interrupt-driven

interrupt-driven
adj.
Relating to or characterised by constant or frequent interruptions, especially at work.
Example Citations:
For organizations, mobile voice has begun to emerge as the default means of communication. Why should I try to call you on your office extension when the probability of reaching you is much higher if I call your cell? Yes, there's the benefit of enhanced co-worker access, but the cost to the organization is seen in bloated cell-service budgets. More sinister, easy access promotes an interrupt-driven work style that seldom results in increased productivity.
—Dave Molta, "Responsible Mobility," Network Computing, June 22, 2006
Yet while interruptions are annoying, Mark's study also revealed their flip side: they are often crucial to office work. Sure, the high-tech workers grumbled and moaned about disruptions, and they all claimed that they preferred to work in long, luxurious stretches. But they grudgingly admitted that many of their daily distractions were essential to their jobs. When someone forwards you an urgent e-mail message, it's often something you really do need to see; if a cellphone call breaks through while you're desperately trying to solve a problem, it might be the call that saves your hide. In the language of computer sociology, our jobs today are "interrupt driven." Distractions are not just a plague on our work — sometimes they are our work.
—Clive Thompson, "Meet the Life Hackers," The New York Times, October 16, 2005
Earliest Citation:
Klein says that the CoSystem will give managers a "cockpit" that can naturally accommodate their work patterns.
"I'm a manager, I'm interrupt-driven; I jump from task to task in random order," he says.
—John Markoff, "Cygnet's CoSystem helps IBM communicate," InfoWorld, August 29, 1983
Notes:
This term comes from computer science where it describes a system that operates via interrupt requests: instructions that halt processing temporarily so that another operation (such as handling input or output) can take place.
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