Conquering Cyber Overload

Ruminations on productivity, creativity, and quality of life in our digital world.

Interrupt Me for Five Seconds? — Fuhgeddaboudit!

Interruptions are a constant in daily life and especially at work. But a recent study reports that even a five-second interruption can dramatically increase our errors when we return to what we were doing. And the study doesn’t just apply to aging boomers who are known for a declining working memory capacity. It was conducted with college students! Read More

This really annoys me

I've mostly done factory work in my life, and it's just painfully obvious that interruptions are a problem. If you're manufacturing something, and the steps HAVE to go in order, you can't keep entertaining interruptions and expect the end result to be right. It doesn't matter if the interruption is a half hour break, or one "quick question", steps get skipped even by diligent people. Yet, management's response is not to limit interruptions, or even suggest that they should be limited. Management's response is that everyone should always smile and be cheerful when interrupted, or you're Not a Team Player.

Yeah, tell that to the customer when they get a product with half the welds missing.

interruptions and factory life

Thanks for your comment. You are not alone. If only managers would realize the importance of focus and the detrimental effects of losing it.

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Joanne Cantor, Ph.D., Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of Conquer CyberOverload: Get More Done, Boost Your Creativity, and Reduce Stress.

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