Detailed status reports requested by my manager are a waste of time

My manager has asked for gory detail status reports that I think are a waste of time. Do I just have to give in and do them? Are there alternatives?
Have you asked your manager why he needs that level of detail? Having the open conversation—in a positive atmosphere of wanting to know, not complaining and demanding justification—should provide benefits to both parties. It could be that the request is just the way it's always been done, which could lead to a discussion of the value of information vs. the time it takes to create it. The manager may not realize the overhead penalty the report writing effort creates. She may need the data because someone higher up is asking for it. Focus on exactly what data is really needed, by whom, and why, and see if it's possible to prioritize information, reduce detail, or convey the information in a different way, in order to save you time while still addressing the core needs.

The key point here is to have a respectful conversation and pose the question. Objectively share the implications of their status request—the impact it has on your productivity or project progress—while acknowledging your desire to make sure they have what they really need. Don't inadvertently disrespect their apparent need for information. If you don't ask, you won't know. With a good conversation on how to make it work well for both of you, you could achieve a reduction in your status reporting work, and end up saving the time (and winning the undying gratitude) of everyone else who's been thinking the same thing!

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