Conquering context switching…


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So today some of my junior friend posted this on Facebook. “Ho do you avoid (or conquer) context switching overhead?”

To give you the context of the scenario here the guy who posted this question is a PHD researcher in Computer Science Virginia Tech University in USA. If you are working in computer science related field, it is very common that you have so many projects to handle together and obviously you have to switch between multiple projects in a single day.

Here goes my answer for him…

I have to do it so much, so many times everyday. So here are few things that I do.
1) Switching focus is the key, forget entirely the previous context and focus on the new
2) Timeslotting, splitting your working hours in small time slot(or my case I use 2 hours) is a good idea. With this, the big challenge with context switching(getting out from previous project you were working and getting deeper int o new project) gets easier. I used to leave my desk every two hours and have some coffee or may be chit chat with my fellows around and then get back to desk… You know what? this is also good for health as well.
3) Keeping template or prep (keep all files or shortcuts and necessary info in one folder for one project), keeping multiple desktop may help
4) Switch working desk if possible
5) Psychologically Accept that context switching isn’t a big deal
6) Have checklists not for tasks only but for things you need for every context
7) Have a break before switching

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