Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interrupt Based Working

At a recent @NUgeeks meeting, a friend mentioned that his life was interrupt-based. He was referring to how he often had trouble with project work because of all the small task interruptions that occur during a typical work day. (He described nested interrupts within interrupts!)

This was a wonderfully liberating thing to hear. I have much the same problem and always assumed it was a personal flaw. It seems, though, it could be a common problem in IT particularly among folks in generalist type positions that have a lot of project styles tasks.

A typical day consists of a series of tasks to fulfill for ongoing projects. This would be great except for the plethora of interruptions.

The phone rings. Forgotten password.

Phone rings again. Unexpected error message.

Phone rings. How do I this task again?

Email arrives. Some horrible meltdown.

Instant message.  No I can't try the solution you suggest. I demand that you come to my workstation and do it for me.

Every interrupt causes a the list pointer to be reset to the beginning. End of the day arrives and you're no further along in any project than when the day began.

Time management is a tough problem no matter how much experience you have in a career I think. I know that I have to work really hard to not resent the people looking for help. They just want stuff to work so they can too.

Its really about service. Make stuff work so the business works.