Monday, January 15, 2007

Harmful distractions

Matthew Stibbe discussed distraction-free text editors from an author's perspective. Geir Magnusson made a similar point about WriteRoom. Windows users have DarkRoom. But, heck, anyone can set their IM to 'busy' and maximise the window of their favourite editor.

The point is: writers are easily distracted. Anything in their field of view is likely to entice them away from the task of writing. The same is true for software developers. Coding is sufficiently addictive for this not to be an issue, but writing specifications or other design documents is like any other kind of writing, with many of the same pit-falls.

A more insidious source of distractions is multi-tasking. Supposed scientific studies that show interruptions are worse for IQ than smoking dope or coding in VB need taking with a pinch of salt, but I know the effect rapid multi-tasking has on me (and it's not good).

So, in 2007, I plan to use my time more effectively. I already block out two days per week in my calendar to avoid 'death by meetings'. But I need to set aside chunks of time for important work and try to resist the temptation to check email, etc. every few minutes. And maybe setting my IM to 'busy' and maximising the current window will help.

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