Average adult spends over 5 years of their lives doing admin, claims study

The average adult will spend a total of five years and five months of their lives just doing admin, according to a new study.
Researchers who polled 2,000 adults found they typically spend 21 hours and 36 minutes a week doing admin in their jobs. On top of this, a further eight hours and 48 minutes is taken up with admin 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. For 44 per cent, they have so much admin to do at work it ‘regularly’ eats into their ‘free’ time.

And 82 per cent said mounting work admin leaves them 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 also found a quarter (24 per cent) of those polled feel 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 a result, 51 per cent would be ‘delighted’ if they never had to do any work-related admin ever again. And a third (31 per cent) wished they could get some outside assistance in clearing their decks when it comes to admin.

Commissioned by Brightpearl.com, a retail operations platform for brands and retailers, the study found 36 per cent are ‘overwhelmed’ by the amount of admin they have to do. While 49 per cent simply can’t stay on top of it.

Says Nick Shaw of Brightpearl:
“The amount of admin we have to deal with in all aspects of our lives is immense.

“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.”


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 your finances
7. Tax returns
8. Returning internet orders
9. Booking doctor/dentist appointments
10. Getting home improvement quotes
Chris Price