Mastering the art of context switching

Strategies for handling multiple responsibilities and tasks as an engineering manager without losing productivity

Happy Tuesday! I am now sending my newsletter from beehiiv. (I also forgot to unschedule from Substack so if you’re a subscriber you probably got it twice. My bad.) Expect to see continued improvements over time! If you were a paid subscriber, I already transferred over your paid subscription so you should see the deep dive below.

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Context switching requires intentional effort to get under control.

  • Why it matters: Frequent context switching results in reduced productivity and increased stress. It requires mental shifts that disrupt focus and flow, impacting not only your work but your team’s as well.

Here’s how to get context switching under control:

  1. Set boundaries. Make your availability known and stick to it.

  2. Implement “deep work” sessions. Schedule uninterrupted sessions for focused work. Block this time on your calendar.

  3. Time block your schedule. Divide your day into dedicated blocks for different types of work based on when you’re most productive.

  4. Prioritize ruthlessly. Get comfortable with saying no or discussing trade-offs to focus on the most important tasks.

The bottom line: When you feel like you or your team can’t actually get anything done, it’s time to make a change. Figure out which method(s) work best based on your company’s culture and stay the course.

Paid subscribers get a deeper dive into this topic.

SOMETHING EXTRA:

🗣️ Become better at managing up by giving the right amount of context. Wes Kao has a great read with concrete examples on this topic here.

💾 So long, floppies. TIL: After a two-year all-out battle, Japan is finally not using floppy disks in government systems.

  • Fax machines are still safe. For now.

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