Have you ever left the office feeling exhausted after a hectic day where it seemed as if all you did was talk on the phone and respond to emails? Whenever that happens to me, I’m inclined to blame myself for lacking the focus or discipline to stick to task. But truth is, apparently, the difficulty with staying on task in this sound-bite, fast moving, multi-tasking age isn’t a personal deficiency. Rather, it’s a logical outgrowth of technology that enables us to do so much that it constantly sends us into overdrive. That’s part of the message of this NYT Magazine piece by Clive Thomas, Meet the Life Hackers (thanks to GAL for the tip and his post on the piece).
We solos face these issues even more directly because we don’t always have the luxury of delegating a return phone call or email to a subordinate. So it’s all too easy to get pulled away from what we’re working on. And as Thomas’ piece points out, the problem with the interruption isn’t so much the time consumed by the new task, rather, it’s the time that’s required to resume the previous one.
I don’t know that the article offered many solutions to the problem of interruptions; it’s still a topic being studied by scientists. But at least it made me realize that there’s not something wrong with me – and that realization will at least improve my mood after one of those harried days when I get nothing done.