By Jonathan Davies

What does a day in the life of a marketer look like? Well, a new survey has given an insight into how the marketing buffs work. And AtTask, the company behind the research, says marketers need to work smarter.

Among the findings, long hours and lots of disruptions from external sources show that marketers need better structure and tools to get more from their workdays.

The survey found that nearly one in four marketing professionals works 10 or more hours on an average day. Thirty-six percent of respondents said interruptions were a major distraction to their workdays, while more than a third said they spend three to four hours a day in email.

AtTask also found marketers to be multitasking machines. Forty-one percent said they frequently multitask during meetings - but they're not all proud of doing it; 43% of those who do multitask during meetings said they do so reluctantly.

Markters also suffer from 'application overload'. Opening, closing and switching between applications can cause a big drain on the day, marketers said. To avoid that drain, 82% said they typically have at least six different applications running on a computer at any given time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, marketers aren't very good at taking their lunch breaks. More than half (56%) of those surveyed said they eat their lunch at their desk before resuming work, with a much smaller number eating lunch in a break room or leaving the office entirely.

AtTask Chief Marketing Officer Joe Staples, said: “In a fast-paced marketing environment, efficiency is everything.

“This survey validates what we know to be true–that marketers can’t expect mythical extra hours to be added to their workday, even while all of the interruptions and distractions push them into overtime to finish projects. Instead, they need to do more with the time they have, and that can happen with better collaboration, visibility and communication. Marketers lose too much time to problems that could be avoided or resolved with the right structure and tools.”

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