael

    Carly Michael has spent her whole life surrounded by photos having grown up in her family's camera store - Michaels Camera Video and Digital in Melbourne's CBD. When covid hit, the family decided to close the store so she took the opportunity to become a professional photo organiser - something she had developed a passion for during her time managing the family's photo lab. She now spends her days organising both physical and digital photos, helping people get back in control of their photo mess!

    Digital photos made the top five life admin pain points in our 2021 community survey and while Dinah has had her photos sorted for some time until we recorded this ep Mia felt like there would never be enough time or motivation in the world for her to get her photos into a format that other people can actually access and enjoy.

    After the interview Mia downloaded the apps suggested, they did their magic, and her photos are finally organised.

    Carly starts the interview by talking about her background and how she became interested in the digital dark age. The digital dark age is a concern that, as technology advances, we will lose access to photos and other data as our current media (including hard drives and USBs) are not designed to last.

    Mia and Carly discuss how setting yourself a deadline and having a photo project as a goal will give you the motivation

    Carly discussed the key characteristics of an organised photosystem being:

    organised - chronologically is the easiest centralised  accessible - ideally on your phone backed up  (consider the 3-2-1 system -  3 copies of your photos,  stored in 2 locations with 1 of those being off site)

    Carly discusses the risks around cloud storage (eg Google's recent change to its terms and conditions that states If you're inactive for two years Google may delete the content. She also discusses the importance of distinguishing between a back-up and a sync.

    The key steps to get your photos organised are:

    Gather - Make a list of all your photos (including on devices and in the cloud)and gather them into one physical location Centralise - Put all your digital photos into a central hub - ideally using a hard drive. If you have issues extracting photos consider using Dropbox. It is also useful as a backup Back Up - Carly recommends using BackBlaze Deduplicate - Get rid of duplicates - Carly recommends using Photosweeper for a Mac and Duplicate Cleaner Pro for a PC Organise your photos (folderise them) - Carly recommends using Big Mean Folder Machine for Macs and Photomove for PC. If you run into issues with dates you can use Adobe Bridge to assist with finding the original dates Maintain - consider using dropbox to make a backup of your photos from your phone (not a sync) until you reorganise them. Then create a habit (perhaps by pairing with another regular task) to make sure you oragnise your folders on a regular basis. Also consider changing your behaviour to curate your collection as you go. Adopt the same mindset as you had when you took photos with film.

    Carly also discusses scanning hardcopy photos - noting that if you are going to scan photos you want to scan once and to the quality you want. You can scan photos using your phone with apps such as photomyne, however, the quality will be limited. She notes that if you are going to scan you want to organise as you scan.

    Carly also recommends changing your photo setting on your iPhone from HEIC to JPG and not using the Live feature.


    PhotoGenie - Digital Reset Service

    Back Blaze - Backup service 

    Photosweeper - to deduplicate photos on a Mac

    Duplicate Cleaner Pro - to deduplicate photos on a PC

    Big Mean Photo Machine - to organise photos on

    • 43 min
    Define it to refine it

    Define it to refine it

    It is important to have a mental model of what life admin is in order to be able to approach it in a more systematic way

    Mia and Dinah start the episode by discussing how:

    for most people, life admin is a blurry amorphous bundle of tasks - and with no mental model of the different categories and types of tasks is can be difficult to approach or share the tasks in a systematic way their definition of Life admin - that it is not housework or parenting but it often overlaps; housework is defined as cooking, cleaning and laundry, parenting is about child-rearing and supports the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of your child; life admin is the third piece of the domestic labour puzzle - it includes the scheduling, booking, shopping, paperwork, and planning that often facilitates housework and parenting tasks, but also has its own areas of responsibility. life admin is often conflated with housework and parenting and that can be  problematic because it can become hidden which is a big issue as life admin generates a significant portion of the mental load  life admin often gets more complex and time-consuming at the precise time you have less time to manage it - particularly having children generates a significant amount of life admin their recent survey of more than 300 Australians revealed that the average Australian does almost 500 life admin tasks each year parents grapple with 33% more life admin tasks than households without dependents  37% of people do life admin tasks for a parent or adult relative most people think the reason their life admin is out of control is their lack of motivation and/or time  - but usually, the problem is not having the know-how or system and/or the lack of a scheduled time to do life admin

    They discuss the cost of not having your life admin in control including:

    spending more time than is necessary on it wasting money  - it has been estimated that Australians are paying more than $11 billion in ‘loyalty tax’ by not shopping around.  cognitive load - stress, anxiety, overwhelm - worrying, scared of forgetting, monkey mind, brain chatter.  relationship friction - their survey showed that life admin causes friction in 85% of two-parent households 

    Mia and Dinah describe their framework for life admin:

    that there are two types of life admin - everyday life admin that occurs cyclically or seasonally and event-based life admin (eg getting married)  that there are four categories of life admin and that these can help you prioritise and determine how you will share them in your household household operations eg meal planning, decluttering, paying bills personal affairs such as tax, super, other investments wills and health checks comparison shopping for plans and policies leisure and social planning eg holidays, Xmas, social life, kids extracurricular think about life admin tasks by how much time is required to get them done -  Hour of Power - recurring slot in the schedule for chunky life admin tasks  2 Minutes Too Easy - tasks to complete as they arise 10 Minute Time Killer - tasks to complete in idle time - include them in a to-do list


    Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook,  Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.

    • 25 min
    Essential digital life admin tools

    Essential digital life admin tools

    It's hard to keep up with best practices for technology and the latest apps, so in this episode we chat to expert Lynette Coulston to get her tips on essential digital life admin tools.

    About Lynette Coulston

    Lynette Coulston had a 30+ year career in software development and IT  but in 2012 she left that all behind to create iTandCoffee, a business focussed on offering technology support and education to residents of her local area, through relaxed, social gatherings and individualised support - where technology topics could be discussed and explained in a friendly, understanding environment, over a cuppa!  

    Over the years this has extended to include support and training for those in small business, for parents struggling to manage the family’s technology, for those returning to the workforce or study, and for those who just want to better understand how their technology can help them manage their day-to-day life.

    This episode is full of practical tips and recommendations including:

    the importance of having a digital filing system and understanding where your files are saved - this is important to teach kids too! using inbuilt functionality on your computer (eg Time Machine for a Mac) to make sure you backup your files using apps like Reminders to remind you of important life admin tasks making the most of Voice Assistants to add reminders on the go (Siri or Google Assistant) selecting a calendar app that works best for you - Lynette uses Fantastical and WeekCal when you are helping others with their technology ask them to read to you what they see on the screen or use the share screen feature in programs like Zoom setting up parental controls like Screen Time before you give children a device setting up a home router that can restrict internet access for each device to supplement parental controls making sure you have good scanning apps on your phone to scan straighten, crop, clarify  documents  - Lynette recommends Scannable, Office Lens, Adobe Fill & Sign and Photomyne making sure you have strong and different passwords to reduce the risk of phishing, Lynette recommends using a password manager (Last Pass, One Password, Dashlane) or a secure note.

    We also discuss the curve of forgetting and how people can become easily frustrated when trying to use technology, particularly when they compare themselves to others. Lynette discusses the curve of forgetting and that it will be difficult to retain how to use technology unless you use it on a regular basis.


    IT and Coffee - Lynette’s support and training business

    Time Machine - for backing up Apple computers

    Siri Voice Assistant

    Reminders App

    Fantastical Calendar App

    WeekCal - iPhone App

    Setting up screentime on an iPad/iPhone

    Parental control routers 

    Scanning Apps - Scannable by Evernote, Office lens, Photomyne photo scanning app, Adobe - Fill and sign

    Have I been pwned? - check you credentials for data breaches

    Password Managers - Last Pass, One Password, Dashlane

    The curve of forgetting - how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it.

    Episode 2 Going paperless - cloud storage

    Episode 4 - Mastering To Do Lists 

    Episode 3 Managing passwords and form filling data


    Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook,  Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.

    • 40 min
    Daycare and school transitions

    Daycare and school transitions

    This episode explores why transitions can be stressful, the key tools and processes you need to have humming to support daycare and school admin, and Mia and Dinah's top hacks for saving time, money and sharing the load.

    Mia and Dinah reveal that in a survey they conducted earlier this year, one in three respondents reported that their child starting at daycare or school generated a significant amount of life admin.

    Mia discusses how transitions, particularly when starting at a new daycare or school, can be hard for both parents and kids because we are letting go of the familiar and need to adjust to new ways, people and routines. We are hard-wired to resist change and it can trigger a stress response. There can be a sense of loss of what was, wishing things could stay the same and perhaps some fear and anxiety about what’s to come. Transitions are also an opportunity to lean on our strengths, reach a new equilibrium and bring a sense of renewal and growth. We can let go of old beliefs and assumptions with excitement and enthusiasm.

    Given the potential emotion of the transition to a new daycare or school, ensuring your life admin is sorted is a tangible way you can make the change easier and reduce the stress for everyone.

    Dinah discusses the key foundational life admin systems to have in place to make the transition easier:

    Have one central dedicated shared document or checklist for you and your partner to store all the information, to-dos or discussion points with your partner and child. It's important to get all that detail out of your head to reduce your mental load. Set up a folder in your cloud storage to file all documents related to the daycare or school when you enrol, so that you can file as you go, making filing a Two Minutes Too Easy task Use a shared life admin email address so all school communication can go there, and agree on a system for sharing the management of this inbox with your partner. Ensure your password manager is installed across all your devices, so you can easily store the multiple passwords needed for school portals, uniform and book ordering etc. Add frequently used form filling data to your password manager once so you can speed up the process of the endless form-filling. Set up informal communication networks like a WhatsApp group with other parents.  Plan any traditions that are important to you (eg photo on the first day) so that you don't forget and it is calm and intentional, rather than rushed and last minute. Consider the costs of a new school, such as fees, uniforms, books, technology, excursions and camps, so you can budget in advance and plan ahead if you prefer to buy second hand.

    Mia talks about morning and evening routines, considering which things will change and what will stay the same. Some continuity is reassuring. You can preview what the new routine will look like by replicating the new schedule ahead of time as practice.

    In terms of daycare transitions, particular life admin tasks to consider are:

    putting your child on the waiting list which may be more than one year in advance filling in enrolment forms including information about your child’s wellbeing such as sleeping patterns, emotional and social preferences, family circumstances and comfort items

    proof of immunisation status - download a PDF from MyGov and consult GP if need catch -up vaccinations procuring a second copy of your child’s comfort item in case it gets misplaced at daycare applying for child care benefits via Centrelink getting a Working with Children Check if you want to volunteer or spend time in the daycare dress code & wardrobe - you might need to do some shopping adding the new schedule and any key dates like centre closures to your family calendar including orientation dates adding everyone who might potentially collect your child as authorised contacts borrowing or buying picture books about the transition to share with your ch

    • 46 min
    Tina Paterson on burnout and sharing the mental load

    Tina Paterson on burnout and sharing the mental load

    In this episode, we interview Tina Paterson, remote working and productivity expert, about burnout and how to avoid the ultimate level of exhaustion. 

    About Tina Paterson

    Tina Paterson has worked across nine industries and 12 countries over the past 20+ years. She has led large departments, governed billions of dollars of assets and her teams have delivered Transformation Programs and Projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 

    She has achieved all this while raising two kids with her husband James, running marathons, raising a million dollars for charity and taking 3-month sabbaticals every 5 years with her family.

    Following her own story of burnout (where she ended up in the local Emergency Department due to being at work with pneumonia), she now partners with large organisations to help their leaders embed the strategies she has learned, lives and breathes.

    What we talk about

    During the interview, we chat about:

    what burnout is - a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress Tina’s story of burnout and how it slowly crept up on her that people often abandon their self-care right at the time they need it the most how Tina’s burnout was the impetus to do things differently that the mental load of parenting and household management contributed to her burnout  that reducing the number of decisions she has to make is an important contributor to relieving the mental load how she relies on friends to make recommendations about what to buy to save herself the time to do the research that 'being busy' is not a badge of honour that doing a time audit of your 168 hours per week can help you consciously see what you are spending time on and how you can swap your hours to activities more in line with what is important to you that it’s common to get out of touch with what’s actually fun for you setting up your environment to make the things you enjoy easier to do  how Tina shares the load with her husband and kids - by having a regular family meeting and agreeing who owns what and ensuring end to end accountability  how watching Teenage Boss inspired Tina and her husband to put their kids in control of the family budget for a month to provide a real lesson in the value of money how she has a chart to help navigate what fruit and vegetables her kids enjoy to simplify family dinnertime.


    Tina Paterson’s website Tina Paterson on LinkedIn Time to Breathe : Navigating Life and Work for Energy, Success and Happiness, Dr Bill Micthell 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Laura Vanderkam Teenage Boss Money Brilliant App


    Please head to the Life Admin Life Hacks Facebook,  Insta or Linked In pages to connect with listeners and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 Ratings

MFS Michael ,


Fantastic Podcast with plenty of helpful tips! I’ve binged this entire podcast in just a few months and have improved all things life admin thanks to the lessons and hacks learnt from this great podcast.

Dogdays2021 ,

Making it sound fun

The hosts are onto something, bringing order and joy to chaos. Love the way they bring some serious approaches to things we prefer to shove to the back of the drawer. They’re funny too.

ElllyK ,

Boring and obvious

Honestly I had to keep skipping through to try to find something that provided a new insight or practical hack. So much of this content about what life admin is etc is well known. People just want some techniques. Don’t labour all the obvious stuff

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