Context switch for engineers

Context switch of an engineer usually comes on the top when we're talking of productivity. The problem, unlike CPU, humans can't do context switches by simply putting things in RAM, etc. That's a limitation.

Solutions usually work towards reducing context switches. Building enough layers of communication so that engineer gets only limited messages in a limited timeframe, etc. However, it can't be avoided. Harder problems in engineering usually require days of thought, or sometimes even months. The problem statement always run behind the scenes in every engineer's mind.

While companies and management can strive to reduce the context switch by introducing more process of communication, it always is an issue. No one wants to be disturbed at their work. The castle we build in our minds collapse within no time when someone misplaces our context or concentration.

However, what if engineers are supposed to think with context switch? It's a problem and engineers solve problems. So, why can't we solve this problem ourselves and train our minds to live with the fact that externally applied solutions are never gonna solve the root cause? The root cause is our inability to keep multiple contexts in our mind. In a larger perspective, we've the ability to do that in our daily life. While we do brush our teeth, we do think about something deep down but brushing doesn't get impacted. While we talk to someone, we listen while judging their dress, the way they talk, we look into their eyes, reduce the temperature of the room, we think of what to order for lunch, what not!

Humans do have the capability to deal with context switches. As engineers are humans, unfortunately, we have the capability too. May be not as excellent as computers, but we can do better than how we're doing today. The greatness of creativity doesn't necessarily deal with single context at once. The larger picture of any problem involves multiple contexts by default.

Magnus Carlsen once won in chess with 10 people, simultaneously. And ofcorse, not every one of us is Carlsen. But hey, we can try to be. I don't know how to, but now I know this is possible.