TIL It takes developers 23 minutes of uninterrupted focus until they hit their “flow” state - the stage in which they do actual coding. Slack messages, fragmented meeting schedules and the need to be "available" online is hampering the possible productive gains

Most of these 'eye-catching' titles are just that. I'm an /r/adhdprogrammer and energy expenditure and focus is stuff I've worked on in therapy for years and you'll never be capable of putting a "x minutes" on it, because it depends. Sure, this is very anecdotal, and maybe you guys have this automatic button that 'clicks on' when you reach 23 minutes. But for me there is a billion things that impact how much an interruption will cost.

Sometimes it's nothing. This isn't only for when my mind continues to program while I pretend to listen, but also when something catches my interest. Sometimes it's 23 minutes and sometimes I might as well go home because I won't really get anything done for the next couple of hours. Sometimes I do go home, and then do the work at another time.

For me the most interrupting thing isn't open floor plans. Sure they can suck, but so can sitting in an office. It's meetings. If I have two meetings that are spaced out by less than an hour, that's honestly often an hour I'm on company clock. But this isn't really something that is special for developers. Almost nobody can be expected to get actual work done if they have 30 minutes between two meetings, and if any manager thinks otherwise then they are frankly naive or inexperienced.

Frankly though, as soon as someone mentions flow in regards to programming, you can pretty much stop listening to them. As though people sit there and just churn out code... In reality people sit there talking to their internal rubberduck while they zoom through their internal mental map of the code to try and figure out what is wrong, how to make it better, where to implement the wanted feature and so on.


It's HR bullshit from pseudo-jobbers selling snake oil to managers.

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