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Stop or not? How behavioral factors affect decisions related to work interruptions

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Work, interrupted

DUP_1074_Stop or not?When was the last time you were able to just sit down at your desk and complete an entire task or project start to finish? No emails or texts, no checking of the Internet, no colleagues crashing through the door to report the latest unrelated challenge (or even gossip)?

In academic circles this is referred to as “focused work,” and according to Dave Coplin’s book, The Rise of the Humans: How to Outsmart the Digital Deluge, humans typically only manage about 11 minutes of actual work at a stretch. And after an interruption from someone else, or taking a break to check email or send a quick text, it can take people from 15 to 23 minutes to get back to where they were before.1 A potentially shocking loss of productivity!