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Further Musings On Time Breakdowns

Further musings on time breakdowns

While I always analyze how I spent my time in the past semester or year, I never really look at the broad categories.

I want to put a further lid on work and quit overwork . I still have 30 years or more to go until I can retire, so I’m going to need to leave more gas in my tank to make it to the end. I’ve also been diving into the work-life balance literature again, and am reminded of how I am “robbing” other potential faculty of work by taking on the work of more than one person. I want to return to the stipulated boundaries of my contract.

My official time division for my job description is unrealistic (only 1.5 hours per week should be spent on teaching, and I’m already 3 hours a week in the classroom, I have thesis students, and I am also the advisor of something like 30 students that I need to interview, evaluate, and report on each semester). Instead, I looked at faculty workload breakdowns that I found online. For a research-oriented faculty member, the breakdown of time spent should be about 60% research, 30% teaching, and 10% service.

I used my 2022 time tracking data to look at how I spent my time in the broad categories of admin, blog, conferences (I really didn’t know where to put conferences if not in its own category), research, service, and teaching.

Doing this analysis, I found the following results. In 2022 my breakdown between categories was:

  • 12.20% on admin
  • 7.18% on blog/podcast
  • 3.24% on conferences
  • 33.74% on research
  • 20.50% on service
  • 23.15% on teaching

Ideally, these percentages would look differently. I’m not going to be able to spend 60% of my time on research, but here is my ideal breakdown of tasks:

  • 10% on admin
  • 7.5% on blog/podcast
  • 2.5% on conferences
  • 40% on research
  • 10% on service
  • 30% on teaching

In a 40-hour workweek, the hours in each category would be:

  • 4h on admin
  • 3h on blog/podcast
  • 1h on conferences (OK, this one is not realistic, as conferences are done in chunks of a week or so at a time)
  • 16h on research
  • 4h on service
  • 12h on teaching

In my current weekly template, the breakdown is as follows (note that the total sum of hours is 42):

  • 3h on admin
  • 4 h on blog
  • 0 h for conferences (for the above mentioned reason)
  • 20 h for research (but meetings often eat into this reserved time)
  • 6 h for service
  • 9 h for teaching

All in all, from this exercise I am learning to be a bit more mindful with the service tasks that I take on. The easiest way to get to 40 hours is to cut off 2 hours of service – but with my current commitments, doing so would be difficult.

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