‘Paperwork panic’ affects 6 in 10 people — Many skip tasks to avoid filling out forms

LONDON — Nearly six in 10 adults suffer from “paperwork panic,” according to a new survey. In fact, many would rather let their insurance run out instead of filling out forms for hours.

A poll of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom reveals that 58 percent often ignore a number of tasks on their to-do lists, with 15 percent blaming their lack of action on time constraints and 12 percent saying it just takes too long.

Filling out paperwork at a local doctor’s office, booking a dentist appointment, making a will, and even sorting out insurance policies are among the tasks the average person commonly puts off. The poll also reveals that 24 percent have experienced problems when paperwork piles up, including stress (33%) and worsening health (20%).

Another 19 percent have even let their insurance policy run out, resulting in them getting caught by not being covered when they needed it. A fifth also believe the amount of tasks on their to-do lists has increased over the past 12 months.

“It is worrying to see that one in four have experienced problems, such as stress and worsening health, as a result of putting off admin tasks,” says Katie Wadey from Simplyhealth, which commissioned the research, in a statement.

“We are currently facing a number of challenges, with the cost-of-living crisis, energy costs and NHS pressure, coupled with admin tasks increasing, it can feel overwhelming. Our findings show that for a fifth of Brits, the amount of admin they are required to do has increased in the past year.”

3 in 4 have no one to help them with paperwork

The study also finds that the average adult who lets things pile up will spend three months putting off what’s on their to-do-list. On reflection, 46 percent of all those polled wish they had learned how to complete common “life admin tasks” during their school years. Sadly, 74 percent say they don’t have someone they are able to turn to for help when they need it. Of those who do, their partner is the person they always go to, with moms and dads also high on the help list.

Nearly four in 10 would like more available assistance when they need to complete certain admin tasks, and 40 percent are more likely to do it successfully if they can do it online or using an app. The study, carried out by OnePoll, found that while 48 percent don’t enjoy doing paperwork, when it’s done, 89 percent feel satisfied.

Report by 72Point writer Lucy Brimble

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  1. Concur with this article. Further, old age exacerbates paperwork difficulty. One can add to that, the increasing complexity of financial transactions. When my beloved wife died in 2021, I found that Computershare would no accept my notarized signature nor a copy of her official death certificate as legal evidence that she had died and was no longer a shareholder in our stocks. Abuse of old people takes many forms: this is one of them. Marvin McConoughey

  2. Ever consider the ability of frontline bureaucrats ability to abuse the public without being caught & the longterm affects on the mental health of people who begin to attach the idea of paperwork with stress? such behavior is very expensive for any organization dependent on their clients filling out complex forms that significantly impact their lives.

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