Ugh. I was interrupted after a solid 30+ minutes of concentration while working through a recursion problem. It all screeched to a stop. I lost track of what was going on. Everything I had been concentrating on was immediately dumped as a request for my attention came to assist in doing something else, something completely unrelated. That 30 minutes of work was completely erased, only the skeletal remains left in actual code, that at least built, but was not working appropriately. Everything I held in memory, the multiple memories I was using in my gray matter, each was catastrophically purged.
I then completed this alternate, non-related development task. It was fun, I enjoyed it.
Now knew I?d have to step back into that 30 minutes of memory, and spend another 10 minutes just to get back to the point where I could continue with what I was working on. I now faced the challenge of putting all of those multiple memories back into place, of remembering each and every piece of data that I held in my mind, and assure that each connection was once again related appropriately in my gray matter.
What was originally about 20-30 more minutes of work before the interruption, now grew into the 20-30 minutes plus the 10 or so minutes taken to reacquire the appropriate working state. This happens to every developer, sometimes we can maintain our state, but mostly we?re completely ruined and must start by rebuilding our working state.
How many project managers, significant others, and generally the planet just disregards this fact? Maybe people just don?t understand, even though it is inherent to the human process of thought. Simply, anything requiring attention and thought cannot be interrupted without devastating consequences to the intended end result.