Even Mini Shifts Need An Intermission

Sue Shellenbarger with the Wall Street Journal has a telling article about an outgrowth of the recession: Mini Shifts. In the article, Recession Tactic: The Mini-Shift, these shifts are usually taken by people out of steady work and who choose to work 3-5 "mini-shifts" of 90 minutes to three hours in length. While they do offer the opportunity for income, the article highlights the challenges associated with these multiple shifts and breakneck pace:

  • So much task switching can result in a kind of cognitive stall out Julie Morgenstern calls "mental gear-stripping."
  • It creates a lack of "clear edges" between work and personal time which can gradually erode R&R until your life gets out of balance in a very significant way.
  • It reduces output. Russell Poldrack, an authority on multi-tasking writes, "Almost any time we switch between doing different tasks, we will be less efficient than if we focused on a single task.

So, in an era where people will have to continue to work mini-shifts to keep food on the table and make ends meet, what is someone to do? Those interviewed in the article said they "pull back and recharge" or "fill gaps with well-planned out activities that re-charge you." Simply put, they plan AND take an intermission. Bravo!

What have you planned today to help you recharge when your circus begins running you?