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How many hours a day are you productive?

6 days ago from , Product Designer

I read somewhere that designers are only productive for 3 hours a day. Personally, I have a short attention span and unless I have a deadline I find it difficult to stay consistently focused.

If you had to quantify the amount of time you get work done during the day what would that be?

12 comments

  • Stephan Lenting, 3 days ago

    I’d argue most “non-productive” time is well spend by giving my brain room to think about current projects. It really helps to fill your brain with some problem and than let it sink in for a bit.

    Deadlines are a great way for me to unlock creativity, because that means i really have to deliver. It’s surprising to see what you can do under a bit of pressure and in a small amount of time. But that doesn’t work all day. I’d say it especially works when the rest of the day is a bit of a drag or slow. At least for me.

    So i guess it really depends on the type of projects for me. I consider every hour at the office as a part of my job, i think goofing around for a few minutes with co-workers is part of my job and talking to them about various subjects is part of my job. Those are underestimated ways of connecting, building team spirit and inspiring your creativity. As long as you get your work done, you are happy with your work and your clients are happy, there’s no reason to change.

    6 points
  • Kirsten Felbert, 3 days ago

    Hey I use Toggl to track my work time and I find that if I don't have a major deadline I'm productive for about 5 hours a day. If I have a big deadline this will increase (Can be dramatically). I do not track when I'm answering emails though and doing admin that can't be charged to client.

    3 points
  • Robert MapleRobert Maple, 7 hours ago

    I highly recommend giving the pomodoro technique a try. Not only does it help with focussing / productivity but it also helps to quantify your time and give you an insight into how you spend your time and what you get done with it.

    2 points
  • Paul BamfordPaul Bamford, 1 day ago

    Productivity can be hard to nail down and depends on your role. I’m in the problem solving business, so when I go in to a spell of what you might call focused “productivity” it’s culmination of all the research I’ve done, the conversations over lunch, the semi related article I read the day before and the magic of a good night’s sleep putting it all in order somehow.

    It’s about added value. There’s so much time there when I’m not in Sketch cranking out screens. So producing “things” isn’t necessarily being productive.

    So to address the question part I’d say 3 hours of conscious effort sounds about right.

    1 point
  • Irene Hontanosas, 11 hours ago

    As a remote designer, it's really hard to stay focus with no interruptions in a day. I'd say roughly three hours I considered as a productive one. During those hours I already collated design inspirations or read articles that are related to my project. So within those hours, I already have a rough draft for my mockup and starting to design it in Sketch.

    I think some of the people might think that three hours in a day of being productive is being lazy because we all know that the usual working hours per day is eight. But for me, I really don't believe that people solidly working within those eight hours. IMO, as long as you submit your best work before the deadline that would be great already.

    1 point
  • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, 3 days ago

    Yea, this kinda depends on what you mean by productivity. Spacing out can technically be productive if it leads to some creative breakthrough. I'm not sure how to quantify such a thing to be honest.

    0 points
  • Darinka Kostelnik, 12 hours ago

    Imagine you only have an hour a day you can spend uniterrupted behind a computer. How would that change your priorities? What would you work on? How would you go about it? (That said, you have unlimited brain time, so you can prepare everything inside your head.)

    I am a mommy on maternity leave and this is a situation I find myself in now. I've never been so productive.

    Talk about a little bit of pressure that can unlock you, but imagine on top of that, you have very limited time frame. Try it! It will be worth it.

    0 points
  • Todd CantleyTodd Cantley, 5 hours ago

    ~3 hours in the morning, ~2 at night

    0 points
  • Alejandro DorantesAlejandro Dorantes, 7 minutes ago

    6/8 Generally

    I peak around 80% productivity according to RescueTime

    0 points
  • iterati designiterati design, 3 days ago

    I could easily get 8 hours of focused work out of 12 spent in the office, including 2-3 30min calls.

    I'd also count calls and meetings as productive, because you move forward with sharing work, alignment and decisions.

    That being said, I got burned out :)

    0 points
    • Astrit Malsija, 3 days ago

      8 of 12 ? Only if you have 2 years of experience , it is hard to admit to your self but specially on the office is impossible to be productive 8hr on average another case is during the night for example I spent easily 8hr working not during the day tho.

      0 points
  • Scott de JongeScott de Jonge, 4 minutes ago

    I like to keep the 8/8/8 balance.

    I am productive for 8 hours a day in a work/housework facility

    I make my own time for 8 hours: breakfast, lunch, breaks, dinner, nighttime relaxation.

    Then 8 hours (minimum) of sleep.

    So my career might get 6 of the 8 productive hours a day. There is little value in myself giving more then that unless it is rewarded elsewhere in time or financial return.

    0 points