Sometimes I wish I were paid hourly for ‘life admin’

I sat down one recent morning to focus on a couple of jobs I wished to dispense with before filling my time with more pleasant pursuits.

The items on my to-do list were important but dull – household management activities that can be neatly filed under the title ‘life admin’, a modern term that covers all manner of tasks from scheduling vet appointments to securing various insurances.

With several children, three pets, two cars and a house to consider – thankfully, Uncle Tom Cobley is absent – there is always something that needs renewing or arranging or cancelling, and as my husband’s work hours are protracted in nature and Monday to Friday in schedule, it falls to me to seize the mettle and tackle these tasks.

Well, I say it falls to me – in reality, I set myself up with that responsibility not long after we began to tie our financial affairs together.

I always enjoyed the minutiae of form-filling and fiscal affairs and would achieve my administrative aims with a sense of satisfaction.

In today’s world, however, life admin represents exactly that: a lifetime’s worth of admin, filling more and more of my time with less and less benefit.

It’s an undertaking for which I wish I were paid an hourly rate – I reckon the recompense would be lucrative.

So many aspects of everyday living require a schedule of financial commitment – insurances, subscriptions, memberships – necessitating regular episodes of effort to secure competitive deals, yet prices are constantly on the rise no matter how many years no claims bonus we might have smugly accumulated and websites are growing increasingly voracious.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many cookies I reject – and I am not a woman naturally inclined to refuse a cookie when it is thrust under my nose – I am still bombarded with unsolicited offers and obliged to visit my email account several times a day to cleanse my inbox and empty my junk folder of spam.

No, I am not interested in bitcoin investing; were I interested in cryptocurrencies, I suspect I would not be trawling the internet, trying to winkle out the cheapest available deals.

Clearly, no investigation into my financial status has been conducted prior to the spamming – for which lack of privacy invasion I should, I suppose, be grateful.

It feels more and more these days as though all the new-fangled money- and labour-saving devices with which we are furnished – the comparison websites, the online reviews, the apparently inexhaustible supply of apps – are merely labour under another guise.

Well-schooled in the discipline of sourcing three quotes to discern the most competitive deal for whichever essential financial product I must equip myself with this week, I turn eagerly to price comparison websites.

Aha! Surely they will do the job for me! But there are so many of them – the choice is bewildering! And the incentives they offer are so varied!

I find myself compelled to visit not one but three different sites – and lo and behold, I have made the job not one iota simpler!

Furthermore, I remain haunted by the nagging worry that I could have consulted yet others for a greater saving.

And what of the companies that proudly boast they are not to be found on comparison sites? The audacity!

At least level the playing field for us mere mortals who have less time than is ideal to create bespoke packages for building and contents cover – an insurance that we will almost certainly never use, on which we may have agreed to remortgage the house to finance the voluntary excess, and which is highly likely to be invalidated because one of the windows has an unyielding aperture…

The one good thing about comparison sites – and, incidentally, cookies – is that when the anniversary renewal email wings its way into my inbox, prompting me to revisit the website, many of the salient details will automatically appear in the empty boxes.

Despite this assistance rarely being beneficial when it comes to car insurance – we seem habitually to change our car just before the 12 months have expired, and a fair amount of online form content has to be manually updated – it’s always a joy to discover that personal information – my occupation, for example – has been recorded and retained for posterity – though it does tend to be data I am unlikely to forget.

The box for my unrecallable driving licence number, on the other hand, remains obstinately blank, necessitating a scrabbling search for the card in an old purse.

All in all, it does feel as though life admin is becoming ever more time-consuming and demanding, and I am finding it an increasingly onerous chore.

By the time I had finished my two or three tasks on the morning in question, there was no chance of me pursuing any of the more leisurely pastimes I had optimistically postponed.

And that was before I was inundated with email surveys requesting my opinion on my experience of using the websites… delete, delete, delete.

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