Counter-Productive Multitasking

Another article about how much counter-productive is multitasking.

Because we’re people, we don’t swap out the content of our brains as easily as a computer does, and we definitely don’t swap in the old state when we’re ready to return to the original task. […] Gerald Weinberg, in Quality Software Management, Vol. 1, Systems Thinking (Dorset House, 1992), estimates the context-switching cost among three tasks to be 40 percent. That means that 40 percent of your available work time is spent on non-task activities.

[via Timeris]

There is also another article on that topic by Joel Spolsky: Human Task Switches Considered Harmful (which links to this article on

I filed this articles under “Weblog Theory” because I think context-switching is what bloggers do almost all day long. So there seems to be an eminent danger for bloggers to be not very productive. Only some bloggers have developed a discipline to just blog on particular reserved hours a day (before work or after work). I guess that many bloggers can’t separate their blogging from their work (as it is has become part of their work).

The author of the Timeris weblog (no name available on site) uses a time-prediction method for managing his workload. At the same time he talks about interruptions that can distort the time prediction. But he thinks that Weblogs are a very powerful personal productivity tool, which is contrasting the idea of productivity-loss by blogging.

So there seems to be really a question of how to use Weblogs. effectively.






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