Interruptions Are The Enemy of Productivity
A recent study in the UK demonstrated that having a BlackBerry device may add up to 10 extra work days a year because people feel compelled to leave them on during off-work hours. Chances are, if your BlackBerry is on and a work email comes in, you are going to feel stress and pressure to respond, even it is during off-work hours. That has become the new expectation.
According to research millions of Brits find it impossible to switch off and keep their work devices on even when they’re not in the office. The study found that a fifth of UK workers keep their phones on over the weekend.
But even more – 24 per cent – complain they feel stressed because they are always on call. Men find it the hardest to switch off with only a third turning off their phones and BlackBerrys when they leave the office, compared to over half of women. Of those that do switch off, 22 per cent still can’t resist having a peak at their work emails over the weekend.
While the main premise of the study may be true, perhaps there is an underlying problem that all of this technology and the ‘always on, always available’ mentality has spawned that is far more responsible for added work days than simply carrying a BlackBerry in your pocket. Interruptions. Whether it is the pinging push of an email arrival, a text message, a meeting, a conference call, a knock on the office door, or a shout from across the room, the work place has become cluttered with a steady stream of interruption.
Jason Fried from 37signals was recently interviewed and he talked about how difficult it is to get work done in an environment where the concept of a ‘work day’ has eroded to the point where it is really just a series of ‘work moments’ due to a constant barrage of interruptions. Jason convincingly argues that the primary reason people are working longer hours and weekends is specifically because they are going to work to be interrupted.
Watch this interview, and ask yourself if this describes your work life? If so, developing strategies to eliminate interruptions may hold the key to getting a better work / life balance.
Blackberrys add 10 days extra work each year
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