Context Switching



Do you ever have one of those days where things keep cropping up?  It can really diminish your productivity when you have an endless barrage of questions or phone calls.  Many times you get a few minutes to get into a real deep topic and BAM!  The phone rings and your mind is sent off onto another topic because the Assistant Director has a question about last months conversions.   Of course they think it is very important.

Eric Junker a developer I used to work with would talk about context switching occasionally.  I believe we discussed this article from Joel Spolsky’s blog.  Eric and I worked on a project that had some people who confused activity with accomplishment.  That could be a whole blog post to itself!  At the time Eric was the only developer and had to field questions from three different people, he was always pulled off in various directions.  And his productivity would suffer because of all this noise.

In software development there needs to be time for deep, uninterrupted thought.  When you need to design an extensive feature or work on an API, we need our space from the water cooler conversations.  Perhaps a room with a white board or your noise canceling headphones can be helpful.  Context switching doesn’t help us get things done!

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