I wanted a job. During the interview I was asked a common question: How well do you handle being switched to a different task in the middle of a day? Things move pretty fast around here. Of course, I said "I can handle that!"
But I knew that while I can handle it, inevitably my productivity is degraded. I found an article called The Myth of Multi-tasking which reinforced this idea and (while not pressing any advice) gave me a helpful insight: Don't jump at every email.
- Try to not even look at the email, Instant Messenger, task queue or voice mail any more than I must.
- When I do receive a potential distraction, consider its true importance and urgency. Schedule it for another day, if possible.
But that doesn't resolve the problem. I find it is built into my local culture of work. I'd prefer to work on one project a day -- maybe a second, because a break can be helpful. But sure enough, there are days when I am prompted to visit three or even four.
How can I
avoid become more efficient at changing projects, given the fact it seems to be unavoidable in my corporate environment? It is costly, but are there any tips on how to make it cost a bit less?
Meta comment: I'm interested in this beta SO site, but am often stumped how to present a question that will return a concrete answer. I think this post is the sort that collects subjective and scattered advice. Your feedback welcome, or point me to a good Meta post (I looked but did not find one).