Giles Bowkett has a new video up over at his blog about programmers and flow. I first read Flow when I took a class on the Philosophy of Happiness. It’s interesting stuff and it basically reinforces the notion that people need some sort of challenge in order to be happy. (See also Viktor Frankl’s work on meaning.)

The video’s good, but it takes as given one thing that programmers all take for granted, but that many other people don’t understand: a 5-minute interruption costs us way more than 5-minutes worth of productivity. It’s not simply that talking to someone for 5-minutes is 5-minutes less that we’re working, it’s that (and Giles mentioned this in passing at one point), it completely wrecks our train of thought, our focus, our motivation, our strategy, and our tactic. They all get completely obliterated. Building these back up takes time; often hours of it.

One other thing that he might have done well to mention is the fact that many of our interruptions (or at least mine) are interruptions that I generate myself. I am habitually self-distracting, especially if the work that need to get done is boring.

The video is excellent, though, and highly recommended. It’s a much-watch for anyone who is a programmer, works with programmers, manages programmers, etc.