Workus interruptus

Yesterday I had to go to hospital (no worries, I’m recovering). But, between operation and antibiotics and fever, I’ve been bizarrely ill and not ill, this weekend. I feel perfectly normal for two hours, and then I have to go and sleep or shiver in bed despite being boiling hot or whatever. So, since all knowledge is useful, in my lucid* moments, I’ve been conducting an experiment, starting with this hypothesis:

If you’re going to work eight hours in a day, it’s better to work in lots of small blocks with lots of long breaks between those blocks, rather than working a solid eight hours and then having the evening off.

The intuitive answer is obviously that that won’t work, at least not in my job — there have been reams and reams written about how getting into “the zone” is the most productive time for hacking, and taking breaks (or phone calls) knocks you out of “the zone” and stops you getting as much done. This seemed like an ideal time to test that theory. Progress is made by challenging the status quo*, after all.

Well, I can report that the prevailing theory is right, and I am no Galileo breaking down the paradigm and ushering in a new theory of work. Every time I get into something, I have to stop and go and pathetically lie down and recover. Now, it’s possible that I just can’t concentrate because I’m not well, I admit it (so don’t go basing any psychology Ph.Ds on this observation), but it’s become reasonably clear to me that this interruption-based approach to work…doesn’t work. So, as you were.

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