Ideas from Readers: New Ways to Use Study Halls

Source: Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay

Admin Study Hall changed my life. Literally. Several times a week I meet a friend or colleague—virtually, by videoconference—to set intentions and follow through on them. That gentle accountability frequently enables my most productive window of the day.

Study Hall started as a space to get life admin done. These days it’s more often a space to block admin, to push it aside, to get other important-but-not-urgent things done first. (Usually, for me, that means writing.)

Last month, though, I went back to basics. Admin Study Hall was the place to face a particularly grim form of admin I’d been avoiding: working on a will. A dear friend in another state faced the same death-admin project. We met on Zoom. We talked about our goals, said some encouraging words, and worked in parallel. In just two sessions, we pulled each other to it and through it. 

Elsewhere I’ve told the birth story of Admin Study Hall, aka ASH. (Thank you to my brainstorming session folks who helped to hatch the idea and name it!). I’ve given tips for how to set up an ASH and how to go it alone.

Today I want to share two new Study Hall ideas that readers have sent me. A Note to the Reader at the end of my book invites your suggestions, and I love hearing the insights that come in.

The first idea is for solo admin. The second is for sharing it. 

#1: Solo Admin Musicale (SAM!)

1563497073_693_Ideas-from-Readers-New-Ways-to-Use-Study-Halls Ideas from Readers: New Ways to Use Study Halls

Source: Image by Lars Frantzen / Wikimedia

A reader we’ll call Rhonda* sent me this wonderfully simple strategy. When she wants to get some admin done—but not be overwhelmed by it—she turns on music or a podcast. When the audio ends, she stops. 

This can be a fun way to prevent the admin hangovers I used to know well: when I’d try to tackle the whole list, stay up way too late, and wander through a dopey haze the next day. 

SAM is also a nice excuse to listen to some old favorites—or to try something new. (Next up for me is listening to some Ani DiFranco, whose lyrics I used to know by heart and who’s on my mind, since I’ve just begun her memoir.) 

#2: Workday Admin Meet-Up (WAMU?)

Another reader, Alison, wrote with an idea she and her husband developed to overcome a problem familiar to many: How do you handle the shared admin that can get done only during the day, when the businesses you need to call for appointments are open, but you’re both at work? 

Ideas-from-Readers-New-Ways-to-Use-Study-Halls Ideas from Readers: New Ways to Use Study Halls

Source: Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

One time, Alison and her husband nailed it and got a ton done. “We realised that the trick was that we were in the same room during working hours, so schedules could be checked, calls made to receptionists who would pick up,” Alison wrote. “It felt incredible to get through so much stuff in real-time rather than by days of emails.” 

So now, whenever they have a pile-up of daytime admin to do, Alison and her husband schedule a 30-minute study hall from work by videoconference. In this Workday Admin Meet-Up, they each take care of separate admin items—like calling the dentist or the plumber—and the other partner’s there to answer any questions about calendars or shared decisions.

Alison said they get lots accomplished in real time, with full information, this way. No need to check if the appointment time works; no need to circle back to dentist to change a time that didn’t work for partner. 

No new to-do items generated. Just checking items off the list, once and for all.

Not sure the name WAMU will stick. But the idea should.


Thanks to Rhonda and Alison for taking the time to share your ideas—and to everyone else who’s written.  Keep them coming, so we can all keep learning. 

(*As I explain in the Note to the Reader, I never use a reader’s name unless they give express permission.)

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !

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