Do You Have 5 Minutes? The True Cost of Context Switching

context switching

The dreaded question, “Do you have five minutes?” seems to be relatively harmless on the surface; who doesn’t have five minutes to spare? Everyone wants to be helpful -- which is why you’re always willing to put down what you’re doing to hear your coworker’s burning questions. Then, you struggle to wrap your head around the context of their issue, and engage in the inevitable knowledge transfer required to catch up to their thought process.

Somehow, five minutes has turned into 20 minutes. You’ve deposited your answer and they leave content with the outcome. You finally get back to your computer, ready to pick up where you left off -- but you get stuck: “Where was I again?”

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