Monday, February 04, 2013

How I Spend My Time

I bought a desktop task timer and have been using it this year to keep track of my activities at work. Just for fun, here's how I spent last week:

12 hours: Teaching CS 365 (includes teaching, preparing for teaching, making up problem sets, making up solutions, office hours, and answering student questions)
16 hours: Teaching CS 462 (same list as above, plus marking)
5 hours: answering e-mail
3 hours: talking with graduate students
5 hours: editorial duties for the journals I edit
1 hour: miscellaneous organizational tasks
1 hour: research

Total this week: 43 hours (we are paid for 35). During a non-teaching term, I spend much less time teaching and much more time on research, refereeing, and so forth.


Deane said...

You obviously work harder than I do. I'd never want to keep track of how I spend my time. And if I did, I'd never reveal it publicly. No way I want anyone to know how lazy I am.

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos said...

I'm impressed with the time you put in on your courses.

~~ Paul

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I'd never want to keep track of how I spend my time

It's part of my answer to increasing institutional demands that we account for our time. We are asked, for example, to state what percentage of our time we spend on teaching, research, and service. With the timer, I will know much more accurately.

I find having the timer is useful because it helps me realize when I am actually working and when I am just surfing or other kinds of wasting time.

Takis Konstantopoulos said...

When I was in the UK we were asked these things too. Interestingly, however, we had to fill in our time sheets online and the university had decided beforehand how much we were supposed to work. So, if I worked more (and I did), there was no way to enter that in the forms.

If I wrote, as you did, 28 hours for teaching, 5 for email, 3 for graduate students, 5 for editorial work, 1 hour for administration, and 1 hour for research, the program would compute the total, 43 hours, and respond "your report cannot be submitted because the total number of hours exceeds your allocated one (35 hours)".

And so, there was no way to `officially' inform the administrators that I worked much more than I was paid for. This system protected (protects) the administrators from legal obligations. You cannot claim you worked more, as your form said 35 hours.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Did you buy the Canadian version of the timer? If so, then it is reported in metric time, and you have to do the conversion...

Unknown said...

Seriously: I do not get it.
How do paid fulltime mathematicians, computer scientists, and physical scientists, produce so prolifically (certainly compared to moi) with material of such great depth and abstractness (especially in the case of math), & attend to all their non-research duties.. while doing only 1 hour of research a day?

I've been fulltime UNemployed for more than 7 years. And, in meantime that I search for jobs, live an austere life off meager my savings, I put in 4 or 5 hours of pure-math research a day.
Yet, for the past 16 years I've averaged putting out maybe 1 peer-reviewed pure-math paper every 4 years.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

As I said at the top, on non-teaching terms I can devote a lot more time to research. Sometimes it's 20 or 30 or 40 hours a week.