Multitasking IV

Fascinating article in the NY Times about “Life Hackers” — Meet the Life Hackers. I learned way too much about things like the “science of interruptions” and those that study such things. One researcher, Gloria Mark, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, is quoted in the article:

When Mark crunched the data, a picture of 21st-century office work emerged that was, she says, “far worse than I could ever have imagined.” Each employee spent only 11 minutes on any given project before being interrupted and whisked off to do something else. What’s more, each 11-minute project was itself fragmented into even shorter three-minute tasks, like answering e-mail messages, reading a Web page or working on a spreadsheet. And each time a worker was distracted from a task, it would take, on average, 25 minutes to return to that task. To perform an office job today, it seems, your attention must skip like a stone across water all day long, touching down only periodically.

Eleven minutes of three minute tasks? Wow. That’s multitasking for sure. I’ve written about multitasking because I find it interesting, but I’m taking steps to snuff it out of my work life. I don’t want my attention “skipping like a stone across water all day long” because it simply too distracting. I’ve improved greatly, although I still work too many hours. 🙂 That’s next. But at least now, I’m focusing on a few related tasks at a time. I find that multitasking only reduces the quality of my work and harms my health. And yes, it took 20 years of multitasking to figure that out. I’m slow.


One thought on “Multitasking IV

  1. I agree… I was also distracted too much. I now make it a point to remove all IM clients, no email client notification, I check email once every 4hrs, and devote the next 10-15mins for replying. Get out in 8-10 hrs of work.And I flex my arms every half hour to prevent that typing induced stress..


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