Context Switching: A Time Waster

A Source of Ineffectiveness

If I had to choose one of the greatest time wasters for software developers, context/task switching would be up at the top of the list. One of the foundations for effectiveness as a developer is intensely focused concentration to which interruptions can be devastating.

Task switching has been a source of ineffectiveness down through the ages in software development. Once you get into the rhythm of coding it’s a state of concentration when mind meets computer and they need some serious alone time.

Being creative is hard work and once you’re in the flow, it’s best to keep with it. This is easier said than done as our lives are each filled with complexities and myriads of tasks and to-do lists we wish we’d be able to multitask.

What Would YOU Choose?

If you had to choose between working 4 hours, 5 days a week or 10 hours for only two days a week, which would you choose?

If you’re thinking 4 hours a day – you’re probably thinking of how much extra time you’ll have each day to get things done in your personal life, and that may be true. My choice however would be just working two long 10 hour days a week. The reasons being:

1) I’ll accomplish more by being able to fully focus and get into my projects.

2) I’ll have three full days free a week!

There are different types of work that require various amounts of concentration. Software development just happens to be one, similar to a writer that needs the maximum amount of focus to fully get “in the flow of things” which comes from being able to work undisturbed or interrupted.

We can all relate to the thrill of knowing the full day ahead is just for you to work on your tasks at hand. Knowing this, plan the creation of your projects wisely – one by one keeping to a minimum multi-tasking and task-switching, which can be all too tempting.