I've noticed that there are many cases where more time is spent on preparation and other things around the actual work that's intended to be done. For example, at school, very little time is spent learning - most of it is spent commuting, going from class to class, doing homework, waiting for the teacher, etc.
Similarly, as a web developer, I don't spend very much time actually writing code. I end up spending most of my time compiling projects, looking for bugs with our bug tracking system, updating the status of those bugs, etc.
What do we call these activities that aren't the focus of our time, but end up taking up a lot of it anyway?
edit: The word "peripheral" came to mind. I'm not sure if this is what I'm looking for though.