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Thread: Task-switching -- do you suck at it?

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    Scobblelotcher Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Task-switching -- do you suck at it?

    Task switching -- the ability to shift your attention from one task to another.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Task_s...g_(psychology)

    I am wondering how many of you have a problem getting back to what you were doing after:

    A. You look at a notification on your phone.
    B. Someone comes into where you are working and says something to you.
    C. You return from eating.
    D. You stop what you are doing to answer an email.
    E. You answer a phone call.
    F. You check INTPx in the middle of doing something.

    I often do not return to what I was doing until an hour after the interrupting thing has ended. When I'm interrupted constantly, my productivity sinks to near zero, but if I'm not distracted, the amount of work I can get done is almost miraculous. I think 80 percent of the difficulty of doing a thing is in getting started on it, so every time I stop doing something, it's almost as if I have to start all over again.

    I see others answering emails and socializing during the workday and yet still getting things done and I feel like I'm watching someone with a superpower.

    (I'm referring to tasks that require mental focus, like writing, not menial tasks.)
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

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    Senior Member BarIII's Avatar
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    Beginning big new projects is a problem for me but once I start I often purposely take little breaks. I think I procrastinate on any project requiring an initial setup period involving research or finding papers or something.
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    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    I think I'm pretty good at it.

    If I do one thing too long (especially if I'm not particularly interested in it) I start to zone out, so it's good to take a break. The trick is to try to switch to another productive task - or if it's a non-productive task (INTPx) at least don't get sucked into it to the detriment of the priority task.

    Having said that, I find that I am much more productive when my activity does not involve a computer, because the distractability quotient is so much lower. But so much for that.

    Speaking of which..... *reluctantly closes window to return to studying*
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    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    i do well enough at returning to something if i caused the interuption... when allowed a few moments to organize my thoughts, the delay is reduced considerably (unless itis hard to keep my mind on anyhow)... when it is other people who are the source of distraction things go downhill rather quickly... i find the effects are compounded if they include more than a few numbers i need to keep track of or if they keep correcting themselves... continuously adding details each time i think they are finished has a similar result...

    0-15 minute delay if i initiated
    5-60 if someone else did (more commonly 5-20)
    "The vanity of intelligence is that the intelligent man is often more committed to 'one-upping' his opponent than being truthful. When the idea of intelligence, rather than intelligence itself, becomes a staple, there is no wisdom in it."
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    "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."
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    Scobblelotcher Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obfuscate View Post
    i do well enough at returning to something if i caused the interuption... when allowed a few moments to organize my thoughts, the delay is reduced considerably (unless itis hard to keep my mind on anyhow)... when it is other people who are the source of distraction things go downhill rather quickly... i find the effects are compounded if they include more than a few numbers i need to keep track of or if they keep correcting themselves... continuously adding details each time i think they are finished has a similar result...

    0-15 minute delay if i initiated
    5-60 if someone else did (more commonly 5-20)
    I've been thinking about the types of things that really derail me. I think phone calls are the worst. They are a cold, out of the blue, total disruption. If a person comes into your office, they at least have some sort of visual cue to show that you are busy. Text messages that require some sort of response and subsequent planning, or some sort of action. i.e. if someone texts to let you know that their dad just had a heart attack, or that they need surgery, or that they need to borrow your hacksaw, you have to say something, and in some cases you also have to do something or even plan to do something.

    Crazy news can sidetrack the shit out of me. Like yesterday alone, I found out my sister in laws dad had a heart-attack and that she's coming to town because he lives here in louisiana, I got a phone call from a friend saying that another of our friends that we've known since the 80s is running for office, and that another someone I've known for just as long committed suicide, and that my father in law has been selected for another ridiculously high honor that may or may not involve me having to travel. It's really hard to get back to writing after any one derail of that magnitude, or at least it is for me. One of the little known side effects of getting older is that when shit happens, you are one of the people responsible for dealing with it. No one needed me when I was 25. Now that I'm 45, I'm a goto person for everything from grief counseling to odd shaped screwdrivers. Then there is the fact that I'm ridiculously curious and have a tendency to want to analyze the fuck out of any new data. Combine both of these things with with the modern expectation that people can be reached 24/7, and I wonder if I'm just fucked.

    I'm considering a metaphorical move to Siberia, but at the same time, I don't want to be an asshole.

    All my problems could be solved if I was just willing to be a jerk.

    I turned off my phone notifications today (I get none on my computer...by design). Gotten more done today than I have in a while. Probably going to be in trouble with my neighbor/coauthor/businesspartner, my husband, my in-laws, and god knows who else by the end of the day, but I think it's time to adjust some expectations.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    I'm not avoiding socializing I'm helping socializing avoid me! --MoneyJungle

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    Feelers are often more spiritual. NT seems superhuman to me. If i'm NF. Their life IS distractions, those NFs. In Buddhism they say when you meditate do it in a quiet place, to not be distracted, later you can meditate and consentrate in noisy places. I've not prayed the Islamic prayer for a long time, but i still remember how its done, which is saying and doing things and consentrating about that. I returned to the praying in a mosque and i noticed how much more sensitive i'm to distractions, than I used to be.

    ISXX get emotional nudges like reminders when they have to do something, because their past specialists. INXX are future, they dream and can struggel to connect when theive been disconnected. Like there are too many plugs and they don't know where to plug in to get a line like the old telephone system.

    Peace

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    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i suck at it so fucking much.

    doing one thing that appears simple can take me an entire day if it involves a lot of different, smaller tasks, esp if it involves any sort of travel. oh my god

    like i can be working on something but decide i need to make a scan, so i do that, but waiting for the scan to finish can take two hours cuz my brain travels while waiting.

    sometimes i think i have attention/focus problems. it gets more serious the more i have to do.

    and... guess what i'm doing right now. bye guys

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    Task switching -- the ability to shift your attention from one task to another.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Task_s...g_(psychology)

    I am wondering how many of you have a problem getting back to what you were doing after:

    A. You look at a notification on your phone.
    B. Someone comes into where you are working and says something to you.
    C. You return from eating.
    D. You stop what you are doing to answer an email.
    E. You answer a phone call.
    F. You check INTPx in the middle of doing something.

    I often do not return to what I was doing until an hour after the interrupting thing has ended. When I'm interrupted constantly, my productivity sinks to near zero, but if I'm not distracted, the amount of work I can get done is almost miraculous. I think 80 percent of the difficulty of doing a thing is in getting started on it, so every time I stop doing something, it's almost as if I have to start all over again.
    Exactly the same way. It's part of the reason I don't check my phone all day and keep it on silent mode, only to catch up at night, if I remember to. I sometimes get the accusation that I have disregarded a call or message, and I always say, "Sorry, it was on silent mode!" But what I don't say is that it's going to remain on silent mode until the end of time (except in emergencies I guess), even if I may feel bad about missing whatever it was I missed.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    I'm considering a metaphorical move to Siberia, but at the same time, I don't want to be an asshole.

    All my problems could be solved if I was just willing to be a jerk.

    I turned off my phone notifications today (I get none on my computer...by design). Gotten more done today than I have in a while. Probably going to be in trouble with my neighbor/coauthor/businesspartner, my husband, my in-laws, and god knows who else by the end of the day, but I think it's time to adjust some expectations.
    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Exactly the same way. It's part of the reason I don't check my phone all day and keep it on silent mode, only to catch up at night, if I remember to. I sometimes get the accusation that I have disregarded a call or message, and I always say, "Sorry, it was on silent mode!" But what I don't say is that it's going to remain on silent mode until the end of time (except in emergencies I guess), even if I may feel bad about missing whatever it was I missed.
    i do this... i think it's a bit silly to think if it as being an asshole sista... if you really feel that setting aside an obvious detriment to complete your work in time, you need to define better boundaries with these folks... when they become used to receiving your aid in a more regulated way they will still appreciate it...
    "The vanity of intelligence is that the intelligent man is often more committed to 'one-upping' his opponent than being truthful. When the idea of intelligence, rather than intelligence itself, becomes a staple, there is no wisdom in it."
    Criss Jami

    "When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion."
    "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."
    Dale Carnegie

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    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    All my problems could be solved if I was just willing to be a jerk.

    I turned off my phone notifications today (I get none on my computer...by design). Gotten more done today than I have in a while. Probably going to be in trouble with my neighbor/coauthor/businesspartner, my husband, my in-laws, and god knows who else by the end of the day, but I think it's time to adjust some expectations.
    YES. Tell them you've just been overwhelmed lately and your productivity is suffering (or whatever) and you'll make sure to check your messages daily and respond within 48 hours.

    Also you could do like this friend of mine does and have all calls go through your husband because you don't want to be bothered.

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