Time is a perennial issue (<-- attempt at humor). How do we accomplish anything (or, at least, enough) in a job that could take infinite time, even if we didn't do anything else (e.g., spend time with other people, eat, sleep etc.)? The issue came up several times this week in the following ways: 1. I was, as usual, asked the oft-asked question: How many hours do you work/week?
2. A new assistant professor (with a minimal teaching and administrative load in his first year) asked: When do I get time for research?
3. A soon-to-graduate Ph.D. who already has a tenure-track position lined up asked: Now it gets easier because I can advise students who will do a lot of the work, right?
My answers to these questions, in reverse order to that listed above:
3. I don't know if it will get easier or not (it depends a lot on the person/situation), but it will not get easier for the reason stated.
2. You don't get time, you have to find time -- perhaps by an alchemical reaction that makes time out of non-time, but you have to find it somehow.
1. This is the most difficult question of the three to answer because I work a lot of random hours in addition to the standard work week. The short answer is: I work between 40-75 hours/week, but I rarely work 40 or 75 hours/week -- a 'typical' week, which probably doesn't exist, is somewhere in between.
At some point in my blog-past, I described our family system (instituted when the offspring appeared) in which I get 3 nights/week to do whatever I want (work, not work, do errands, sit in a cafe and compose haiku, make cat videos for posting on YouTube etc.), and my husband gets 3 nights/week to do whatever he wants (work). Also, if I so choose, I typically get some weekend time to work while my daughter is involved in various activities. Of course this system falls apart when one of us is traveling, but in general it works pretty well. If I need to, I can find a lot of extra time to get things done, or at least the 57 most essential things that need doing right away.