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News: Average adult spends five years and five months of their lives doing hated admin

The average adult will spend a total of five years and five months of their lives doing admin.

Brightpearl researchers who polled 2,000 adults found they typically spend 21 hours and 36 minutes a week doing admin in their jobs – and eight hours and 48 minutes in their personal lives.

On average, they’ll wade through 204 admin tasks a month – with ‘anything to do with spreadsheets’ and clearing out email inboxes among the most loathed.

Four in 10 (44 per cent) have so much admin to do at work it ‘regularly’ eats into their ‘free’ time. 

And for 82 per cent, the knock-on effect of mounting work admin is having little time to take care of personal admin tasks like paying bills, taking the car to the garage or sorting out a will.

The study was commissioned by Brightpearl.com, and found 36 per cent said they are ‘overwhelmed’ by the amount of admin they have to do.

 And 49 per cent simply can’t stay on top of it.

It has proven to be such an issue for 37 per cent they have resorted to taking annual leave in the hope of catching up.

“The amount of admin we have to deal with in all aspects of our lives is immense,” said Brightpearl’s Nick Shaw.

“And while we’re only too aware of all the bits and pieces we need to sort on a daily basis, the lifetime figure is staggering and really shows just how much it dominates both our home and work lives.

“Just imagine all the things you could get done if you didn’t have a seemingly endless amount of admin to get though.”

A quarter (24 per cent) of those polled said they are currently ‘trapped’ in ‘admin hell’ as a result of all the things they haven’t managed to get round to.

On average, they have six tedious tasks outstanding in their work and a further five in their personal lives.

Other detested work-related admin jobs include logging data, order management tasks, completing performance review forms, and completing tax returns.

While returning internet orders, managing finances and cleaning hardly have those polled chomping at the bit in their personal lives.

As such, 51 per cent admitted they would be ‘delighted’ if they never had to do any work-related admin ever again.

While a third (31 per cent) wish they get some outside assistance in clearing their decks when it comes to admin. 

For over half (54 per cent), there really is no let-up –  even if they’re not doing admin it continues to play on their mind.

In fact, the average Brit will spend three hours and five minutes a week just thinking about all the admin they need to finish.

“The research shows that many of those polled see admin as a burden – and something they could do without,” added Nick.

“But help is out there – especially when it comes to the work-admin, which as the study found, is the sort of admin we spend most of our time trying to get done.

“People don’t realise this, but many repeatable, and frankly, boring work tasks can be automated – meaning workers can get on with other key aspects of their jobs.”


  1. Filing away/clearing out emails
  2. Filing away documents
  3. Anything involving spreadsheets
  4. Logging data
  5. Reporting
  6. Updating databases and documents
  7. Financial administration
  8. Completing tax returns
  9. Tidying up your computer’s desktop
  10. Completing performance review forms


  1. Cleaning
  2. Sorting out insurance renewals
  3. Ringing up utility companies to renegotiate a better price (e.g. broadband, premium TV services)
  4. Household DIY/maintenance
  5. Paying bills e.g. utility bills
  6. Managing my finances
  7. Tax returns
  8. Returning internet orders
  9. Booking doctor/dentist appointments
  10. Getting home improvement quotes

Jun 04, 2021