Batch processing

Back to the Productivity Dictionary

a. Doing a set of a certain task all at once, rather than doing each task on an individual basis.

b. Think of it like making a batch of something. You wouldn’t make just one cookie; you’d make a batch of cookies. (If you would make just one cookie, we can’t be friends.) It’s not more work to make a batch of cookies than a single cookie: it just takes more ingredients. You still have to measure, pour, mix, scoop, bake, clean up dishes. But when you’re done, you have a WHOLE BATCH of melty, delicious, gooey cookies instead of just one. Because just one cookie is the saddest thing in the world.

c. Apply the batch of cookies concept to any action that you have to do: do a batch of the actions instead of a single action. It’s not much more work than doing a single item, it’s much more efficient, and you end up accomplishing much more for just a slightly higher energy investment.

d. The idea is to avoid the single-task syndrome and the multitasking fail. Single-task syndrome is using a high number of resources to complete a relatively low-value task rather than efficiently processing the task so that the resources required match the value produced. I just made that term up but let’s go with it.

e. The more efficient alternative to real-time processing. Sometimes real-time processing is needed:

Real time data processing and analytics allows an organization the ability to take immediate action for those times when acting within seconds or minutes is significant.

But most of the time — particularly for repeated actions — batch processing is just fine and is much more efficient.

f. I like this definition:

Typically, batch, as the word implies, relates to processing a collection and it has evolved to also mean performing multiple steps in some sequence. Adding scheduling to the mix adds the requirement for some event to occur before processing is initiated where the event may be the occurrence of a specific time, completion of another batch, creation of a file, the execution of a transaction, publishing a message on a queue and other similar events.

g. Also called batching, time batching, batch mode, batch work, batch production (OH MY GOD I CAN’T SAY THE WORD BATCH ANYMORE) or bulk processing.

h. Some ideas to help you figure out how to use this concept in your life:

How Batch Processing Made Me 10 Times More Productive | ProBlogger

My mistake was feeling compelled to deal with things as they came to me.

I have discovered that most of the activities that I do in my work can be ‘batched’ in one way or another. I have discovered that many ‘urgent’ things can wait and in fact to make them ‘take a number’ and ‘get in line’ brings order to mess.

Batching and GTD| Facile Things

Applied to personal productivity, it’s about grouping similar tasks that require the same resources in order to carry them out in a row.

20 Tips for Batching to Save Time and Cut Stress | Scott H. Young

Collect up a group of similar activities and do them all at the same time. This is the main principle behind batching. You could collect up all your e-mail answering, household chores, reading assignments or phone calls and do them at one time.