So, in the interest of science I decided to commence a short-term examination of how I spend my time, in this case one day, and how often I am interrupted. This week I've been working from home following a (relatively minor) kidney stone surgery, so my routine is a little different but one never knows what the day will bring. Here's how I logged my day.
08:30 - 09:00 Read e-mail and scan newspaper headlines - number of interruptions: 0 09:00 - 09:15 Review upcoming travel schedules - number of interruptions: 0 09:15 - 09:30 Make green tea for sustenance - number of interruptions: 0 09:30 - 10:15 Read industry news releases - number of interruptions: 4 (assistant notifies me of overnight letter; two phone calls asking how I am post-surgery; one IM from a colleague) 10:15 - 10:45 Review colleague's revisions to an industry survey - number of interruptions: 1 (telephone call) 10:45 - 11:15 Various internal conversations via telephone and IM - number of interruptions: everything was an interruption 11:15 - 11:45 Conduct interview of vendor for forthcoming article - number of interruptions: 0 11:45 - noon Preparation for meeting - number of interruptions: 1 (IM from west coast colleague) Noon - 13:00 Meeting with colleague re our InfoAge conference - number of interruptions: 2 (both non-business related phone calls) 13:00 - 13:10 Break (make more green tea) 13:10 - 13:30 Attend internal conf. re practice development issues - number of interruptions: 0 13:30 - 14:30 Attend meeting with client - number of interruptions: 0 (was in "do not disturb mode" for IM and phone) 14:30 - 15:00 Read new e-mail during my lunch minute - number of interruptions: too numerous to count 15:00 - 16:00 Attend client meeting - number of interruptions: 0 (was in "do not disturb mode" for IM and phone) 16:00 - 17:00 Attempt to get Bluetooth to work on new laptop without success. Make fresh green tea - number of interruptions: 3, none significant 17:00 - 18:00 One-on-one call with client - number of interruptions: 0 (was in "do not disturb mode" for IM and phone) 18:00 - 19:00 Scheduled call doesn't take place. Decide to watch today's news on German cable to catch up (change of media helps) - number of interruptions: 1 (colleague trying to set up time to meet with me later today) 19:00 - 19:30 Internal conf. with analyst re industry survey - number of interruptions: 0 19:30 - 19:45 Review editorial plan for Basex:TechWatch for this week - number of interruptions: 0 19:45 - 20:45 Dinner - number of interruptions: 0 (first time no phone calls during dinner in a long time) 20:45 - ... Write my column - number of interruptions: 0
Today was actually unusual in many respects. Most activities took place in very compartmentalized blocks of time, as contrasted with what is often a more chaotic, ad hoc schedule. I took control of my environment by changing my state to Do Not Disturb when appropriate. This significantly reduced the number of interruptions that could occur; since I was working at home, the chances of a colleague walking into my office were also greatly reduced.
There was only one interruption that truly interrupted my flow (at 10:15), and it did take me about 10 minutes to regroup and and come back up to speed.
I'll document a few more days and discuss this in upcoming columns. Meanwhile, I'd be interested in hearing how you spend your day and how often you are interrupted. E-mail me (email@example.com) and let me know what your day looks like.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Infographic: The State of DevOps in 2017Is DevOps helping organizations reduce costs and time-to-market for software releases? What's getting in the way of DevOps adoption? Find out in this InformationWeek and Interop ITX infographic on the state of DevOps in 2017.
Digital Transformation Myths & TruthsTransformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.