What are your thoughts on batch processing as a way of getting things done?

This is my second day back from an extended vacation, and as I get back into the groove I’m using my recharged batteries to once again retool how I allow work to flow through my office. Over my career I’ve looked at many systems and applied a couple stand-outs: Stephen Covey’s First Thing’s First and Steve Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD). Both have their merits, and I’ve especially benefited from GTD.

Which is why I saved a bookmark to this Problogger.net post on Batch Processing. It is really a variation on Allen’s GTD approach, and reflects the fragmented workdays for which this industry is known. Grouping like tasks makes sense. What post author Darren Rowse brings to the table that is fresh is the idea of setting up these focused batching processing sessions, timed around queues of tasks.

Have you tried this technique? I’d love to know your thoughts. If you’d prefer not to comment here, feel free to direct message me on my Twitter account.

Mindfulness the Google way by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Merlin Mann is one of my favorite productivity bloggers. And similar to how you feel when you learn that two old friends have met and hit it off, I was pleased yesterday to read his post on an influential teacher in my life: Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society.

At about the same time that I was gaining my stride in my professional life, a chronic pain situation nearly ended it. Then I learned about what this fellow was doing, deep in the bowels of the University of Mass. Medical Center. I learned about Kabat-Zinn and his “de-dogma-ized” meditation program in a segment of a PBS special, Bill Moyers’ Healing and the Mind. What followed is a journey I’m still on.

Read Merlin’s post, and check out the YouTube video it describes, which was shot on the Google campus.

April 1 Update: Here’s an account of the health benefits of this type of meditation, from yesterday’s BBC News site.

Boost your office productivity with a bigger screen

Over the years, many of my co-workers have used two monitors to get work done. Others have swapped “standard issue” monitors for larger ones. Their explanation is always the same. Information work is all about work space real estate, and these set-ups make them more productive. Evidence has suggested to me that they’re right. Now from the Wall Street Journal comes further validation.

This piece reports on a study that was financed by NEC, but vetted by a more objective body (the university’s research board):

Researchers at the University of Utah tested how quickly people performed tasks like editing a document and copying numbers between spreadsheets while using different computer configurations: one with an 18-inch monitor, one with a 24-inch monitor and with two 20-inch monitors. Their finding: People using the 24-inch screen completed the tasks 52% faster than people who used the 18-inch monitor; people who used the two 20-inch monitors were 44% faster than those with the 18-inch ones.

The conclusion is a worker could save upwards of 2.5 hours a day by using a bigger monitor. This is far more than I would have expected.

Do you use a monitor that’s around 24-inch? Or two? If so, I assume you have the free time to comment. As for me? I’m writing this on my lunch break, with little time to spare. I need a bigger monitor baaaddd!