I recently read Johanna Rothman’s article on Context Switching. I need to let you, it just ain’t so.

Context Switching is Fun!

I usually have 3 or more things going on at any time. Right now I’m doing exploratory work for one client (lots of try this, try that, well, how about trying something else?), upgrading a system for another client (I’ve already done three of their systems), and preparing for a class.

Context switching allows me to mentally shift gears. When I need time to think about what’s happening with the exploration, I can spin my chair, slap in another CD, and nudge the upgrade another step closer to completion.

Context Switching is Profitable!

Being able to swap between contexts allows me to supply better value to my clients. I can wonder about what to do next while I’m shuffling CDs. I can do exploration while I’m waiting for the CDs to finish loading. Everyone’s a winner!

Truth in Blogging

If you’ve read Johanna’s article, you’ll realize differences exist between our examples.

  • One switches between similar tasks, the other doesn’t.
  • I’m not under deadline pressure. (Should anyone be?)
  • I get to choose when to switch contexts.

So the real problem is not context switching. The problem remains management that doesn’t understand what they manage, and how to make it fun and profitable.

Context Switching … good or bad? Share your experiences.