Welcome to Life Administration
What is life administration, why does it need to be taught, and who are the hosts, Ryan and Leslie.
Audio Only Version:
Show Notes & Useful Links
These are actually the show notes for our intro revisited, aka episode 34. About 6 episodes into recording, I realized I should have recorded the intro after we had recorded a bunch of episodes. We waited though and opportunity came about a year later, So above is the original intro, but episode 34 is a better intro.
Set the table: Reintroducing the Life Admin podcast. I’ve wanted to redo this summary episode since posting the first batch. The show developed its own way and we can do a better intro now.
Segment 1: What is life admin? Who are your hosts and why do you care to listen to them?
Life admin is the cups of coffee and clean socks of life. All the essential, repetitive things we need to do in the background so we can get on with the rest of our life. Life admin is not low work. It is necessary work that’s only a big deal if it is not done. It shouldn’t steal our attention from living, which ultimately is what this podcast is about: teaching listeners life skills that allow you to get on living.
Ryan: Well, don’t most people know how to do this? It’s not complicated stuff.
Leslie: No, it’s not. But it isn’t intuitive either. We need someone to teach us and we need time and practice to learn. That’s not being done anymore while we are setting unrealistic expectations for this stuff. No more Home Ec or Shop. Parents generally too busy trying to keep up with life administration that they figure it’s easier to do with them selves than to give much thought to teaching kids to do it. Grandparents are generally around less because we don’t often live near family, and they are older now anyway. [A couple of stories about lifestyle videos, the WSJ letter, and the podcast prompt.]
What makes us qualified to talk about this stuff? Experience, along with all of its mistakes.
What can we expect to learn? How to get the background stuff working in background so you can go on doing whatever it is you are called to do.
Segment 2: Specific topics we will cover.
Ryan: Let’s talk about our intro episodes and why we think it's important to cover these first.
Making a life plan - This episode is our Rosetta Stone. We will build off of it in future episodes, in fact, think of buildings. Frameworks don’t dictate what the final building looks like, but they do set the shape of it. And the higher they are planned, the more flexibility they need.
Money 101 - The surprise number one request. Came up in that WSJ response to the editor a few months ago and I got an email from a friend the other day that a prestigious private high school is introducing a household budgeting class, because somewhere along the way, it stopped being taught by elders and educators. And money is one of the main things that makes other goals possible.
Basic HouseHold Management - Another basic building block. Even if you have the means and intent to hire a full household staff to rival Downton Abby, you need to know how to do it yourself. [Story of the three chefs and housecleaning after work.]
Making a beautiful home - The other stuff is bare bones basics, but truth is, we want a home that is a joy to dwell in. That’s why it came up in the top 5. And it’s why Marie Kondo is a thing. Our stuff got out of control in part because we lacked some of the skills I’ll cover here. Kondo is great, but I’m backing up to teach skills that can help the young avoid the need to Kondo It 10 years from now. Exactly what beauty is will vary from listener to listener, but there are a few guidelines that can get you beyond the basic, purely functional household.
Secrets to Staying Married - This is a surprise to us. We floated 20ish episode ideas and these last two I’d planned for much later in the series, but they had the most interest. I’m guessing that is because there are fewer role models in modern life and less proof that it can work.
Planning for Babies - I’m glad this one came up, because it shows that the young recognize there must be some planning.
Segment 3: Things you will hear a lot.
Life has learning curves. We too often assume that simple means quick and even easy. Domestic skills aren’t rocket science, but they are skills that require practice. Related, kids won’t achieve what they are never allowed to try.
Most life admin is work intensive to set up. The efficiencies come later once you have a functional calendar and to do list that you check daily and a filing system that you use. But first you have to set the systems up and then get into the habit of using and maintaining those systems. We aren’t teaching quick-fix, life hack stuff here. Give yourself time to do this.
Tasks take time and twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week is all we get. Even the easy tasks, say grocery run, take shopping list prep, round-trip drive time, actual shopping time, unpacking—an average run can blow a 3 hour hole in the day. And it’s just one chore. The whole idea that it is easy, leads us to overlook how much time it takes.
We need to blend old and new, wisdom and innovation. The old ways still contain a lot of wisdom but the new ways have a lot of innovation. But so often people take sides: poo-phooing tech as the root of all modern problems or rolling their eyes at the idea that the analog way might work better. Neither is true.
We have curated course sets for listeners who want specific types of info. We have sets for a quick start, money management, household management, relationships, and life planning.
I have two reasons for this link. One, The History Chicks is one of my favorite podcasts and I am happy to recommend it. Two, this episode on Florence Nightingale touches on the importance of life admin. Florence Nightingale throughly modernized nursing in large part by setting up rhythms and patterns for all the behind the stuff of nursing, such as medical supplies and equipment, medicines, food, beds, shifts... Before Nightingale tackled the admin stuff, nursing was something done on the fly, in reaction to whatever emergency came. It was inefficient and largely ineffective. The behind the scenes administrative stuff — it gets results.
This is the article I mentioned about thinking about tech and screen time in a new way
One of the two published statements that made me decide to prioritize this podcast. "What college isn’t teaching that students wish it would." (The other was made in an episode of The Femsplainers podcast, but I don't remember which one.)