Potions and certain items grant benefits like enhancing smithing or having increased health generation for a certain duration. How is this time measured? Is this clock time or in-game time? Does time spent in menus count against the given time?
The duration for effects are all measured in clock time1. The game time, by default, is set to a scale of 20, so 1 minute in real time is equivalent to 20 minutes in game time.
This other question explains exactly what actions freeze the game time.
1Waiting and fast travel, despite not advancing much clock time, does count against the durations.
I always had problems with his in-game/real-life times also :) Do I understand correctly then: Enemy frozen for 60 seconds will then mean that he will be frozen for (only) 3 of my real-life seconds?– LudoMCJan 11, 2012 at 18:31
2@LudoMC you have it the other way around. If a potion says the effect will last 60 seconds, it will last 60 real time seconds, which is roughly equivalent to 20 in game minutes.– l IJan 11, 2012 at 19:12
I knew I was always wrong with this :) Thanks for the clarification, makes far more sense this way. I'll start again making potions then!– LudoMCJan 11, 2012 at 19:46
1It's worth noting that time pauses when talking to shopkeepers, but not when using a grindstone, forge, alchemy table, furnace, enchanting table, or anything where animation continues. This means you can take your time with a Potion of Fortify Barter, but need to hurry with your Potion of Fortify Smithing. Jan 12, 2012 at 0:42
I didn't see it listed in related questions, but shrines that confer a blessing for 8 hours are 8 real hours. That's almost a week in Skyrim. The Gift of Charity lasts 60 real minutes, so that's the better part of a day in Skyrim. The rested bonuses are different. Those last for 8 in game hours, or 24 real minutes.– Jtenorj3Mar 18, 2017 at 18:14