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    The New Yorker | Cal Newport | 12/14/20 | 6 min
    27 reads11 comments
    9.0
    The New Yorker
    27 reads
    9.0
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    • bartadamley
      Scout
      3 months ago

      Neuroscientists and psychologists teach us that our attention is fundamentally single-tasked, and switching it from one target to another is detrimental to productivity. We’re simply not wired to monitor an ongoing stream of unpredictable communication at the same time that we’re trying to also finish actual work.

      • thorgalle
        Scribe
        3 months ago

        Highlighted that too! The last sentence is obviously true when having Slack or a mail client open all the time, but in the programmer world it also made me think of the terminal output that reports on the progress (and problems) of a long-running program. For example, a copy of many gigabytes of data with rsync.

        It’s hard to keep my eyes off such things too. Any thing feed-y, flashy that incessantly refreshes on its own I find mesmerizing. Gotta minimize that stuff, don’t know how movie hackers find the focus to do their job :)

    • ctwardy3 months ago

      I first came across this the micro.blog community — very like ReadUp! - esp. the great Alan Jacobs. I thinks it's great. I agree Slack is the best of the quick-collab platforms out there, but that it's optimizing the wrong thing, at least as often used. About 2 years ago someone wrote, "Slack, when you said you would replace email, I thought you meant you had a better way. Now I see you just meant it literally."

      1. Update (1/7/2021):

        Wow, lots of typos in that one. Sorry.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        3 months ago

        I'm checking out micro.blog right now - looks awesome! And Alan Jacobs indeed seems great.

        • ctwardy3 months ago

          Thanks for the note!

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      3 months ago

      Cal Newport FTW. He's going to rake it in when Readup starts paying writers. It's fascinating that he's so prescient about (1) media/communication technology and (2) corporate life, because (A) he doesn't use social media and (B) he works in academia. In a weird way, I guess it all adds up.

      For me Slack is 80% fun/meaningful banter. I really can't remember ever being like oh I spent too much time on Slack today although I can totally understand why people with conventional jobs must feel like that constantly. For years it was just me and @jeff, and now we’ve also got @Tarunika, @thorgalle and @bartadamley up in there. It's low key and the vibes are A++. And we often make important Readup-related decisions there.

      For at least the next few months, I don't see any reason why we can’t have more people in there. If you want to join the Readup Slack channel, just email (bill@readup.com) and I’ll reply with an invite.

    • skusan3 months ago

      I find Slack and similar to be brilliant when needing to do a run through on a project and get views or work up a document together. The conversation remains for others in different time zones etc and you can set a limit then 'close' the discussion after a day or two. The problem is in the expectations for asynchronous communication and constant monitoring - it kills getting 'the real work' done. Procrastination is an emotional thing and as humans we're seeking 'the new' all the time - Slack and similar give us the perfect place to escape to, is constantly throwing up 'new' and pulls us in just like social media - it's very hard to resist when the whole thing is set up to grab our attention. For me it's all about leaders putting some thought into what they're trying to achieve and then using Slack/IM to fulfil that while keeping an eye out for unintended consequences and iterating. I don't think just throwing in a platform with no defined intentions or processes except 'replace email' and keeping fingers crossed is enough 😊

    • KapteinB3 months ago

      When I spoke with him, some time had passed since this incident, but the memory of the service’s omnipresent notification ping remained strong. “I hear that sound, it gives me the shivers,” he said.

      Maybe Slack itself isn't the problem, but the bloody notifications are.

      When they upgraded us to Windows 10 at work, one of the first things I did was figure out how to disable notifications, because the constant pop-ups about incoming email was driving me nuts. When we later started using Slack, I never found it as frustrating as this writer, maybe exactly because I don't get notifications, and don't notice I have unread messages until the next time I check my tray icons.

      And if you have Slack installed on your phone, here's how to disable notifications for specific apps on Android and on iOS. You may want to do this for other apps as well.

    • Florian
      Top reader this weekReading streak
      3 months ago

      Slack seems to be more transient. It’s a short-term optimization of our first hasty attempts to make sense of a high-tech professional world that will be followed by more substantial revolutions

      Interesting perspective

    • Raven3 months ago

      How can you not appreciate the writer’s clean and clear message surrounding making choices about what we’re exposing ourselves to in our digitized life. Maybe there’s a message in the medium?