There’s an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine about how interrupt driven our lives are, Meet the Life Hackers – New York Times. One interesting concept was that we like the interruptions because the make us feel needed:
This can actually be a positive feeling, inasmuch as the constant pinging makes us feel needed and desired. The reason many interruptions seem impossible to ignore is that they are about relationships – someone, or something, is calling out to us. It is why we have such complex emotions about the chaos of the modern office, feeling alternately drained by its demands and exhilarated when we successfully surf the flood.
The article went on to talk about the ways computers could help us deal with the interruptions by figuring out when we were busy (and therefore should not be interrupted) and when might be a good time to deliver all our email.
There was also a study that said that having a bigger computer screen where you could see all your active tasks might decrease your stress and allow you to finish tasks 10-40% faster than on a small screen!