Ask An Expert: Why am I Spending So Much Time Editing?


ASK AN EXPERT:  How Can I Save Time Editing My Team’s Work?

Q: I can’t believe how much of my week is spent editing and rewriting my team’s documents. It’s beginning to cut into my own workload. What can I do to help my team improve their reports so that I can get back to my own work?

A: Yes, creating well-written, well-edited documents is vital. But if you’re spending so much time fixing other people’s writing that you can’t complete your own responsibilities, something needs to change, fast.
I recently spoke to a manager who spent an average of 16 hours each week editing the work of the engineers that he supervised. I had to wonder: How much is he paid, and how much is that lost time costing the company? Not to mention that all that editing time prevented him from completing his own work, which could jeopardize his good standing with his supervisors.

Loading all the editing work on team managers creates a high level of stress and frustration for those tasked with editing. And that frustration is behind most of the calls that we get at Hurley Write. To make a bad situation worse, upper management may not realize that the problem even exists! They see only the final, polished document, not the back-breaking process the manager went through to get it to that stage.

Breaking this cycle is crucial. If you continue as you are, your team members will have no reason to improve their writing or their processes. After all, they know that you’ll rewrite the work anyway.

Giving your team the strategies they need to write and edit well will save time and money and decrease stress for both the writers and the managers who must deal with the documentation. Scientists and engineers will enjoy less micromanaging and supervisors will enjoy less time away from their other work tasks.

Identify which skills your team lacks by evaluating where you’re making the most corrections. Are your writers reading the audience incorrectly? Is their text unfocused or rambling? Are there multiple grammatical errors? Or are they simply putting off the work to the point that it disrupts planned schedules? Whatever the reason, a writing course that offers targeted exercises and direct feedback can help you get your editing tasks back under control.