Friday, March 20, 2009

Working Hours

Laura asked last week, I think, how many hours we work. There were a lot of responses to that that indicated people worked 50-60 hours a week. In some cases, I was thinking, when the heck do you sleep? Although I feel like I could do more every week, I like to keep my work, including housework, below 40 hours a week. I need downtime and sleep. I find I'm much more productive if I get plenty of that. I have 3 jobs right now--teaching, consulting, and mothering. For some reason, this week, I've kept pretty good track of my hours. On teaching this week, I've spent a little over 15 hours. I suspect I'll be around 18 by the end of the day. Consulting work has gotten the short end of the stick, with only about 7 hours. And then there's the mothering work, which is really hard to measure. Geeky Girl had a half-day yesterday, so that meant about 5 hours spent intermittently entertaining. Granted, I could probably have worked during that time, but I opted to take a break and get some housework done. I also made dinner every night this week for about 4 hours of work. And I did some laundry, taking about another 4 hours of time. I also attended a PTO meeting that lasted 2 hours. So that's 15 hours of housework combined with 18 hours of teaching, 7 hours of consulting for a total of 40 hours. I'm not counting in any of this the work that gets done on the weekend, nor the basic reading of materials I do for class--over break, I read two novels and watched a movie in preparation for class.

There's a real tension I think between the immediate needs and deadlines and the long term work that needs to be done. Consulting, right now, is a longer term prospect with no immediate deadlines for projects, so it's easy to push it to the back burner. But the marking of papers, the prepping for class, that has to get done. I can't show up for class without having read the material or planned a discussion around it. Feeding the family is also important and immediate. It's really hard to balance all of that and sometimes hard to justify spending time on longer term needs. I think my ideal would be for the balance to be shifted so that it's more like a 12/12/12 even split. I realize that once the semester ends, there won't be class-related work and the work will need to readjust again. It's funny to me though how I still feel like there's so much to do, so much I'm not getting done during the day even though I put in 40 hours a week.