Category: "Productivity"

IM sucks... (and so does email)

Over the last 6 months I have refrained as much as possible from using Instant Messaging, if it was not for scheduled conversations. I mean, IM is cool in a "netmeeting" kind of way. But having an IRC/MSN/Yahoo/ICQ/Whatever Messenger open all day, poping up alerts every 10 to 20 minutes, is definitely a major disturbance!

I got into arguments about this with friends. They were arguing that "you don't have to answer if you don't want to" and I was arguing that "you cannot focus on what you're constantly evaluating whether or not you're gonna reply to the latest interruption".

It's been hard to come to an agreement... but now... I have scientific evidence to back up my position! :>> You think you're too smart to be subject to attention disorder? Check those out:

Those actually articles talk about email, but email is only the ancient, slow, lightweight form of the Instant Messaging disturbance! ;)

I do actually tend to close my email client as well when I need concentration. I try to only open it every 2 to 3 hours or so. And even if I leave it open: I have turned of new mail alerts and sounds! You oughta try that someday ;) You wouldn't believe how much better you'll be able to focus!

Now, I still need to deal with that pesky phone which always rings at a bad time... and maybe I'll eventually get my work environment optimized for efficiency!

Focus on the First Derivative

In his latest post about Career Calculus, Eric Sink explains how you should constantly monitor your personal learning curve by focusing on the first derivative instead of the curve itself.

Very interesting post. Wise advice.

I actually believe this is not only applicable to career calculus, but there are a lot of things in life which value you should only evaluate by its first derivative over time!