How many hours a week do you really work?
April 15, 2005 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this recent post, I'm curious, how many hours a week do you really work?

I want you to subtract all the time you spend at work surfing the internets, taking personal calls on your cell, doing a #2 in the bathroom, checking your stocks and generally screwing around. Tell me how much face time you put in and how much you really work.
posted by quadog to Work & Money (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
i'd say i could do all the work i need to get done in a 40 hour week in about 7-10 hours. unfortunately, part of my job is answering phones/email and i get paid by the hour.

ergo: here i am on mefi.
posted by xz at 4:26 PM on April 15, 2005

Hmmm... Depending on the week... between 1 and 120 hours a week. Seriously, that's the way it goes.
posted by shepd at 4:30 PM on April 15, 2005

Someone else asked this question in the last couple months, but damned if I can find it.

I don't work a whole heck of a lot, but they want me here from 8 to 5. I'd estimate I actually do about 25 hours worth on any given week.
posted by Specklet at 4:35 PM on April 15, 2005

I kept track of it for a week last year, and while I was tending to work things all day off and on, actual time of doing work for my work ran around 3 hours a day total. The rest of the time was a lot of random junk one does at a job, like surf blogs in your employer's field (sort of like working, but not completely), eating lunch, and tending to personal email and errands.

After I ran this test for a week, I spent the following week working hard for 4 solid hours a day, no personal email, no distractions, and got more work done, while at the same I basically allowed myself to sign off after four hours, spending the second half of a day tending to all the personal junk I avoided like email and blogs and stuff. After a couple weeks of it I stopped and went back to my old habits of working on and off all day.
posted by mathowie at 4:37 PM on April 15, 2005

During a busy week, a whopping 30 hours. Most weeks, I'd say it's more like 20 hours.
posted by suchatreat at 4:43 PM on April 15, 2005

about 20 hours out of this week's 40, but before it was about 40 out of 60.
posted by angry modem at 4:52 PM on April 15, 2005

Previously: How Hard Do You Work?
posted by mlis at 4:55 PM on April 15, 2005

Daaaayum, I wish I worked a "real" job.

In my current job, I spend all my time working except for scheduled breaks and 5 minutes checking in/checking out per day. And 5 minutes or so flipping between songs on my iPod.

In my last job, I spent all my time working except for scheduled breaks.

(Semi-manual labor, no internet access. I do obsessively check e-mail on my lunch break).
posted by Jeanne at 5:00 PM on April 15, 2005

None! I am on a permanent disability pension for heart disease (my heart is 15% dead tissue). I have to take naps at odd and unpredictable times.

However, I weigh 210 pounds and my goal is 150. My cardiologist gave me the green light to push myself as hard as I can, so I walk/work out four hours each day. As an ex-Marine, I know how to push myself. I can start jogging again once I reach 170.

The rest of the day is devoted to music, writing, and programming natural language understanding modules.
posted by mischief at 5:07 PM on April 15, 2005

I think an interesting question would be, "If you job was to be creative, how long do you spend working?"

When I'm slacking off, you could say I'm just letting whatever creative ideas I'm having coalesce. That doesn't mean I disregard deadlines, which in Advertising, is pretty much nonstop.

So I'm pretty much working 40+ hours a week, despite it seeming that I'm just drinking beer most of the time.
posted by Stan Chin at 5:17 PM on April 15, 2005

When you are forced to write down all of your billable time in minute increments it becomes difficult to account for even 35 hours worked (tidying up the office, and internal matters not counting) without spending 50 or more hours in the office.
posted by caddis at 6:01 PM on April 15, 2005

I work probably 30 hours a week at my job (data analyst). Someone always wants numbers, and they want them yesterday. My hours are 8 to 4, and I have an hour lunch, so already I'm working only 7 hour days usually (only occasionally do overtime). I figure 6 hours a day I'm working, and then I have a few breaks and a few chit-chats with coworkers.
posted by veronitron at 6:02 PM on April 15, 2005

I work generally 3pm-10pm, nine days a fortnight. From 3-4 is reading the papers, which is actually work. From 4pm is into production which is non-stop hectic, with barely time to go to the bathroom or check email, though I probably use about an hour of that/eating/etc a night. So about 27 hours of high-stress graft a week.

God. Don't let management near these figures.
posted by bonaldi at 6:03 PM on April 15, 2005

45 hours a week. It used to be 50 - 60 per week, before I wised up.
posted by SPrintF at 7:21 PM on April 15, 2005

"If you job was to be creative, how long do you spend working?"

I work in a creative field. Last year, I worked a job where I some weeks I did maybe 5 hours of work in a 40 hour workweek. And I was seen by management as "efficient" because I never missed deadlines (buh!?!?).

This year, I'm working a job where I actually probably work close to 25 to 30 of my 40 hours.
posted by arielmeadow at 8:11 PM on April 15, 2005

80-100, yet to wise up.
posted by drpynchon at 9:00 PM on April 15, 2005

The so-called "Protestant work ethic" is an out-dated concept the ruling elites perpetuate to keep the masses over worked so they lack the leisure to realize they are living as modern day serfs.
posted by Goofyy at 11:58 PM on April 15, 2005

I have a loose definition of what constitutes work for my former part-time library job so I had expanded it to include AskMe, learning more about IM/Skype/Jybe for reference work, reading trade magazines, reading in general, writing talks [and researching for them], talking to co-workers about work, and fixing the reference and staff computers. That said, I still managed to probably put in only 15-17 hours a week [out of 20] of work and slacked doing non-work things the rest of the time. I'm with Goofyy, I have more of a hacker ethic w/r/t work so I'd rather have task assignments instead of "please be here from X to Y o'clock and do all your work within that time" and then I can work when I feel like working. My next job has more flexibility and I'm hoping I can up my work to slack ratio.
posted by jessamyn at 6:46 AM on April 16, 2005

I'm in here from 10am-7pm, 5 days a week, giving my paycheck a nice even 40 hours a week. Of those 40 hours, I'd say a good portion of them have nothing to do with my job at all and are really just me reading various blogs and gaming forums. When you think about it, typical cell phone activation takes about 30 minutes from sales pitch to sending them out the door, and I'm lucky to do maybe 1-5 lines/week. Accessory sales take a minute or two, tops.
posted by chickygrrl at 7:43 AM on April 16, 2005

Banker, based in London but with clients and colleagues all the way from San Francisco to Hong Kong to Lagos and lots of places in between.

I'm up at 5AM, at my desk by 6:45AM and don't get home until about 7PM. Lunch at my desk unless I'm with clients. I purposely restrict my internet to work related sites 'cause they be monitoring these days. And during dinner I'll sometimes take more calls and almost always do email.

I'd put it at maybe 60 to 90 hours a week. Obviously I have no social life and very little private time during the week. My single treat is an episode of some cartoon on DVD (South Park these days) at night, with wine, after dinner and before bed.

Last November I took GalPal to NYC on the Queen Mary 2 and did email one hour a day (she was disgusted to learn that there were wireless hotspots on the boat but pleased that the BlackBerry didn't work) operating from the theory it's better to invest a little time now rather then return to a situation.

That's my full time job. I also teach finance at a University one night a week, so add another ten hours to my total. I guess I'd put it at between 70 to 100 hours at week, with maybe %75 to %80 productivity. This doesn't include BizTrips which I consider absorb %100 of my time.

Yes, I am single. Yes, it does trash relationships (QM2 GalPal is no more). Yes, I do admit I'm powerless over my attraction towards work.

But since my work is my passion I have to say it sure as hell is fun.
posted by Mutant at 7:52 AM on April 16, 2005

my contract requires 7.5 hours per day but there is far more work than that to be done. i typically work at least an hour or more each day beyond my contract schedule (7:30-3:00) just to stay ahead. the upside is that i'm only required to keep this pace for about 9 months a year. i have done this job for the last 12 years. ntl, despite the schedule, i try to read the blue and green every day during my lunchtime.
posted by RockyChrysler at 8:30 AM on April 16, 2005

I can usually get the TPS reports done by 10 am, that's it for the day!
posted by Instrumental at 11:07 AM on April 16, 2005

Maybe half the time I'm at my desk, which should be twenty out of forty hours, but I'm a contract worker and don't go in daily. What's absurd is I could do my work any hour of the twenty-four, and from home, yet the powers-that-be want my ass there in a particular seat at a particular time. I'm a cataloger, fer chrissake. No public interaction whatsoever.
posted by goofyfoot at 12:09 PM on April 16, 2005

I get paid for 40 hours worth of work a week but I generally only do 25 hours worth of work.
posted by govtdrone at 12:54 PM on April 16, 2005

My job is feast or famine.

Some weeks I work 80 hours with nothing personal intervening, not even a lunch.

Other times I might log only 10 hours of work a week, most of which is answering phone calls and Email.
posted by thefinned1 at 3:05 PM on April 16, 2005

All those who take money for work they don't actually do are entitled to a free ride in a handbasket! Leaving now, for a much, much warmer place.

Sorry, I'll focus on the question at hand. Weelky hours of real work vary from around 35 to 60++. My line of work is very dependant on the economic cycle and when things are hot (now), we can't hire enough people to do the work (that's the 60++) and when things are slow, the good folk don't get laid off and are stockpiled for the next time those lovely clients have money to burn (that's the 35).
posted by skyscraper at 10:02 PM on April 16, 2005

I have to be in the office or running work errands 40 - 50 hours a week, but most of the time I don't really work all those hours. My last job I got to the point where I could usually do everything necessary in 3-4 actual work hours a day; this new job I seem to be heading in the same direction. I wish I could just go home instead of sitting there "working", it makes me feel guilty & bored & itchy. In my old job there were insane event weeks though where I would quite literally work without stopping for 100 hours or so - and I'm sure that will happen with this job as well eventually. I kind of like those weeks in a weird masochistic adrenaline driven way.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:36 PM on April 16, 2005

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