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  • Writer's pictureSimon Rojas

How mastering context switching can boost your productivity

Do you recall a time when a deadline slipped through your grasp? That sinking feeling of falling short of expectations, followed by the inevitable postmortem with your team? If this scenario sounds familiar, you may have encountered the culprit: "context switching." It's a term often thrown around when tasks pile up and focus scatters. But do you remember how you tackled this issue?

When team members lament about context switching, it signals a belief that shifting focus between tasks eats away valuable time, ultimately contributing to missed deadlines. The instinctive response is to remove distractions, allowing for sustained focus on primary tasks. While this is a common remedy, could there be an alternative, perhaps a more beneficial one in the long run? I propose that teams and individuals stand to gain by reframing this challenge.

Consider a day in the life of a lead developer:

  • Providing technical leadership to the team

  • Making architectural design decisions

  • Supporting product and design with feedback on new features

  • Assisting with project planning

  • Making progress on a user story

  • Conducting 1:1 meetings with direct reports

  • Performing code reviews

  • Troubleshooting issues and fixing defects

Now, contrast that with a typical day for a junior developer:

  • Making progress on a user story

  • Conducting code reviews

  • Addressing defects

It's no surprise that senior team members shoulder more responsibilities than their junior counterparts. But how does this relate to context switching? How do high-performing senior team members manage to juggle multiple tasks without stretching the workday beyond its limits? In my view, mastering the art of context switching is key. Top performers at senior levels demonstrate an ability to pivot swiftly and excel in various tasks without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. They channel their undivided attention into the present task, maximizing productivity and efficiency. I call this "working in the moment."

By honing this skill, you not only boost your productivity but also accelerate your career trajectory. Your colleagues and supervisors will take note of your ability to handle diverse tasks adeptly, paving the way for more significant opportunities and rapid skill development.

If you're eager to fast-track your career or enhance your work-life balance, let's connect and embark on a journey to elevate your productivity.

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