Bored Tuesdays and Focused Afternoons: The Rhythm of Attention and Online Activity in the Workplace

Gloria Mark, Shamsi T Iqbal, Mary Czerwinski, and Paul John

Abstract

While distractions due to digital media have received

attention in HCI, we examine instead focused attention in the

workplace. We logged digital activity and continually probed

perspectives of 32 information workers for five days in situ

to understand how attentional states change with context. We

present a framework of how engagement and challenge in

work relate to focus, bored, and rote work. Overall, we find

more focused attention than boredom in the workplace.

Reported focus peaks mid-afternoon while boredom is

highest in the morning. People are happiest doing rote work;

we show that focused work can involve stress. We identified

higher levels of boredom mid-week. Online activities are

associated with different attentional states, showing different

patterns at beginning and end of day, and before and after a

mid-day break. Our study shows how rhythms of attentional

states are associated with context

Details

Publication typeInproceedings
PublisherACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction
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