When you install a program on your computer, you have to wait until it goes to 100%. If you interrupt the installation, your computer rolls back to its previous state and you have to start over again.
Installing a program requires several inter-dependent steps to happen in a particular sequence. Your computer first ensures if you have the necessary system specifications. It then copies the specific .dll and .exe files needed for the program’s execution. Finally, it creates shortcuts that appear on your start menu.
As ‘makers’ we all take up complex tasks that have sequential dependencies. Fixing a bug in your production code requires you to isolate the bug, reproduce it and make the smallest possible change in your code that is necessary to fix it. Interruptions are costly, because you have to start all over again.
And yet, our work days are filled with interruptions. Emails demand to be answered within an hour or two. An instant message demands an instant response. Managers don’t think twice about scheduling meetings into empty afternoon slots, breaking them up into smaller bits.
Deep work is a winner-take-all game. As a maker, can you work hard to protect interruption-free slots in your schedule? As a manager, can you understand the costs of your constant interruptions?
TL;DR: A fun cartoon that explains this more elegantly than I can.
Inspiration: Maker’s schedule, Manager’s schedule