When Your Entire Work Day Is Made Up Of Interruptions
from the can-you-read-this-whole-post-without-being-interrupted? dept
Admitting that his column is a few months late due to (what else?) interruptions, Mike Langberg of the San Jose Mercury News, writes about how interruptions are taking over the workday. The column includes all of the various interruptions that occurred as Langberg wrote the column, and will probably ring familiar to many readers. Hell, just in writing this post alone, I stopped to answer the phone (twice), responded to an instant message, checked my email, deleted some spam and promised (but have not yet actually done it) to vacuum the house. As the article notes, the real issue isn't so much the interruptions, as the time it takes people to get back to work after the interruptions occur. Breaking that train of thought can really kill a lot of time as you try to get back on track. While the study that Langberg is talking about predicts that one day our whole day will simply be taken up by interruptions, what it really means is that we need better services and technology to manage these things. In the past, there's been talk about systems that understand what you're working on and can interact appropriately. For example, if you're busy writing something, you shouldn't be interrupted, and all calls will go straight to voicemail and emails will be held until you've stopped to take a break (unless, of course, the system recognizes that those calls or emails are especially important). So, perhaps the next hot area to focus on will be ways to give people back their own undivided attention -- though, others will simply claim that a better solution would be for people to learn how to multi-task better. Perhaps the answer is a bit of both need to happen. In the meantime, various interruptions got the better of me on this post also, and while I did eventually vacuum, this post is going up much later than originally intended. Damn those interruptions.