Many of the chunks of time we have in a day are too short to bother trying to use productively. Think of the time you spend waiting for a meeting to start, riding in an elevator, or standing in line. We try to defrag our time by booking meetings with ourselves, turning off our phones, and taking email vacations. But there is another way. Rather than fighting fragmentation by changing how we work, we can embrace it by changing our tasks to fit the way we actually do work. We call this microproductivity, in which large productivity tasks are broken down into a series of smaller microtasks. The component microtasks can then be completed by the task owner via selfsourcing, or by the crowd via crowdsourcing. The transformation of work into microwork will change when and how people work, and enable individuals and automated processes to efficiently and easily complete complex tasks.
Jaime Teevan is a researcher at Microsoft Research and affiliate faculty at the University of Washington. At Microsoft she leads the Productivity Group, developing novel ways for artificial intelligence to help people accomplish their goals, and she shipped the first personalized search algorithm used by Bing. Dr. Teevan has published hundreds of award-winning research papers, technical articles, books, and patents, and given keynotes around the world. Her groundbreaking research has earned her the Technology Review TR35 Young Innovator, Borg Early Career, and Karen Spärck Jones awards. She received a Ph.D. from MIT and a B.S. from Yale.