By Kristen Manieri

Life Admin and How to Conquer It with Elizabeth Emens

There is an invisible labor in life that we rarely notice or address. Whether it’s forms at a doctor’s office, scheduling flights, asking for a refund, coordinating school activities, weddings, funerals or births, we all face an onslaught of paperwork. It seems that life admin just comes with everyday living, but through her book, The Art of Life Admin: How To Do Less, Do It Better, and Live More, Elizabeth Emens aims to help us do less, do better and live more.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • Unforeseen labor that creeps into our lives;
  • The four admin personalities;
  • How to tackle it, reduce it, divert it, eliminate it;
  • How to take our life back!

I have been so excited to share this interview with you. You can listen here:


Elizabeth Emens is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where she is the Director of the Mindfulness Program and Co-Chair of the Davis Polk Leadership Initiative. In recent years, she has been writing about the office work of life—“life admin”—and examining the burdens and inequities that surround this invisible labor that afflicts us all. Her first book, The Art of Life Admin: How To Do Less, Do It Better, and Live More helps us see this labor, understand it, and figure out what to do with it—individually and collectively. Her teacher training in mindfulness has been through the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, the Mindful Schools program, and, most recently, the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program. She earned her J.D. from Yale University; her Ph.D. from King’s College, Cambridge, where she was a Marshall Scholar; and her B.A. from Yale University. In addition to her academic writing, Emens writes a blog for Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/life-admin). Learn more at www.elizabethemens.com.


See you next time!



Kristen Manieri is certified as both a habits coach and a mindfulness teacher. She specializes in: stress reduction, energy management, mindset, resilience, habit formation, rest rituals, and self-care. As the host of the weekly 60 Mindful Minutes podcast, an Apple top 100 social science podcast, Kristen has interviewed over 100 authors and thought leaders about what it means to live a more conscious, connected, intentional and joyful life. Learn more at kristenmanieri.com/work-with-me.

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