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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Does 'Batching' Increase Productivity?

May 27, 2011, 7:00 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

Cal Newport spent a day of forced focus, or batching. He says he's a to-do list creative—he has to keep up with logistical tasks but also needs long bouts of focus on hard problems. Continuous partial attention doesn't cut it. The obvious solution is batching—check email only a few times a day, work in big chunks without distraction, etc. "Everyone has heard this suggestion. But almost no one follows it. This is why I launched my experiment. I wanted to see what would happen if I forced myself to batch."

What's the Big Idea?

Newport found that to do batching right requires strict rules and these can more life more difficult. "However, if you survive the annonyance, there's also no avoiding the reality that your work will be of a much higher quality." That's the trade-off: inconvenience in your daily workflow in exchange for an increased quality of your work.

 

Does 'Batching' Increase Pr...

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