"How many hours do professors work" keeps showing up in the list of keywords used by people who find this blog, and it has come up in some comments before, but I don't think I have ever really addressed it directly. There is of course no single answer.
Even if I attempt to answer it for how many hours I work, the number varies a lot from day to day and week to week. In general, though, it's somewhere between 50-70 hours/week.
Here's how it adds up:
In a typical week, I work the usual hours during the work day. The working day starts for my husband and me after we take our daughter to school in the morning.
My daughter's school gets out at 4 pm, then she goes to an afterschool play program until 5:45 (except for the day she has piano lessons, when we retrieve her early -- if there's a faculty meeting, we flip a coin to see who stays at the meeting and who goes to piano lesson -- the loser stays at the meeting). She loves the afterschool play time. She used to only do it a few days a week and my husband and I would take turns leaving the office early, but this year she requested to go to it all 5 days. Apparently, attending part time was disruptive to her intricate and exciting social life.
So, I typically stay at the office until 5:30. Three nights/week, I work after dinner and after some family/evening time, and I typically work until midnight-1 a.m. That 'extra' 12-15 hours each week is when I get my writing/thinking done, as the days are typically consumed by meetings, advising, teaching, and so on.
If I need to, I also work a bit on weekends. This is a good time to get some work done in the lab, get ready for the week's teaching, do some grading, and so on. I work while my husband takes our daughter to swimming lessons etc.
Therefore, in a week in which neither my husband or I are traveling, I work somewhere between 50-70 hours. For most of that time, my daughter is either at school or asleep, so I don't feel like I'm sacrificing anything but my own sleep (and housework.. we have a house-cleaner who comes every few weeks). This schedule works well for my husband and me because we see each other at work every day and we have lunch together every day. Also, he has the same kind of schedule/life so we're both in it together.
6 months ago