i get what you are saying. and i work 8 hours a day also.
however, every week i have to go to several all-company meetings (not related a specific project), help other designers with things, meetings regarding process, meetings with my boss, etc. these are paid for by my salary (8 hrs/day, 40 hrs/week) and “billed” to the clients (our company is very weird, so the billing process is a bit convoluted), but they are what i would consider “overhead” time…time not directly connected to a specific project (and the company is aware of that).
yes, waiting for a file to upload, finding specific fonts for a project, pre-press, waiting for files to upload, communication with a client, etc. are all directly connected to a specific project and time is recorded for those on the individual project.
i think it’s totally different when you are working for yourself or your own business then when you are working for an organization that puts all sorts of other time constraints and requirements on you.
we are trying to find the average % of time spent on overhead tasks vs direct project-related tasks. there aren’t strict rules (nor will there be) on how much time we have to or don’t have to spend on design; we are only trying to get a ballpark figure.
we have one designer who wastes time bs-ing about all sorts of crap, on his phone every 10 minutes texting people (he’s building a side-business), etc. if we can show that the other designers—given company time restraints—put in 5-7 hours a day of project/design work, and he’s only putting in 3-4, then we have hard data --not just people noticing it --to show his non-productivity, and can address it.
hope that makes sense.