Someone recently argued that they do, and then Derek Johnson responded in the Atlantic that they do not.
It’s an interesting article. I just want to say one thing. The “yes the increase productivity” person notes at a couple points:
I suppose I don’t see how spending more time on email is necessarily unproductive, or even sub-optimally productive. Again, if I’m on the subway listening to Coldplay and staring at the floor, I’m accomplishing nothing of particular use for my company.
I would disagree that staring at the floor, listening to Coldplay (or doing nothing at all) is unproductive. I think that it is the crowding out of this type of time that is the biggest problem.
I wouldn’t say that’s a reason to never check email or Twitter during those in-between-times. But we do take a productivity hit from the lack of in-between thinking time and the mental change of gears it involves.