Cubester is in the business of increasing productivity. Workplace interruption is a productivity killer. It is estimated that the productivity app market will grow beyond $6 billion this year. A quick search on Google returns 165 million results when searching “increased productivity” but here’s why we think it’s an important topic.

  • Topping the list of the 165 million are pieces by, Inc.Com, and Forbes. From Fortune 500 companies to small “mom and pop” shops, companies are looking for ways to be more productive.
  • Lost productivity due to workplace distractions and employee dissatisfaction costs 588 Billion dollars annually, according to Research firm Basex.
  • Furthermore, Basex research found that 28% of the average worker’s day is spent managing interruptions and regaining focus. In total 2.25 hrs each day, or 11.25 hrs each week, which adds up to more than 40 hours, a total week’s worth of work being lost each month spent managing interruptions.

Increased productivity is good for both you and the organization. The method in which your productivity is increased is where Cubester has invested time and resources. We have designed a device called Pocco to become your focus buddy. Our findings show that increased productivity is a result of limited distractions, healthy work habit practices, and the ability to focus on one task for a period of time.

Productivity is the Result

It is easy to find methods to increase the quality of production. The Hawthorne Studies of the 1920’s in Chicago demonstrated that changing the working environment in a factory could increase production. A simple dimming or brightening of light created enough change in the workplace to increase productivity and quality of work.

The question is no longer can you increase productivity but how do you change work habits? Can there be a productivity tool in the market that promotes work practices and methods to create a work environment where increased productivity thrives as a result?

To win this fight we started with the enemy of productivity- The stress-inducing interruption.The uninvited, unruly, uncontrollable distractions that rob us of time and focus.

The Science of Interruption

The Wall Street Journal citing numerous university studies found two staggering statistics. The first is that workplace interruptions occur once every 3 minutes. These come from a variety of sources including digital inputs such as email, text message, and phone calls, as well as human interactions which keep you from staying on task. It takes up to 23 minutes to regain the on-task focus you had pre-interruption.

The team at Cubester went to work attempting to sort and manage healthy and unhealthy interruptions. The workplace tool needed the flexibility to give permission to welcomed interruptions, those events that help project completion while simultaneously blocking interrupters that distract.
attempting to sort and manage healthy and unhealthy interruptions. The workplace tool needed the flexibility to give permission to welcomed interruptions, those events that help project completion, while simultaneously blocking interrupters that distract.

Manage Distractions

Research shows that short burst of focused work increases accuracy and creativity. The popular Pomodoro Technique of the 80’s and 90’s demonstrated that periodic breaks in task led to increased creativity, accuracy, and productivity. Essentially, using a timer, as a reminder to give yourself a break from routine, mundane, and high concentration tasks.

Dr. Gloria Mark of UC Irvine found in other studies, that while individuals attempt to make up for lost time caused by distractions, negative results can occur. Employees who often are rushed to “make up” lost time demonstrate increased stress levels, increased feelings of frustration and increased effort. She found they ended up working harder, not smarter.

How can “good” interruptions be managed while limiting or filtering out the “bad” distractions? Abbott Labs found that email was one of the largest distractions in their lab. Productivity and focus were lost among the barrage of emails. The WSJ article further states that at Abbott Labs, even the most mundane email was returned immediately. In an attempt to curb this habit, priority emails were replaced with phone/voice calls and emails were left for lesser important topics that didn’t warrant immediate action.

Behavior Change

The Abbott Labs example above is evidence for how changing habits and workflow can have a significant impact on work productivity. Understanding that there are good and bad interruptions, knowing the need for short bursts of focus and that planned breaks are key to workplace success are keys to mapping out successful behavior changes.

Manage Interruptions

What would a tool look like that could do all of these things? Cubester is set on a mission to solve that problem with a gadget that simultaneously keeps you focused for short bursts of time while managing both human and technological distractions. Let us tell you how we did just that!

Cubester’s POCCO

Yes. It is real! Cubester’s patented POCCO is a device that communicates on your behalf . POCCO allows you to remain focused for self-set periods of time while displaying a message along with a countdown timer, aimed at any co-worker who stops by. This message, with timer, reduces unnecessary distractions communicating exactly what you may be working on and providing a time frame for the time left off, helping you work without interruption. POCCO captures this data of productive focus bursts and records how your time is being spent throughout those important tasks. All of that, in one device.

Lost productivity due to workplace distractions and employee dissatisfaction costs 588 Billion dollars annually

POCCO is designed to be a self-management tool which promotes healthy work habits that increase productivity. Analytics captured by POCCO help you to continually tweak, adjust and use POCCO in new ways as well as have a deeper understanding of how long it truly takes for you to complete a task Stop-watch style.

How do we know this works?

Science. Specifically the Science behind how our minds work. Pocco’s design confirms study after study that cultivating habits and practices supported to do “One thing at a Time” deliver’s real results, reduces stress and keeps your energy balanced. Co-workers respond well to POCCO. Why? Oftentimes POCCO’s timer and message is a clear concise signal to those people stopping by your desk by delivering qualitative information with a quantitative indication. Respecting others time is the first step towards getting them to respect yours

Reduce interruptions, increase periods of focused work and complete more tasks daily with POCCO by your side.

Are you distracted? How much time are you losing each day, week or month?

Take this one-minute quiz to see how easily distracted you are. New York Magazine created this short test that is based on a game designed by Boston College psychologist Joshua Hartshorne. Ready. Go!

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