Task Switching

Joel Spolsky writes a great blog over at . He has an insight into programming and development that a lot of companies sorely need. Recently he wrote a blog on why task switching was harmful for programmers and I wanted to highlight that here but also add that task switching is HARMFUL and STRESSFUL to most jobs.

For example, In the UK it's acknowledged that driving and using a mobile phone is a dangerous because it splits the attention two ways so why does it seem acceptable for most business to insist that their employees do several things at once? I'm not talking about having several tasks to do within a time frame. I am talking about insisting that the latest crisis is priority then when you JUST get the mind focused on that task and moving in that direction the NEXT crisis becomes priority.

This type of work pattern in unhealthy and dangerous. It puts a great strain on the employee when it becomes the daily routine rather than the exception. I still fail to understand how this type of working pattern can be seen as normal for a company, I guess it's a pattern that is easy to fall into when the department itself is being pushed, squeezed and stretched to achieve more with the same or with less or when managers are too scared to push back to their managers or the board.

Joel on Software

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