Why work interruptions are so distracting
You may think that interruptions aren’t that big of a deal. After all, there is a pandemic happening, and everyone’s stressed lately. Shouldn’t you extend a little grace to your kids?
While some interruptions are OK (maybe even a welcomed break), constant interruptions of any kind can negatively impact your work performance.
When an adult is interrupted at work (in an office), it can take them as many as 20 minutes to get back into work mode and focused on the task. That doesn’t mean spending 20 minutes thinking about getting back to the task. But workers experience something researchers call “resumption lag.”
When someone is interrupted, they have to stop, deal with the interruption, then get back into the “flow” of their primary task. But, in general, they can’t just pick back up where they left off.
They might have to retrace their steps and reread something they already read or redo some of the work they’ve already completed. All of this adds up to 20 minutes of lost time per task, and with enough interruptions throughout the day, those resumption lags can really add up.