Context switching is an inevitable byproduct of modern work, but it is costly – emotionally and financially. “For example,” writes Danielle McCormick, Director of Solutions with LexisNexis, “a lawyer drafting a contract in Word may need to check a clause in their bank of precedents. Minimizing the document they are working on to open and search for the relevant precedent is a form of context switching. Or – when they know they drafted a brilliant clause a few months ago that would be perfect – but can’t remember which version of which document it was in. Time and focus elapses as they search through files and folders, reviewing work to find the needle in a haystack.” But isn’t the ability to multitask – context switching by another name – a strength? Not so fast, McCormick cautions. “Although many people boast about their multitasking abilities,” she writes, “the fact is that switching between different tasks can drastically reduce overall efficiency. In fact, according to a University of California Irvine study, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task which has been interrupted.” Check out the full article at Artificial Lawyer, including valuable suggestions for mitigating the costs of context switching.
Published May 17, 2021.