How To Improve Your Productivity With Task Batching
I touched upon task batching briefly in 7 Tips to Help YOU Start Calendar Time Blocking Like a Pro and thought I’d use this opportunity to dig a little deeper into what it is and how it can help you improve your overall productivity.
So, What is Task Batching?
Task Batching is simply the process of performing tasks which are the same, similar, or require the same set up/tools, within a set block of time.
What task batching looks like to you will depend on your individual task types, situation, style and preferences.
Tasks You Can Batch
Email management is probably one of the most relatable tasks suitable for task batching.
Example: Responding to all of your emails at a set time instead of in a piecemeal fashion
Most of us check our emails throughout the day and deal with them as and when. Managing our emails this way can easily result in unnecessary distractions, oversight, poor communication and – ultimately – stress and anxiety.
Now imagine you have a dedicated time slot (or slots) in your day for really focussing on your emails.
10am is your email time.
No calls, no notifications, no ad-hoc chat with Bob from Marketing.
It’s just you and Outlook/Gmail.
You spend the time you’ve allotted reviewing the emails you’ve received so you can manage and respond to them, as well as the emails you need to send.
Something need actioning with Mary in Accounts? You can be on it. Check.
Need to unsubscribe from Jo Black the Best Barber in Bristol’s blog? Now is the time to hit that button and create order where once there was inbox and folder chaos. Check.
Other examples of batchable tasks could include:
- Writing 3 blog posts in one sitting instead of just one
- Recording multiple videos for different projects while you have your camera equipment set up
- Responding to all your LinkedIn messages and connection requests in one go
- Managing your calendar
- Those ‘bitty’ tasks you keep meaning to get around to
- General admin
The Benefits of Task Batching
Your prep doesn’t go to waste and you spend less time ramping up
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to get into ‘the zone’ in order to write. Getting focussed can take time and a little patience. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood right at that moment and it could easily be 30 minutes before the right mood takes me.
By setting aside time to write 2 or 3 blog articles in one sitting I can eliminate the extra time I’d need to spend getting into the right frame of mind to write.
Now, if I was a vlogger I’d definitely want my makeup to be looking on point before it’s lights, camera, action! If it takes me 30 minutes to do my makeup for a video, I may as well make the most of that prep time by vlogging my little heart out on Monday and then being able to go more natural for the rest of the week.
It allows you to really focus on what you need to get done, especially when it’s used in conjunction with time blocking.
Sectioning time off in your day can really help you to give all your attention to one thing, or set of things, at a time. Committing to not allowing yourself to be distracted can see you enter deep work mode in no time.
The rest of your time is easier to plan and manage
By batching your tasks you’ll free up bigger segments of time throughout the rest of the week. For example, if all of my blog posts for the week are finished on a Monday I can now dedicate Wednesday to prepping my social media management without having to worry about deadlines.
But Be Realistic
“But sometimes I can’t escape all distractions!” I hear you cry.
And you’d be right.
And that’s why you need to be realistic with task batching. Just because you’ve committed to not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily distracted by Bob in Marketing doesn’t mean you can shut yourself off to unavoidable distractions.
Put limits on those unavoidable distractions (such as your partner asking you to remind him how to use the washing machine when you’re trying to write) by saying you can only afford to give 5/15/30 minutes of your time and sticking to it. A timer can show you mean business and keep you on track.
Over To You
If you haven’t checked out my article on calendar time blocking, I really recommend you give it a read because time blocking and task batching go together like your favourite sandwich ingredients.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments below.
Do you have any task batching tips or tricks you’d like to share?
Perhaps you’re task batching and time blocking already but you still don’t have enough hours in the day. If that’s the case I’d love to be able to help so please get in touch.
This has been ‘How To Improve Your Productivity With Task Batching’