Scheduling needs to balance responsiveness with throughput

Date created: 2022-07-18

The main cause of context shifts in knowledge work is checking unscheduled back and forth messages occurs when responsiveness takes over. But we can’t all live like monks with zero responsiveness either.

Part of what makes real-time scheduling so complex and interesting is that it is fundamentally a negotiation between two principles that aren’t fully compatible. These two principles are called responsiveness and throughput: how quickly you can respond to things, and how much you can get done overall. Anyone who’s ever worked in an office environment can readily appreciate the tension between these two metrics.

If you decide on a minimum amount of time to spend on a task before context switching, you can combat some of the negative effects of context switching. Techniques like Pomodoro technique and Time-boxing help.


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