Time batching is an amazing productivity hack that you can leverage to get SO much more accomplished. In the words of Tim Ferriss, it’s like laundry. When you do laundry, you normally do it in loads. You don’t just toss a shirt in here, a pair of pants there. It all gets done at once in order to be the most efficient with that time.
We have so many tasks throughout the day that can be batched together. Whether it’s phone calls or errands, time batching will totally change the game when it comes to knocking out your tasks in the most productive way possible.
Get More Done with Time Batching
What is Time Batching?
Think about the tasks you do on a regular basis. Which ones are most alike or exactly the same? Do you write for your blog 3 days out of the week? Do you have conference calls spread over all your workdays? These tasks that repeat themselves and show up over and over again are what you want to focus on when you begin time batching.
Once you’ve nailed down the tasks you want to batch, pick a space of time in your calendar. If you’re batching your blog posts, block in time for writing one, two, maybe three posts at the same time in that day. At the end of that block of time, you’ll have knocked out the work that would’ve been spread over a couple days otherwise.
What are the Benefits?
One of the major benefits of time batching is it allows you to get into deep work. You’re completely focused on that task for the next stretch of time, so you can really get your best work done.
It’s so much harder to focus on something if you’re just working to squeeze it into your day. If you know you only have an hour to write that blog, you’re going to feel rushed. You’re going to focus more on getting it done than getting it done well. With time batching, you have an extended period of time, so you can dig in and produce the highest quality work, all while being super efficient with your time.
Another benefit is the disappearance of wasted prep time. If you’re writing, it can be a slow start. Getting in and out of the swing of it is jarring for your process, and you end up wasting much more time than you would have if you stuck with it for a couple more hours.
Speaking of wasted time… When done effectively, time batching eliminates the outside distractions. If you’ve blocked out time for writing, turn the phone off. Don’t open any extra browser tabs. Shut the door to the office, and write. Keep the time that you’ve batched as an appointment with yourself so you can make the most of it and really get things done.
What Should I Batch?
- Creative time: Maybe you’re creating a video or a blog, or you’re reading a book, or you’re drawing. Batch the tasks that require you to be creative, or the ones that inspire your creativity.
- Administrative tasks: Calendar blocking, checking project managers, filtering through emails — all the admin tasks that take place on your computer can be done efficiently through time batching. This can take place once a day, or every other day. Adjust to fit your schedule!
- Social media: If you’ve got a lot of DMs to respond to, batch some time in your day to check your social media.
- Out-of-office appointments: Meeting people for coffee or heading to an out-of-office meeting can be scheduled for one day out of the week to keep outside appointments from interrupting other work time.
How Do I Start?
- Make a list of your typical tasks. As I mentioned earlier, these can be errands, tasks for work, tasks for your side hustle, anything that you find yourself doing over and over again but still struggling to fit into your schedule.
- Go to your calendar. Block the rest of your schedule for the week (or month, depending on how you manage your schedule). Once all your other set-in-stone tasks are there, look at the time you have left. Search for the bigger stretches of time, maybe two or three hours where you can work uninterrupted by outside distractions.
- Think about when you’ll be most efficient. Not necessarily a morning person? You probably shouldn’t schedule deep, meaningful work first thing in the AM. Work with your habits, and batch your tasks in the spare time in your schedule. If you’re a night owl, leverage the later hours when people have gone to bed. If you’re a 5am lark, start your batches earlier in the day.
- Stick with it! If you’ve chosen that Saturday afternoon to write a couple blogs, do it. Do the work. And track it — whether it’s in your bullet journal or your calendar, keep track of the work you’re doing and watch the benefits start to unfold.
QOTD: What tasks do you batch? Tell us in a comment!