AAT research: Adults carry out 109 ‘life admin’ tasks every year

Friday, January 26, 2018
image: worker taking notes at desk

AAT has conducted research into how many life admin tasks the average adult carries out every year

Findings include that a substantial chunk of our time is now taken up by mundane jobs such as sorting out home or car insurance, checking bank accounts and paying off credit cards. Alarmingly the study found more than half the nation struggle to keep up with household 'paperwork' and often fail to complete everything by the required date. Additionally it emerged the average adult has four important tasks currently in the pipeline which they urgently needed to clear – but can't find the time to do. January emerged as the time when many of us vow to get on top of the tasks in hand.

Rob Alder, Head of Business Development at AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), said:

January can be a great time to reflect on the past and plan the year ahead. We shouldn’t allow mountains of life admin to get in the way of our ambitions for 2018.

These could include taking the opportunity to enter the career you’ve always dreamed of, or, if you’re happy with your current role, look past the fog of admin which clouds your path towards upskilling and taking new qualifications that could benefit your whole career.

The study also found seven in 10 Brits consider themselves to be organised, yet it also emerged many urgent life admin tasks are still left uncompleted. The report also revealed a string of tasks which people believe could be made less labour intensive, with applying for a job featuring highly. More than one third thought putting themselves forward for a new position could be made easier, and one in two would prefer to reduce the stack of forms required to be read and signed before buying a new home. Twenty per cent believe tying the knot with the one you love could be improved with a reduction in paperwork, though filing for divorce is considered equally as difficult to fathom.

Another one in two workers have even sacrificed time at work to chip away at their life admin. This amount of time spent doing paperwork is also eating into the aspirations of Brits looking to make improvements to their lives.

Almost three in five have made it their goal to better their organisational skills in the near future so they can make room for self-improvement.

As for other things Brits would like to achieve in 2018, 48 per cent want to work on chiselling out a fitter body, and 46 per cent would like to save enough cash to go on their dream holiday.

Thirteen per cent aspire to move house to somewhere new and one in six are open to starting a new romantic relationship – if they could only find time for love. Failing that, one in four would settle for the chance to meet a few new people. A studious 23 per cent of Brits would like to enrol on a course to learn a skill, and three in ten are even itching to return to further education to learn a new qualification. Forty four per cent think a bit more time in their lives would allow them to travel and see the world, while a fifth would prefer to stay closer to home and use the time to get on top of their finances.

Darren Nicholls, product manager for Informi, the website offering free practical advice and support for small businesses, added: “Admin is a pain, but those innocuous forms are often very important to pay attention to and in some cases could save you from financial penalties in the future.

With the 31 January fast approaching, for those people who run their own small business or are freelance workers, we must stress the importance of getting your tax return in before the deadline to avoid any penalties for late submission.

There are a number of online guides available to help you through this process.

Top 20 life admin tasks

  1. Paid a utilities bill
  2. Bought a gift
  3. Paid a council tax bill
  4. Booked a doctor's appointment
  5. Written a shopping list
  6. Checked banking expenditure
  7. Booked a holiday
  8. Researched home improvements
  9. Booked a transport ticket
  10. Changed insurance company
  11. Written a letter
  12. Researched a new phone
  13. Bought a new phone
  14. Written or updated a CV
  15. Managed your mortgage
  16. Changed banking details
  17. Applied for a job
  18. Filled out your tax return
  19. Notified a change of address
  20. Enrolled on a course
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