Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Life Hacking

“Meet the Life Hackers” by Clive Thompson New York Times Magazine, October 15, 2005  (retrieved from LexisNexis Academic December 6, 2005)

We have all become like it or not—multitaskers.  How many times a day are we interrupted by cell phones, e-mails, IMs, etc.?  Thompson interviews some social scientists who have completed some studies on how we handle multitasking in the workplace.

Some interesting observations from these studies:
  • It takes on an average 25 minutes to return to the original task

  • Interruptions have become our work

  • Our jobs are “interruption driven”

  • We spend an average of 11 minutes on a project before interruption occurs

  • Each 11 minute session is divided into several 3 minute smaller tasks

  • We are so busy keeping an eye on everything, we can never focus on anything

Solutions suggested:
  • Multiple computer monitors (up to three)

  • Larger monitors (45 inch!)

  • “to do” lists in Word

My solution was a mini whiteboard that I kept on my desk like an easel.  I had my “to do” list there with the tasks prioritized. This way I could always see my list and try to keep focused.  It’s low-tech, but it works.

Because I am easily bored, I enjoy being interrupted.  I wouldn’t want to work any other way.

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