Techstars London day 22: The dangers of context switching

If there’s anything that really kills productivity is context switching.

I saw this happening over and over again while working at previous companies. Leading a team is hard. As a hands on engineer, all you want to do is code and get things done; last thing you want to do is being buried in meetings all day. As a team leader, you don’t have a choice; you probably will be buried in meetings all day.

This was so bad back then (for most of the engineering team), there was a meme going around the meeting rooms in the office:



I don’t necessarily agree with this 100%, but it certainly made me laugh; especially in meetings where we would go around in circles getting nowhere.

Some meetings are incredibly good and helpful; and this has certainly been the case at Techstars so far – all the deep dives and mentor madness have been absolute gold. For other meetings, when you have nailed down the content then it becomes a question of when these meetings happen

Allow me to elaborate.

It is not the same having 3 one-hour meetings in a row with 5 minutes in between them, than having them across your day with 20 to 30 minutes in between them. Those 20-30 minutes are of very little use. At most you can get to send a couple of emails.

Dog treats
Context switching in a gif. With a dog. Because dogs are awesome.

So for me, it is important to pack most of them as much as possible in the shortest period of time, so I have a good chunk of the rest of day where I can really focus on solving engineering problems. This unfortunately it is most of the times not completely up to us alone. People tend to be busy, so you end up with meetings badly sprinkled throughout your day; aka constant context switching, aka productivity killer.

If you add to the mix, emergency contingency, then you have a day like I did today /o\

Looking on the bright side of things, I got to help a friend in need (who got me a nice surprise little breakfast ;)), caught up with my friend Nick for lunch (of Osper fame), had a nice chat with Maria about life, got to see my friend James who delivered some nice stickers, and got a start on the next piece of work on my list (which is parked now giving way to a few other things that have higher priority).

And now I am off to dinner to celebrate 4 wonderful years together with this man.

Tomorrow more and hopefully better!

PS: Tak! I miss you!
PS2: Waaaat…

DSC_0058 (1)
Errr, this thing must be broken or something! Marko, fix it!! Quick!

Stay tuned.

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep at night: 1:25
Total hours of sleep: 5:09
Mood: Tired, but I remain positive – life is wonderful 🙂
Soundtrack of the day: (tune!)

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