MY friend and I have a routine. Every couple of weeks, we pick a time and a city centre pub. I bluster in, usually about half an hour late, uttering the usual apology about work going on late. He’s already three-quarters of a pint in, so I compensate by necking my first G&T. Our opening lines are always the same. He asks how I am and I tell him that I’m fine, just a bit tired. “You know, the usual.”

It’s a familiar, comforting shtick that often results in the two of us stumbling out of the pub at closing time, having spent several hours putting the world (or, at least, each other's lives) to rights. Those nights are one of the few times I have stopped to take a breath in increasingly hectic weeks and what eventually forced me to admit I had become a slave to my diary and – though I am not proud of this – someone who refers to all their non-professional obligations as “life admin”.

The concept of so-called life admin entered public consciousness around the same time that Marie Kondo, the organising consultant, author and Netflix star, started urging us all to chuck out anything that doesn’t “spark joy”. It refers to the banal tasks which don’t fall under the umbrella of your day job. Forgettable but necessary tasks, like cancelling unwanted direct debits and scrubbing scum off the bathroom tiles, which hog your free-time while offering little gratification. Standard adult fare.

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Except, finding myself increasingly busy, I took things one step further. I began treating my friendships – or, at least, the logistics of maintaining them – like a chore. Social interactions came with the same sense of nagging obligation as the rest of my “life admin”, especially when conversations with friends often became a fruitless back-and-forth over who could meet up on what date.

There is an old adage (OK, it’s a quote from the film Little Miss Sunshine) that says, “You do what you love, and f*** the rest”. But life comes with necessary evils and, even to begin with, I had a pretty lacklustre attitude towards housework. But maybe there was something in Marie Kondo-ing my excessive to-do list. Do dentist appointments spark joy? No, but needs must. Do I really need to reorganise my underwear drawer? No because, let’s be honest, I just pull clean pants straight off the dryer anyway. Do I enjoy actually seeing my friends? Yes, so I should probably stop treating that like a task needing ticked off.

While considering how to spend my physical energy, I forgot about spending time on things I genuinely enjoy doing. While I will never enjoy the excessive email chains that seem integral to getting a group of friends in the same room at the same time, nothing beats the feeling of spending time in the company of those you love. With that in mind, my new mantra is this: do what you need to, do what you love, and leave everything else for another day. I’ll reorganise that underwear drawer eventually.