The New ROI 2.0: Return on Interruption

How many times a day do you catch yourself doing some work or are in middle of something, and then you get an Instant Message from someone? Or maybe you get this urge to go on Facebook or check your Twitter, only to realize that nothing has changed at all, nothing important has happened?  If you’re like me, this happens a lot.  I’ll come home and check my facebook, only to scroll down a page and realize “Hmm… I’ve read these posts before”.  Let’s think about that James.  Maybe it’s because it’s been only 30 MINUTES since you last checked (probably less time but that’s too embarrassing to admit).  You’ve just interrupted what you were doing. And you got nothing in return.

Technology these days is FAR more advanced and superior than before that we actually have to pay attention to these things, even as a user.  When I first got my phone, I was absolutely amazed at everything it did and how “connected I was going to be with my friends”.  There’s been a big push with technology to “connect people” and everybody has loved it.  Now that people are connected anywhere and everywhere, you can contact, update, or ask someone a question and they can be anywhere, anytime and respond.  The more open you are the more channels you have for communication.  At first I was a big supporter of “the more, the merrier” concept, but I’m having second thoughts.

The reason for this is the fact that whenever I get an email notification from facebook, twitter update, Instant Message, or text message, I’m being interrupted in what I’m doing.  There’s been many times that I’ve tried to work but have been in an Instant Message conversation for an hour.  And it’s not like I’m constantly messaging back and forth, my focus is still on the work at hand but every 45 seconds I’ll get an IM and my attention will be diverted, and when I get back to my work I’ll have to pick up where I left off.  This is very unproductive and I’m taking a new initiative to cut down on this.

I’m going to start analyzing the new ROI: Return on Interruption.

There are moments for everything as they say, and I believe there are moments for openness in the digital world.  Let’s take for example, that post-lunch 20 minutes.  It’s always hard to pick up where you left off exactly so at that time, I feel a little facebook action or twitter updates should be OK, since you’re not being productive anyways at that time. But after say, 1:45 P.M., it’s time to put away the social aspect of social media.  No more facebook, no more twitter, no more nothing.  The hard part of this is that you can’t really get away from this once you’re knee deep in it.  If you remove the app from your phone, you’re only going to check it on the computer.  It’s all mental.

I hate when I look back and think what I’ve done the past 2 hours and realize that I didn’t do as much as I could have because I let myself be distracted with other things.  I chose this, I put this upon myself.

Next time I check facebook I will ask myself, “is checking facebook right worth the 1-X minutes it will take out of your work?”  If I let my twitter go unchecked for hours and check it again, will there be something beneficial or humorous or enlightening?  Will there even be a single update since the last time I checked?

I use this term called “running out of internet”, which basically means you’ve gone through all your bookmarks, daily websites, etc… and have read everything on them to the point where you click “refresh” on all the sites and there’s nothing new.  At this point it’s basically like, “well, all my sites are checked. Time to work.”  It happens almost every morning of my day.  The thing about checking the sites online in the morning is that there is a HUGE ROI 2.0.  I wake up, read news articles and find out stuff I didn’t know about, see new pictures and updates on facebook, see new tweets, see fresh content, and I am legitimately happy and entertained.  And the “Interruption” is small because it’s the morning and I haven’t really started working.

Next time you are about to check your social media life ask yourself, “is it worth interrupting what I’m doing right now?” Whats the ROI on this?