Interruptions Cause Skilled Workers To Lose Focus On Execution Of Tasks [Video]


Michigan State University psychology researchers reported that skilled workers tend to be easily distracted by interruptions. They tend to forget where they had left off when they were interrupted and so they had difficulty resuming their work.

The two psychology researchers from Michigan State University were Erik M. Altmann and David Z. Hambrick. They studied 244 persons who were asked to perform computer-based procedural tasks in two sessions. During the first session, they were asked to perform a simple typing task, which interrupted their work.

In the second session, the people involved in the experiment did the task accurately and quickly. However, after they were interrupted, they had difficulty remembering where they stopped in their task. They were not able to resume work right away, according to Science Daily.

The researchers discovered that skilled workers tended to be easily distracted by interruptions than less-skilled ones. Forgetting what one was doing after having been interrupted might have adverse effects. In addition, the faster they work, the higher is the chance that they will forget what they were doing before they were interrupted.

For example, a nurse about to give medication might forget to do so after she was interrupted on the task. She might presume that she had given the medication already and this might put the patient at risk.

Results of the study could be used as a basis for workplaces employing skilled workers to be strict in implementing rules against interrupting employees while at work.

Skilled workers can avoid distractions by focusing on their tasks. It will be best for them to finish their task first before taking a break or doing something else, according to MindTools.

In the light of the study, it is recommended that skilled workers must not be interrupted while at work. Companies or organizations employing skilled workers must implement rules that will prevent interruptions among skilled workers.

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