The best example I've ever seen of why context switching / multi tasking is the worst thing you can do.

A mentor of mine introduced me to this some years ago and I make a point of watching it a few times a year. I also ask my staff to watch it regularly.

It's 7 minutes of your life and I believe it's worth it:


  1. 3

    This is really important. Thanks for sharing!

    In code, one way I break away from one codebase to another (I have to for the nature of my work, part-time freelance/part-time product building), I leave a searchable //BOOKMARK comment in code where I context dump exactly what I was doing, why, and what needs to be done next. There can only be one of those in the code base at a time. That way, when I go back it cuts the time it takes for me to get back into that project's headspace. Nice tool when context switching is a requirement.

    Avoiding context switching at all is ideal though. I try to work half the day solely focused on one project, at lunch bookmark it, wrap my head around my next project while I eat, then work on the second project up to 5pm.

    1. 1

      Why do you switch product halfway through the day?

      1. 1

        I prefer to work between the hours of 9-5 in my timezone and I fund working on my product by taking on part-time freelance work, so 9am-12pm is my product time and 1pm-5pm is the time I use to work on the freelance work.

        1. 2

          I know that feeling.

          I basically work on a Main Job, Side Projects and have a bunch of "advisor" positions where I do code review or architecture type stuff.

          We decided to build something to solve the issue of context switching within a single tool like github for example, would be awesome to get your input on this 🤙

          1. 1

            Hey hey, I'd say this is made for me – the mock on the homepage doubly speaks to me because I use all those tools. I dabble in so many projects it gets hard to keep track. Followed your product on here and signed up for your newsletter!

            1. 1

              Appreciate the ❤️.

              I'll be in touch once we have something to show, we're aiming for the end of this month.

  2. 3

    Great visualization! Presentations like this keeps me humble. I sometimes gloat a bit when I can handle stuff at the same time. I guess I needed this 😅

    1. 3

      Yeah man it's a false economy. Humans cannot multitask.

      1. 2

        What I've learned is that some people need this to feel "busy", even tho they actually get done less, it's weird lol.

        1. 1

          Hehe, yeah true. Being busy is something else compared to being productive.

  3. 3

    it's funny but I, like many, spend far too much time reading IH posts, Medium articles, linkedin and goodness know how many other forums every day. It's addictive and I love commenting, helping where I can.

    But the moment someone put's a 7 minute video in front of me, my head says "how dare you assume I have 7 minutes to watch your video without first convincing me it's worthy of my time".

    Obviously some weird psychological stuff going on, but sorry Mick, you've lost me. Give me 4 paragraphs and I'll happily read and comment ;-)

    Anybody else feel this way about video?

    1. 1

      100% agree, I also won't read a full article, I need some bullet points and headlines first and then I'll decide if I want to dive farther in.

      For some reason I decided to actually watch this one though (procrastinating work), and it was pretty worth it. To summarize, if you multitask and try to complete multiple things at once, then it will take longer to complete them.

    2. 0

      I am the same way but for me it’s that video demands your attention now and all in the moment. Written content allows you to read bits and parts as you have time.

      1. 1

        yes that's a good way of describing it. I learnt to scan-read in my first job so I can whiz through even a page-long post and get the gist in seconds. How do you achieve the same with a long video?

  4. 2

    And if you liked that here's an even better demo from the same presentation:


    (should start at around 33 mins and again its only a 7 or 8 minute watch)

  5. 1

    Thank you Mick, powerful demonstration about the cost of context switching. I'm building a product that helps users doing less context switching so this is definitely going into the bucket of value proposition research.

  6. 1

    Interesting, but here's how I work: if the task is hard, I can't spend my day on it, or I'll be exhausted, I'll do low quality work after two hours, and I'll have to redo everything the day after.

    Instead, if I switch between tasks, everything is kept "fresh", I have more motivation, and I do better work.

    Yes, it will be slower. But it depends what you prioritize: your fatigue (or, in very general, your mental health), your speed, or the quality of your work.

    As always, for productivity, it depends what you're doing, who you are, and in what context you're in. There is no Truth for every situation.

  7. 1

    This is great, unfortunately easier said then done!

  8. 1

    Thanks Mick! I needed this

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