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We are Big Idea Hunters…

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.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

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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To Be More Productive, Scrap the To-Do List. Try the Anti-To-Do List.

August 26, 2014, 2:00 PM

To-do lists have long been a tool for keeping track of important tasks and increasing productivity, but in our more fluid lives and workplaces, the to-do list may have outlived its usefulness. Given the number of interruptions we now face--from email to instant messages to a faster-changing work environment--our lists of duties can easily frustrate as other tasks intrude. At the end of the day, the to-do list becomes a record of things you didn't accomplish: not a great reward for a long day's slog. But by keeping a list of tasks you have accomplished during the day, called an anti-to-do list because you've already done them, you can see all the things you did accomplish during the day and how you dealt with new challenges that emerged unexpectedly. 

The anti-to-do list can also provide a little self-reflection, helping you keep better track of what your priorities actually are rather than what you (wishfully) think they are. This kind of self-reflection is in too short supply given the pace at which we live. When Joel Gascoigne, programmer at the social media company Buffer, began keeping an anti-to-do list, he found himself naturally gravitating toward managerial responsibilities. The reason is that he became more responsive to a wider set of concerns, rather than narrowly ticking off boxes that had only to do with his specific work. 

Achieving greater productivity is about a lot more than having an empty inbox. As Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales explains, leading a productive life is closely tied to imbuing it with meaning. That meaning in turns provides a great deal of satisfaction--in other words, happiness.

Read more at Fast Company

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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