It is commonly known that when our attention is divided, it's harder to get things done. What's surprising is that so few of us use this common idea in our workdays.
It's not just productivity that suffers when workers are constantly interrupted, but research found that people will attempt to compensate by working faster, leading to more stress and effort. Take email as an example. In one study, email was removed from a group of civil workers for five days. Workers stress reduced over that time, and they reported feeling more in control of the workday.
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For many corporations, task switching has become a requirement of the job.
On average, employees who do the majority of their work on computers are distracted almost every ten minutes.
Most of the interruptions are external - an incoming email or a colleague stopping by to chat. But a significant proportion also comes from the individuals who voluntarily switch tasks.
Collaboration and communication are essential in the workspace, as well as social connections. But a balance is required between focused productivity and connectedness.
Meetings, email, real-time chat are all habits. And habits can be changed. Changing one keystone habit can start a chain reaction in how a team approaches everything about their work.
In The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains , Nicholas Carr explains how our brain, through neuroplasticity, adapts in response to changes in our environment, like technology innovations, which means we gain and lose certain skills. Social media, email, and team communications tools stimulate our very human desire to want to connect with people and access novel information but diminish the focus and processing skills that our literacy culture of books and newspapers built up. As Carr writes :
“[E]ach interruption brings us a valuable piece of information… And so we ask the Internet to keep interrupting us, in ever more and different ways. We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive.”
There are mainly two ways to communicate within a company: synchronous and asynchronous communication. While the second type has always been widely practiced, as face-to-face meetings or any other in-person communication, the second type is just slowly being discovered.
In fact, asynchronous communication enables team members to respond to their colleagues whenever they can, without putting pressure on them that the answer should be provided immediately.
❤️ Brainstash Inc.