28
February
2006

Interruptions kill productivity 23:09 on Tuesday

Computers reduce productivity by providing at least two ways for an increasing amount of interruptions to enter our lives:

  • Interruptions from unnecessary multitasking
  • Interruptions from increased (and possibly unnecessary) ways of communication

By unnecessary multitasking I refer to so called “switching to professor mode”. More often than we would like to admit, computers require a lot of thought to operate. When problems arise, the amount of thought required very quickly surpasses the attention span of a regular user, let alone their technical knowledge. The unlucky of us who profess a higher skill with digital problem solving spend many unnecessary hours remedying a problem we wouldn’t even have if it wasn’t for computers.

Computers also provide us with a multitude of ways to stay connected at all times. We let our email software check for new messages automatically every 5 minutes, any of our 60 closest buddies can instant message us at any moment, and constantly refreshing RSS feeds keep us updated on what’s going on with our topics of interest. This always-on mindset creates a false sense of being able to respond quickly to any challenge that may arise.

It can be extremely difficult to arrange uninterrupted, productive, quality time between yourself and your computer. And when you’ve finally managed to log off the email, AIM, MSN and Skype, it takes a lot to stay motivated when your software tools crash and send you into the professor mode once again.

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