Craig Roth takes on a familiar topic - digital disruptions - and checks some assumptions we may have about the topic. Are Digital Distractions Harming Labour Productivity? Maybe Not As Much As You Think:
Emails, IMs, and other “interruptions” are now part of your job; not the things that keep you from doing your job. Digital dexterity requires being responsive, adaptable, and connected.
Yes, these things can interrupt the flow of work. But are they necessarily bad? Can I allow disruptions in such a way that I can still work and get stuff done?
Rather than turning digital tools off entirely or working from home, Craig's basic suggestion here is to build appropriate mechanisms into the regular flow of work that enables us to work well in this reality. Yes, turn off the chiming and toasts and things that jump into your face. But also develop habits that make it easier to shift from one topic to another and back again. Work in a way that a hiccup doesn't throw you down a rabbit hole, like this poor guy.
And this reminds me of the topic of "good" multitasking and "bad" multitasking that appears in various Theory of Constraints conversations. It's another rabbit hole, but the basic concept is that while people can and do shift between activities there are some scenarios where that shift can be beneficial - necessary breaks or thinking time or topic shifts to keep fresh. The problem is that "bad" multitasking can look the same. When it changes to bad multitasking is when things need to get done and yet they don't. The multitasker looks and feels busy, but those activities that need to get handed off to the next function (or even themselves) never get done. And this extends the durations of projects (until The Big Crunch).