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context-switching is expensive

Human consciousness is single-threaded. We can't focus on multiple things at the same time.

What people do is the classic multitasking simulation - rapidly switching between the tasks you're trying to accomplish. And doing this is expensive.

demonstrates it on the example of a simple task, but for more complex tasks with larger contexts - the cost can be even more dramatic.

It can take us several minutes to re-focus on the task after being interrupted.

Ways to avoid context-switching:

I mention consciousness here specifically, because. Brain is multi-threaded - performing the body maintenance/etc in background.

Humans clearly have context-switching costs too. We feel them when we move papers on and off our desk, close and open documents on our computer, walk into a room without remembering what had sent us there, or simply say out loud, “Now, where was I?” or “What was I saying?” Psychologists have shown that for us, the the scale of minutes rather than microseconds. To put that figure in perspective, anyone you interrupt more than a few times an hour is in danger of doing no work at all.

The moral is that you should try to stay on a single task as long as possible without decreasing your responsiveness below the minimum acceptable limit. Decide how responsive you need to be — and then, if you want to get things done, be no more responsive than that.

Referenced in

batch tasks to avoid unnecessary context switching

context-switching is expensive if you need to do several tasks of a similar type, for example - paying bills, you can achieve it more efficiently if you are to collect them and do them all at one time. Instead of doing them as they arise.