Admin top tips for carers, by carers

As carers, our admin load can be heavier than most. Extra emails, appointments and information to be wrangled. It's amazing what we can learn from others chatting in the cuppas and joining in discussions in the Facebook Group. We've got loads to share.

Illustration of woman sorting out her emails.

1. Keep it simple and offline

Lots of us still like a small simple diary we carry with us, a calendar hung on the wall and just one note book where we write everything. (Project notebooks with dividers can be helpful too). If they have an inspiring quote or an image that makes us smile, even better!

2. Email Inbox Overload

The sheer number of emails in our inbox can be overwhelming. There are a few ways to approach this:

  • Use the 'Inbox 0' approach

The 'Inbox 0' approach, is simply keeping our emails to 0 (or close to 0). This means opening and keeping any useful emails, and archiving any unwanted emails. Inbox 0 not only looks much more pleasant (which eases our mind) but it means we don't have to go back in later to do the tidying.

  • Take advantage of the search bar

Anytime we need anything specific and quick, we can use the search function to find the things we want. It is often a tool that is overlooked but can save us a lot of time from scrolling.

  • Unsubscribe

Unsubscribing from emails that are no use to us anymore can make a big difference very quickly - and reduces our time spent on deleting them!

  • Delete in batches or bulk

Rather than going through each email and deciding to delete can take ages. We could just search for all emails from one person and select all and then delete.

  • Create folders or labels

We can create folder and labels for our emails. This helps to sort them and make sure we stay focused on the important ones. For example, we may want a folder for 'News', 'Order Confirmations', 'Doctors', or 'Other'. Whatever works best for you.

"But how? I'm not a tech expert"

See our Digital Skills For Carers page or ways to keep our inbox under control for all different email types.

3. Set aside time for admin tasks

Emails, texts, notifications and messages pop up constantly. Some of us have an approach to only open something if they are going to deal with it there and then. Others set aside admin time slots to focus on things or set aside time when we are offline and not dealing with anything.

4. Make use of the cloud

There are apps like 'Google Drive' and 'OneDrive' that give us a good chunk of free storage. This can be really helpful for saving documents, spreadsheets, photos and other files that we might want to access from a number of devices (wherever we are) or to be able to share with specific people. Every time you fill in a form and need to gather information together it can be helpful to build up a simple secure document with everything in one place.

5. Use the phone camera

Some of us are using the camera on our phones to take photos of those easily lost pieces of paper. Receipts, quickly scribbled notes (you know the ones on the back of an envelope that is now in the recycling). Also information that we need to remember - car registration number, car park parking location, medication list from a prescription slip.

6. Don't stop learning

Choose one thing you would like to find an easier way to do and research that. YouTube videos, and 'How to' blogs can all be helpful. Read the six ways online learning can benefits carers and try one new thing today.

7. Avoid overwhelm

Choose just three admin tasks per day - rather than looking at the whole list. We never get to the bottom of the whole list, which can make us feel rubbish. By choosing just three (or even one or two), we keep chipping away - and we get a sense of achievement each day.

And if we need help prioritising, check out our carers’ priority matrix - a simple tool for deciding what’s important, urgent, can be delegated and so on.