The phrase "work around the clock" is an idiom, which is a phrase with a figurative meaning. This particular idiom means to work all day and all night, or seven days a week, 24 hours each day. No person is actually able to work such hours, but the phrase is often used when a person works much longer than the average. In such a case, he may feel as if he works all the time because he has little time for rest and socializing. Some people may also say they work around the clock when they have both work and family responsibilities that take up most of their time.
This phrase is usually used to mean a person works all day and night, seven days per week, although this is not technically possible. A person may use this phrase to describe someone who works extended hours rather than literally all day and night. If working 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday is the norm in a particular area, the phrase working "around the clock" may apply to someone who works 7 AM to 10 PM six days per week.
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Often, it is easy to identify someone who works a great deal based on certain lifestyle characteristics. In many cases, a person who fits this description has little time for anything besides work. He may have to neglect housework because of his work schedule, and he may have little-to-no free time for entertainment and socializing. A person who fits this description may sometimes neglect himself as well; he might not sleep enough or get adequate exercise because of his work schedule. He may also eat poorly because he is too busy or too exhausted to prepare nutritious meals.
Sometimes, a person may fit this description if he works several hours at a job or business most days of the week and then has at-home responsibilities that take up much of his time. For instance, if a person works eight hours per day and then goes home to cook, clean, and care for dependents, he may feel as if he works around the clock.