We've been doing research on context switching as we develop our product. We found that the average small business uses over 100 different apps. We spoke with @maguay and even though the Capiche team was only four people, they were already using over a dozen tools.
Every time we switch, we're losing seconds of our time. How do you manage to stay in focus and avoid multi-tasking/context switching?
Productivity hacks are really useful for me to get to grips with the keyboard shortcuts of different apps. Also making using of the do not disturb settings to block time out so that you can focus.
Its by no means perfect but allows me to maintain more focus on a particular task in hand without needing to context switch as often.
For me, the biggest challenge is not the context switching between tools, this can be solved with technology. Alt-Tab, Keyboard Maestro, Command-E, Spotlight (on mac), Launchy or Windows 10 Power Toys Run (on PC). You just have to combine the tools that suit your workflow and style.
The real challenge is context switching in my brain, as I get interrupted and struggle to maintain the flow of my work. Ideally, this is solved one of two ways:
- The interruption is important and I need to address now. It's also hopefully short. The challenge here is the bookmark I need on what I was doing so that I have the ability to return to it quickly when the interruption is handled.
- The interruption is something that can be handled later in which case, I need a way to add it to a queue FAST and without thinking to much about it, so I can just go back to what I was doing.
Whoever solves for this will get all my money. I know there are solutions out there, systems, and tricks. But we have to admit that with the volume of interruptions, it's becoming a challenge.
The perfect tech solution would track where I'm at and what I'm doing and check-in: "you were working on this document YYY 10 minutes ago. Would you like to go back to it? Or keep watching cat videos and snooze this reminder." An automated todo list of sorts, based on sites I browse, apps I open, things I do, etc.
I don't think we're there yet so for now, I'll keep beating my brain into compliance.
I actually find that (oftentimes, not always) my workflow is conducive to context switching. To solve problems for customers or my team, I usually do need to switch between several platforms.
I really love Command-E (https://getcommande.com) for this. I can't avoid bouncing between Slack, Drive, Hubspot, Asana, etc to get the job done, but Command-E eliminates all the wasted friction/clicks it takes to get to the specific thing I'm look for, no matter where it lives. Sort of like Command-K in Superhuman, but for all your SaaS platforms!
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