I have my list of things to do. I’m right in the middle of wrapping one thing up, when *ping*. A blinking notification on the task bar of my Windows machine, and a pop-up preview of a “yt?” message.
Gah. I’d like to ignore the message, but then, that just means that Outlook will consider this a missed conversation and send it to me in an email. Either way, I’m marked away from my desk–unthinkable that that should happen at any point between 11am and 1pm. Apparently, for impromptu instant messages, this is the time range in which senders figure they’re most likely to get a response, much like telemarketers at dinner time.
Back to reality… I decide to respond, because it’s rude to not respond to a flashing notification and a “ding” noise.
The sender’s response is a simple question, which requires me to temporarily abandon the half-completed email that I was composing, and search my inbox for a message that answers the question. This takes 15 minutes, because I eventually have to resort to sorting by sender, by conversation, by date, by size to find what should have been fairly easy to conduct a simple search on. Question answered, and I forward the email that describes the answer in great detail.
I then take 5 minutes to regroup, and begin to focus on my next task. 20 minutes into that task, another impromptu instant message with similar results.
Fast forward to the end of the day: I have 3 half-completed documents and 5 draft emails composed, and now, I can’t shut down my computer without dealing with them.
I guess I could’ve went the day with “do not disturb” on, but then people not nearby in the office would have assumed that I was out of the office and not working, which is fine until people start assuming that I’m never in the office.
Ok, maybe instant messenger isn’t the devil, but a stalker or overbearing significant other.