Over the last 6 months I have refrained as much as possible from using Instant Messaging, if it was not for scheduled conversations. I mean, IM is cool in a “netmeeting” kind of way. But having an IRC/MSN/Yahoo/ICQ/Whatever Messenger open all day, poping up alerts every 10 to 20 minutes, is definitely a major disturbance!

I got into arguments about this with friends. They were arguing that “you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to” and I was arguing that “you cannot focus on what you’re constantly evaluating whether or not you’re gonna reply to the latest interruption”.

It’s been hard to come to an agreement… but now… I have scientific evidence to back up my position! :» You think you’re too smart to be subject to attention disorder? Check those out:

Those actually articles talk about email, but email is only the ancient, slow, lightweight form of the Instant Messaging disturbance! ;)

I do actually tend to close my email client as well when I need concentration. I try to only open it every 2 to 3 hours or so. And even if I leave it open: I have turned of new mail alerts and sounds! You oughta try that someday ;) You wouldn’t believe how much better you’ll be able to focus!

Now, I still need to deal with that pesky phone which always rings at a bad time… and maybe I’ll eventually get my work environment optimized for efficiency!

Comments from long ago:

Comment from: Kochise

I had a clue : all these people writing SMS-alike :)


2005-04-26 07-43

Comment from: Aurelia

Mais qui est donc ce/cette Kochise ?!? ^^

Je pense que tu ne liras jamais la question que je t’ai posée ici si je ne t’indique pas son existence: http://fplanque.net/Blog/itTrends/2005/04/20/adobe_engloutit_macromedia_pas_glop

Ooops, SORRY. I MUST POST IN ENGLISH if i understand it right.

My bad, ahem, well, i will just say that i used to use IM a few years ago, then i stopped using it when Microsoft started to play in that field. I never really used it anymore since then, except as a way to communicate with some people which were available only through this medium of ’live’ discussion when i didnt want to exchange hundreds of email, and that i didnt have their phone , nor i wanted to give them mine.

So, dont just say IM sucks, neither email, and do not think scientists , especially british ones, are completely sane.

Do your remind the mad cow effect ? They created it. They were aware of that problem well before France and Europe, and they just printed some ’looking like ads’ on their public viewing areas, without any other warning oversea, as far as i remember. And then, the media, all over the world, took the damn thing and revealed it to the world. This created a lot of trouble, and a lot of loss. Everywhere.

That study makes me laugh. They should have taken a better approach and focus their attention to CELL PHONE users. I remember a scientific study with a cell phone killing mouse’s " kids " (je ne trouve pas le mot pour ‘progéniture’ ni ’embryon’) while they were developping inside the mother’s womb ‘under constant cell phone beam’

May be i’m not talking about what interest you, but i think the SMS has destroyed more than we can actually see now. It will take at least 20 years to really know what has been lost due to all that wireless things, imho.

2005-04-30 04-04

Comment from: PP

In order for IM to work for you, you must have it activated, so yes, it is a major disturbance. However regarding email, it is an extremely asynchronous tool - meaning, you check it when you want it (yet without ever losing one single email) and you reply when you want it to. If email is bothering you throughout the day, just open your email application when you’re “ready”, just like you said. So email is not bad for you or your IQ, it’s HOW you use it - like pretty much everything else in the world, nothing new.

On another sort of things, RSS for example, is worst than email, because while your email will wait for you until you check it, be it in the next 10 minutes or two months from today, RSS will vanish over time. If you take too long to check a particular feed, you’ll miss on stuff that might have interested you otherwise. From that point of view, email is actually more useful than RSS. Now, the spam, well, that’s another story., again, it all comes down to how people use the tools.

2005-05-04 22-36

Comment from: François Planque

Yes it’s definitely about how you use them and not about the tools themselves.

Regarding RSS, once again, you gotta use it the right way. Bloglines for example will collect your feeds whithout you being connected and cache as many as 200 entries per feed for you to catchup when you have time for it.

2005-05-06 14-27

Comment from: François Planque

…and then there’s this guys who’s gone too far and can only be healed by pluging off….

2005-05-06 17-45