Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix


2022-11-06 — Michael Haupt

With distractions, it's not their magnitude that's a problem, but their multitude.

A distraction of a major magnitude is usually both urgent and important enough to warrant immediate attention. Those should be rare.

Facing a constant flurry of many small distractions, however, is problematic. It leads to regular interruptions involving urgency and importance analyses, and thereby hampers any healthy flow state. Moreover, even if handling the distraction is not ultimately "my job", it needs to be managed and probably followed up on, increasing the amount of work in progress.

Distinguishing between work (delivering on the tasks we're supposed to deliver on) and meta-work (delivering on organising one's work), it should make immediate sense that work should take precedence over meta-work, always bearing in mind that the latter cannot reasonably be zero. The effect of facing a multitude of distractions then is that the amount of meta-work exceeds the "healthy" threshold.

How should the balance look? What's "healthy"? I suspect that meta-work should take a small (single-digit) percentage of overall time.

(This is also related to the idea of finishing more, and starting less.)

Tags: work