Scrubbing in

A friend, currently in her surgical residency program, describes what “scrubbing in” feels like:

Once you’re scrubbed in, you can’t really do anything else until the procedure is over. If someone calls for you, all you have to say is “I’m scrubbed in”. You can’t touch your pager. You can’t touch anything. And you yourself are literally untouchable.

Is there benefit in “scrubbing in” for the rest of us, in other types of work? What might it look like for designers?


  1. Ario
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    I like this metaphor a lot. I always turn off IM and put email windows out of view. Still, when you get stuck somewhere while designing, it can be tempting to check some social stream as an escape.

    For me, pair designing works best since it keeps both of us on task and it’s also helpful for moving past roadblocks.

  2. Gentry
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    we try to do something somewhat like this at IDEO with project spaces. Project teams generally set them up as sacred, i.e. if you’re in there you’re working, either along or together, on the project. I can’t describe how helpful this is.