It’s like alt-tabbing constantly but in real life.
Imagine the following…
You’re trying to get on with your daily tasks. You’re in your flow and you notice an email come in marked urgent which you’re cc’d into and a bunch of people want your opinion on something today. You answer it and get back to your task but now you need to do a quick realignment to where you were and pick up that flow again.
So you get back on it and a Slack (or whatever you use) message pops up. You can’t help but check it and before you know it you’re in some emoji laden conversation about another task that you’ve got to do after the one you’re currently working on. Anyway, you minimise Slack and get back to your task…kinda, as you need to readjust again to get back on flow. Then your phone rings, well that’s another context switch. Grrr.
Do you get where I’m going with this?
As with most things pictures usually help, this is my interpretation of context switching…
It’s the constant back and forth between different tasks, messages and conversations that all need your attention and they all need you to be on-point.
It’s natural to be switching between different things during the day, however, in my opinion and experience you have a finite daily resource of context switching allowance. If you don’t manage it carefully, it just messes with your productivity and at worst contributes to burnout.
Personally, I don’t want to go beyond 20% of flitting back and forth between different contexts.
This is for those who are new to infosec and working life in general. I hope it helps put a bit of context into the concept. Pun intended 😉
Be well friends.