The Cost Of Interruption Visualized

We previously shared a post noting the high cost of interruption. In it, we outlined some interesting datapoints shared by Ninlabs Research on just how disruptive interruptions are to workers in the creative economy, such as:

  • A programmer takes between 10-15 minutes to start editing code after resuming work from an interruption.
  • When interrupted during an edit of a method, only 10% of times did a programmer resume work in less than a minute.
  • A programmer is likely to get just one uninterrupted 2-hour session in a day

Definitely read the whole post (linked above) for full context. Following that up, it was neat to see a visualization from (fellow Googler) Bruno Oliveira showing visually just how much impact disruptions can have on our time:


Despite the visualization talking about “geeks” I would argue this high cost of interruption applies to all workers in creative fields. Especially in cases we are trying complex things that have never been done or working on something which requires a flow experience to do correctly. All the more reason to reduce things like meetings and let your team focus on their passions (aka: get real work done).