How much time do you ACTUALLY spend doing work?

over 5 years ago from , I am a Web Designer/Developer

Working in a small-mid sized agency i may be working with 6-10 clients at any one time and from the client follow ups (calls/emails), chasing content, sourcing photography, internal business meetings, new client proposals, dealing with previous clients (and whatever else the day can throw at me)

I probably use around 35-40% of a week for design and development work and the rest of my time is tied up in other duties. Is anybody else in the same boat?

Designing & developing websites is what i was hired to do in the first place although client communication also plays a large role how can this be better managed?

As a designer/developer how is your week structured do you have dedicated resources for managing clients and only deal with your 'area of expertise'?


  • Derryl CarterDerryl Carter, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Daily schedule

    • Designing/prototyping (5 min)
    • Coding (15 min)
    • Debugging (45 min)
    • Lurking on DN (6 hours)
    1 point
  • Ricardo MagalhãesRicardo Magalhães, over 5 years ago

    When I was working for office companies, the bigger they were, the more meetings, planning, and gatherings we had... at one point, I was working for a company here in London where only about 30% of my 7/8h working day was actually doing any development.

    The rest of the time was planning, logging, etc.

    This actually pissed me off quite a bit, and it was one of the reasons I wanted a change. As a developer, I can't afford to spend only about 30% of my time doing actual development; I realise planning and meetings are a necessary requirement for big projects to run smoothly, but for me it simply wasn't working.

    Now that I'm working remotely, I have to be careful... because about 80% of my day is actual work! And this can be exhausting. When I first started working remotely, not having any distractions meant I was always on the zone. After 5h, I was exhausted.

    So now I'm learning how to take breaks, because efficiency certainly isn't measured by the % of time you're doing work!

    1 point
    • Nicholas KatsambirisNicholas Katsambiris, over 5 years ago

      Ricardo - I am in the exact same boat as you were. All i want to do is open up sublime and spend a whole day coding away but there is so many other things that take over the project cycle that you end up feeling like a paper pusher.

      1 point
  • Matt Anderson, over 5 years ago

    Rescue Time works well for tracking time in individual apps automatically.

    It gives you a daily/weekly etc. breakdown of where your time has been spent. For instance: 36% of my day so far has been spent on Design and Composition.

    1 point
  • Giovanni HobbinsGiovanni Hobbins, over 5 years ago

    Even though I'm in a different context, I feel your pain. Co-founded an edtech startup (only 5 employees) and spend most of my time managing front end devs, writing specs, doing QA, user research, and support. Being able to set aside a chunk of the day to work on design is still the highlight of my day.

    1 point
    • Seun DebiyiSeun Debiyi, over 5 years ago

      I feel your pain. What you're doing sounds exactly the same as my typical day with my detect startup. The design part is like my little treat to myself haha

      1 point
  • Audra Harisson, 4 years ago

    As a designer you need to make sure that you are managing your time and tasks well to ensure your productivity. Using web-based time tracking tools is an effective way to make sure that you are handling your time well. Websites like https://www.clockspot.com/ can help you find the best time tracking tool for your projects.

    0 points
  • Keaton TaylorKeaton Taylor, over 5 years ago

    It sounds like you're doing the work of 4 other people.

    There should be a project manager somewhere in there insulating you from some of that client interaction. Not all of it, obviously but I'd argue that if you're hemorraging productive time that badly, something might need to change.

    I run at around 50-70% billable depending on the project. We track time through harvest but mostly just as a paper trail and a helpful productivity reminder.

    0 points
  • Seun DebiyiSeun Debiyi, over 5 years ago

    I feel your pain. What you're doing sounds exactly the same as my typical day with my detect startup. The design part is like my little treat to myself haha

    0 points
  • Adrian PelletierAdrian Pelletier, over 5 years ago

    I run my entire business, no other employees, and find that about 6 hours is the most design/dev work I can fit into a full workday. The rest of my time is spent dealing with clients, responding to emails, and other general business upkeep.

    As others have voiced already, I highly recommend using an app/service to track your billable hours each day. I use Billings but there are many alternatives. The key benefit in tracking hours is it gives me an invaluable record of completed jobs that I can compare with when quoting new work.

    0 points
  • Bryant HughesBryant Hughes, over 5 years ago

    At our three person design/dev shop we shoot for 70% billable work over the course of the year. 2014 we were slightly under, but 2013 we were slightly over.

    0 points
  • Erin LynchErin Lynch, over 5 years ago

    We fit right around the 35-45% as well. Wish it could be more, but there is a lot of client and pm work to do every day. We have a small studio of 2-3, so we need to wear many hats. We wish it was more design/dev time, but until we get a bit larger and hire a proper pm we have to split our days between business tasks and actual design work.

    0 points
  • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, over 5 years ago

    Hire people like me, who are the opposite.

    I work for a small enough company that I don't have time to do the maths, the research, the q&a, the testing, etc, because I'm punching buttons to keep the devs busy.

    In short: don't grow outside your role if you don't want to?

    0 points