The Interruption Economy

Image for post
Image for post

That’s what we live in now, right?

Consider: The whole idea of people stopping by your desk/office and asking “Hey, got a minute?” costs the U.S. about $588 billion in lost productivity per year.

Consider: Many professionals report wanting nothing more than “uninterrupted work time.”Some call that “flow,” although admittedly “flow” feels like a buzzword. This is largely because the amount of stress emanating from work seems to be rising, and a lot of that is because people don’t know where the appropriate professional/personal boundary line is.

Consider: In this article on “how to spend less time on email”(that article is written 922 times per day somewhere in the world), they note that many white-collar professionals spend about 25.7% of their day on email. EMail is essentially worthless. It purports to convey information but mostly is a tool to reinforce hierarchy.

Consider: When you use email that much, it typically means you’re reacting to everythinginstead of being thoughtful about anything. It’s basically just a giant series of interruptions. Noise. And every time you get interrupted by a supposedly-urgent email ping, it takes your brain about 23 minutes to get back on track.

Consider: We have millions of digital tools and platforms these days, all of which ping all day and interrupt us from actually getting real stuff done, to the point that most of the digital ecosystem is simply more shit to manage.

Consider: There are a lot of misconceptions about productivity, including the base idea that we live in some innovative, entrepreneurial time. Nope. In reality, organizations are consolidating and becoming more bureaucratic than ever.

So now add it all up: We get interrupted all day by pings. We can’t really do any productive shit, so we focus on task work, because when you get interrupted from task work, whatever the hell, it’s just task work. This allows bureaucracy to perpetuate, which means only the people at the top make any real money, and most of us spend our time wondering if the document we need is in Google or Asana. And we wonder why only 15% of people globally seem to like their job, yea?

What’s your hot take?

Written by

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store