SOFI stands up to thrashing

Pardon the Interruption

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I am repeatedly having the worst day of my life, at least once per week. When I saw thrashing explained, I immediately identified with its discombobulating effects. Here are some coping mechanisms – and the impact AI automation has had on my workload, without my even realising it.

Thrashing: from overload to relief

I am repeatedly having the worst day of my life, at least once per week. Overdrive: 100% of my processing power is taken up to decide which task to do next from an ever-growing list of urgent priorities, without any real progress.
Imagine my relief when an Instagram reel showed me that computers go through the same thing! And it’s got a name: THRASHING, or priority inversion, i.e. a state where all tasks are urgent and all new tasks coming in are high priority, so our own scheduling algorithm gets overwhelmed and does not let us do anything meaningful.

This sure sounds familiar! Most of my days are tightly time-boxed and include external client meetings needing follow-up and internal ones requiring minutes and next steps. In between these, I have barely managed to ringfence time to work on ongoing research projects, a skill-up course and internal strategic priorities. So what happens when the boss calls asking for something which needs at least a half-day of work and three new things hit my inbox for this week? 
While thrashing merely makes the Mars Pathfinder freeze, for me as a human being it comes with the compounding effects of stress, anxiety and a feeling of failure. 
The most frustrating thing is that thrashing costs productivity and mental resources. Thrashing is task switching to the extreme, which may eat up between 20% and 80% of our productivity. While neurodivergent people are especially vulnerable, everyone has a finite resource of brain power and concentration. This is why law advisers Sackers recently called for more time to be allowed in trustee board decision-making, to prepare, formulate and discuss views in a truly inclusive way.

From awareness to coping – and help from AI    

I was surprised how common thrashing is, among people with executive dysfunction, creatives, but also other researchers just like me. There are several ways to get out of thrashing: 
Retrospectively, using SOFI in all meetings has been transformational for my proclivity to thrashing. SOFI reduces my workload because it takes care of all note taking and minutes, and does so better than me without training or intervention. It also tackles the blocker tasks in my day – it prepares the next steps from each meeting, so I can do the follow-up. 
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