Women workers waste less time on the job than men do.

Women generally also spend more time each day primping and on "personal hygiene" than do men - but just barely. Working women spend an average of 59 minutes a day on their appearance, housewives 52 and men 42 minutes.

These are among the discoveries of a University of Michigan survey just released, a survey based on diaries kept by 1,500 individuals for six weeks in 1975.

The survey was one of a series of Michigan studies on the American use of time that have involved 5,000 subjects over the last 10 years.

The survey found that men watch more television than women. Men watch, on the average, an hour and 39 minutes a day; housewives, 3 minutes less than that and working women an hour and two minutes.

At work it was found the average woman wastes 35 minutes, in a typical day, compared to 52 minutes for the average man.

According to the study, the coffee-break factor translates into an increase in the gap between men's and women's pay. Men making $7 an hour and spending 52 minutes of each day not earning it are really making $8.48 an hour. Women paid an average $4.34 an hour are really earning $4.86 an hour when the coffee-break factor is computed.

The use of time project was funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The series of studies, which have been going on since 1965, has culminated in a book written by one of the researches, John P. Robinson, a communications professor at Cleveland State University.

"It seems employers are getting a lot more of women's work investments than men's," he said.

That's not all. When working women go home, according to the study, things get worse.

The average working wife spends 25 hours a week doing housework - in addition to her job. Her husband works around the house 10 hours or so a week.

In addition, the wife must content herself with the dull jobs at home.

"We've found the rountine tasks are considered women's problems." said RobinsoN, "while the decision-making stuff, the balancing of the checkbook and so on, is left to th men."

Then, too, there's time spent with the children. Women's time is "custodial," meaning it consists mainly of washing and feeding youngsters. Men's time with their children is "interactional," or playtime.

If this is not surprising to you, that may be because you are a woman. The study, Robinson pointed out, is one of perception and not necessarily reality. People keeping diaries in his words, "may have gilded the lily a bit."

For instance, women see themselves as working 12 per cent harder than men see themselves working, according to a formula used in the study.

Women with both children and jobs see themselves as nearly twice as harassed as women with no children and no job.

The strange thing about the study, according to Robinson, is that women don't seem to mind.

For instance, accorindg to Robinson, women may do more housework because they don't like the their husband do it.

"In our interviews, we had accounts where men try to help and get rebuffed," said Robinson, "something like the idea of territoriality."

Too, the study found that women do more housework tha men, whether they are married or single.

Single women spend 218 minutes a week cleaning their abodes. Single men finish the task, such as it is, in 51 minutes every week.

The 10-year study also found women spend more time in church than men, and consider religion more important than men do. Women spend a weekly average of 77 minutes in organized religious services if they are married, 56 minutes a week if they are single. Men, married and single, spend 42 minutes weekly in church or synagogue.

Women surveyed found "much satisfaction" in religion on the whole, while men found "some satisfaction" in it.

University of Michigan economists Frank Stafford and Greg Duncan, who worked with Robinson on the study, also found that the higher the monthly income of individuals, the more breaktime they took while on the job.

High-wage earners, young people, operatives, and craftsmen spent the most time in coffee breaks and the like, while unmaried women, part-time employees, union members, and professionals expended the most effort on the job.

Married men expanded a bit more effort at work than did unmarried men, but they also took a little more time off for breaks.