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Personal Growth

Does ‘Batching’ Increase Productivity?

After a day of strict task ‘batching’, Cal Newport concludes that the resulting inconvenience in workflow was worth it for the reduced distraction and increased quality of his work.

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.


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