Americans will spend more than five years of their lives doing tasks they hate, study finds

THE average American adult will spend five years and four months doing tasks they hate, a new study has found.

Researchers polled 2,000 adults and found respondents typically spend 15 hours a week doing admin tasks in their jobs — and four hours in their personal lives.


Americans will spend more than five years of their lives doing tasks they hate, a study has found[/caption]

On average, they’ll wade through 290 admin tasks a month. Anything to do with spreadsheets or clearing out their email inboxes were among the most loathed, according to respondents.

More than half (56%) have so much admin to do at work, it regularly eats into their free time.

For three-quarters (76%), the knock-on effect of mounting work-related admin is having little time to take care of personal admin tasks like paying bills, taking the car to a mechanic or writing out a will.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by, a retail operations platform for brands and retailers, the study found 36% of Americans are overwhelmed by the number of tasks they have to do.


  • Completing tax returns
  • Anything involving finances/financial data
  • Updating product information and content
  • Filing away documents
  • Producing/checking contracts
  • Processing orders
  • Filing away/clearing out emails
  • Completing HR assessment reports
  • Updating databases and documents
  • Reporting

Forty-eight percent simply can’t stay on top of them.

It has proven to be such an issue for 43%, they have resorted to taking vacation days in the hope of catching up on tasks left behind.

Nearly half (47%) of those polled said they are currently trapped in “admin hell” as a result of all the things they haven’t managed to get around to.

On average, people have 10 tedious tasks outstanding both in their workday and in their personal lives. The most detested work-related admin jobs include logging data (12%), order management tasks (13%), completing performance review forms (12%) and completing tax returns (14%).

Meanwhile, personal admin tasks like returning internet orders (11%), managing finances (12%) and cleaning (13%) hardly have those polled chomping at the bit.

As such, 50% admitted they would be delighted if they never had to do any work-related admin ever again, while two-thirds (65%) wish they had some outside assistance in clearing their decks when it comes to admin.


  • Calling utility companies to renegotiate a better price (e.g. broadband, premium TV services)
  • Cleaning
  • Writing shopping lists
  • Getting home improvement quotes
  • Banking/checking finances
  • Paying bills (e.g. utility bills)
  • Renewing a driver’s license
  • Tax returns
  • Booking doctor/dentist appointments
  • Returning internet orders

For 67%, there really is no let-up – the research found even if they’re not doing admin tasks, it still continues to eat at their mind.

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

In fact, the average American will spend four and a half hours a week just thinking about all the tasks they need to finish.

A third of Americans (31%) admitted doing admin was so dull, they’d rather run out of gas on the side of the road than have to deal with it.

Twenty-eight percent would willingly sit through a dinner with the in-laws if it got them out of taking care of work chores – while three in 10 (31%) would rather suffer through a cold shower.

“Many see admin tasks as a burden; something they could do without,” Shaw continued. “But help is out there – especially when it comes to the work-admin tasks, which we spend most of our time trying to get done.

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

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