Infomania Hits Cubicle Warriors

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jan 25

No surprise to all of our Cubicle Warriors out there: interruptions constitute “28 percent” of a knowledge workers day, according to people attending a two-day workshop held here in Seattle on the Microsoft campus.

The main causes of distraction: technology. Instant messaging, checking e-mail, Outlook reminders, and hand-held devices all make information instantly available. Add into this technology mix a corporate culture that expects responses day and night, including holidays and weekends, and it is no wonder people are getting a little burned out.

And this happens to me all the time:

A recent study by Eric Horvitz and Shamsi Iqbal of Microsoft Research, examining the habits of 27 Microsoft employees over two weeks, found that it took people more than nine minutes, on average, to return to their primary tasks after an e-mail notification diverted them.

We can almost spend more time getting back on track doing our work than just doing our work. But, you knew that, right?

The workshop also looked at some potential solutions to Infomania; not surprisingly, the focus was on even more technology to help out. Personally, I don’t think it is a problem that can be solved by technology.

There are lots of bloggers out there discussing e-mail management, distractions, and how to stay focused.

But I’d like to hear from you: what are the top three ways you stay focused on the job at hand?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.