SIR KINGSLEY AMIS: I don't have to do any work if I don't want to] I generally work about three and a half hours in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.

GERRY COTTLE, circus proprietor: I stopped helping put the tent up about four years ago - as I get near 50 I have to take it steadier. I spend more time in the office now, but it's more fun to drive a lorry than balance the books.

SIR JOHN HARVEY-JONES'S SECRETARY: He's rushing around at the moment - he asked me to tell you he's sorry but he just doesn't have time to answer your question.

MARK NEWHOUSE, management consultant: Putting in lots of time isn't necessarily a good thing: hours of stale effort often achieve much less than a concentrated jolt of quality work. Other European countries realise this more than we do - in Germany, if you have to get in early and finish late to get through your workload, you're more likely to get a boot up the bum than a pat on the head.

SHIRLEY CONRAN, superwoman: I don't do so much these days - between eight and nine hours a day.

COLIN WHITE, farmer: In Exmoor, time isn't limited - you work until you stop. You see chaps going out at 9pm and the lights will come on in their houses at 6am. And some people worry about having to work a five-day-week] No wonder the country's going bankrupt.

TOM, bus driver: Never mind working hard, some of us are bloody glad to have a job at all.

SAMANTHA WELLS, teacher, mother of two: I wake up at 6.45 and invariably have work to do late at night. I have had a continual run of viral illnesses this year thanks to how hard I work - my face blew up like a tomato the other day.

SEAN HARVEY, student: Oh yeah, I'm always burning the midnight oil, studying till my eyes are square, just like all the other students in the land. In fact, I hate the idea of having a job, having to go to work every day whether I feel like it or not, though I suppose it has to come to us all eventually.

LOUISE NAYLOR, seven: Sometimes I help my mum but I don't really like it. She makes me dust the skirting boards because she says I'm closer to the ground than she is and I really hate that. I don't mind helping my grandad in the garden. He lets me throw the grass cuttings all over the place, and when I help him he gives me 50p.