GOE CODING CHALLENGE 2007

GOE: Getting Organized Experiment - Freeware Programming Challenge 2007
Posted December 4th, 2007

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Interruptron

In the attention economy, what matters is your attention. Modern life is plagued with interruptions, some self-imposed (do you have a popup that lets you know when new mail arrives?), some not (phone ringing, people knocking on your door). The axiom is simple: your productivity is inversely proportional to the number of interruptions per hour. There exist psychological research that proves that doing two tasks -A,B- in an alternating sequence -ABABAB- is a lot harder than doing them on batches -AAABBB-. This is called task switch cost. Some research on economics proves that the same concept –switching tasks often is bad for productivity- is true organizations.

This is so simple it’s staggering. We thought: well, we don’t know how often we are interrupted, but we should! That’s how the interruptron was born.

The modern knowledge worker has a very short average time between interruptions. Some estimates are as low as 10 minutes. We need to be aware of when we have been interrupted and try to stretch time between interruptions as much as possible. Also, it’s important to be aware of when we are floating into ‘unproductive time’ and have some method to nag us back to work. This is the goal of the interruptron. Run it always, and you’ll have a good gasp of where your time goes.

Visit the Interruptron Webpage on WorkingCogs.com to learn more and download.

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