I’m ‘at work’ generally from 8am to a little after 5pm and am mostly working throughout the day bar the occasional pit-stop for coffee and lunch. That time can vary a bit depending on the experiments I might be running that day. I can also spend a fair amount of time in the evenings and occasional at weekends reading journal articles and papers. As I’m currently into the last 6 months of my doctorate I expect that’ll I’ll be spending a lot more time ‘outside of work’ trying to write my thesis and get everything finished off in time! It’s always important to still give yourself breaks and have the occasional holiday to recharge the old brain and as Helen said, inspiration can always strike you in the most unexpected place!
Its tends to be a bit variable depending on where we are with a mission and how soon we have to ship the spacecraft. Mostly its a 7 and a half our day but when we get close to delivering we have longer days. Basically working on a space mission is a project where we start with a plan and plans often go wrong or at least slip so you have find ways of getting back lost time. Getting more people to work on a mission that is already running late doesn’t usually help and can make things worse. Both Hollie and Helen have mentioned how important time off from work is and they are absolutely correct. Very often if I am stuck on a problem I will walk away from it and perhaps go home as I know I need space and time to let my mind think it through while I am thinking about something completely different. Oddly driving home is often I time when a solution just occurs to me.