Saturday, June 25, 2011


Multitasking, as a term applied to people, did not exist before Microsoft Windows.

But now we use the term, thinking we can multitask like computers.

I read a study of a client trying to do three things at a time -- talking on the phone, conversing face to face and answering e-mail -- and not accomplishing any of the three tasks in the course of an hour. Handling the tasks separately, she finished all three in 13 minutes.

But actually with people, it means interrupting one task with another.

So there’s the interruption itself, then the recovery time.

Recovery time’s been measured at 10 times the length of the interruption.

So the IM interruption/interaction lasts 30 seconds.

Then it takes 5 min for you to get back to where you were mentally.

20 years, ago, interruptions were phone calls, mail being delivered once a day, the annoying co-worker who would lean against your door frame to tell you about his weekend.

Today it’s that plus email notifications, IM, web-alerts – more interruptions.

A quarter of an office worker’s time is lost to interruptions and recovery time.

That’s only the ‘knowledge’ workers – with 65m knowledge workers in the US and an average salary of $21 per hour, that’s about a trillion a year lost from a GDP of 15T per year.

Now what if you had inSyte? People IM you all day long. You get email notifications in your head all day long.

Not to mention browsing continuously.

So you would have to fight the tendency to be caught in a constant round of task-switching – going from site to site, email to email, IM to IM. At the end of the day you think, man was I busy all day. But what did you accomplish?

Be a shame to accomplish less than you would without inSyte.

So we would need better tools to filter out the interruptions.

How about the guy who won’t leave his blackberry alone for 5 min while you’re trying to have a F2F?

What would inSyte do to personal conversations? On the one hand, it would raise the productivity because you don’t have to worry about memorizing facts anymore. So it elevates the level of the mind, frees us to focus on higher levels of thought. On concepts, critical thinking.

On the other hand, can you have a simple conversation? Or would you be continually interrupted?

Again – we would need the proper tools to filter out interruptions.

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