Context Switching – Productivity Killer

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Performance and resources optimization of business processes is always a hot topic, constantly stumbling on new posts/news/materials, but too few speak about context switching issue. Context switching is the worst productivity killer, real beast, and you can prevent it by implementing these actions on a personal level:

✔ organize strict time blocks dedicated to a specific task or set of tasks during working hours

✔ dedicate specific days in the week for particular tasks or projects which need your full attention

✔ activate your DND mode on a mobile phone while working

✔ notify your colleagues and partners when you will be away / dedicated on some specific tasks or projects (this action should not be misinterpreted in a healthy work environment, on the contrary, it should be encouraged)

✔ define redundancy during every day for the ad-hoc situation which would need your attention


… and on the organizational level of your company by implementing:

✔ priority policy through predefined procedures (prevention)

✔ multi-tier pricing for requests from your clients, based on priority status and contract/ad-hoc arrangements

✔ redundancy resource assessment (time, money) embedded in full project scope

✔ regular client – service provider meetings on project/task updates

✔ penalty mechanism for clients who are late with materials but expect the project to be delivered according to the initial estimate (communicated transparently, preferably an integral part of the business cooperation agreement) and/or for those clients who are late with materials and/or needed info which directly impact on project flow and delivery (direct impact on providers parallel project stack, project organization, and resources by shifting focus back and forth)

The penalty mechanism mentioned above sounds too strong?

Do an in-house audit on resources spent on context switching, and everything will become clear :).

Filip Zolota

Filip Zolota