How would you like to save 25 hours per week? Think of how this would free your time to work on bigger and better things. Well, thanks to a strategy called batching, I can say that I do save at least 25 hours each week. This enables me to get more important things done, and gives me more ability to choose how I want to spend my time.
If you are unaware of what batching is, it is setting a routine daily, weekly, monthly or annual time to do routine, repetitive tasks. This means instead of doing one task and then going on to another, you let tasks that are alike stack up until you get to them all at once during blocks of uninterrupted times where you can focus all your time and focus on getting these tasks done.
Productivity Benefits of Batching
- It decreases your down time, startup time, slow time, and time lost from task switching – According to a study by University of California, people switch tasks approximately every 3 minutes, and then it takes them an average of 23 minutes to get back to the tasks they were originally working on. This is incredibly unproductive and a lot of time is lost throughout the day to this multi-tasking. The lesson here: do not multitask. If you have employees, think of ways you can prevent or completely avoid your employees from multitasking. This will increase productivity, and decrease the amount of time you are paying your employees for down time or inefficient time.
- It increases your focus – When successfully batching, you establish blocked off times for specific tasks. This helps you enter a state of flow with your work, which is basically the zone, when your focus and productivity are at very high levels.
- It decreases stress – Think of how stressful those times are, when you have 5 unfinished projects going all at the same time. You are pulled in a thousand different directions and accomplishing nothing. Now, think of how good it feels to go from one project from start to completion. This is how batching can help decrease stress when it comes to your work related projects.
- It reduces clutter – When you are working on multiple projects your workspace or computer desktop can get pretty cluttered very quickly. When you have 15 desktop windows open, or 5 different projects started in your workspace, you cannot think clearly because of all the clutter. Instead, I focus on one project at a time which dramatically cuts down on clutter and enables my thinking to be clear, and my productivity to remain very high.
Here are common ways that I batch every week.
- Batch scheduling – I schedule the ideal week on Sunday, which helps me look ahead and make sure myself and my team are prepared with we need to accomplish the most possible for the week. Then every evening, I quickly plan out my top priorities for the next day. This 30 minutes of batch scheduling on Sunday, and 5 minutes nightly saves a lot of time and makes sure I am very clear on what needs to be worked on, on a daily basis, so my team and I are running our days instead of letting the day run us.
- Blog Posts – When I write, I normally sit down and write 2-4 blog posts all at once. I have found it can sometimes take me 30 minutes to successfully begin writing out some good blog posts. By entering into the state of focus that I need one time, instead of multiple times throughout the week, I am able to accomplish more in less time.
- Email – I have outsourced most of my email, but I do set and attempt to stick to only 2 set times each day for checking email. This allows client emails to stack up in the inbox until I sit down and answer them all at once, normally late morning and late afternoon. I have all email notifications turned off which keeps me from being tempted to answer an email as soon as it comes in. This is the way email was originally designed. It was not meant to turn into an instant messaging system.
- Supplements – I not only batch work related tasks, I also batch personal tasks. I take a handful of supplements daily. I found that it would take me at least 15 minutes daily to get these supplements together daily. I now, pre-package all supplements twice per month. This easily saves me several hours each month and makes it more likely to remember taking the supplements.
- Laundry – Laundry is another great example of a routine tasks that you can batch and handle all at once instead of doing it more often then you should.
- Meetings – Meetings are usually very unproductive and in-general a waste of time. I try to divert most meetings to email or phone calls, as a backup offer, but if you do need to have in-person meetings, it is far more productive to schedule these meetings only on certain days than throughout the week. How could you setup a day or a time each week where you could line up several meetings, if necessary?
- Online Ordering – My wife and I do quite a bit of online ordering, including Amazon Subscribe and Save, which automatically ships us our normal household items and saves both money and time.
- Errands – When it is necessary to run errands, how can you plan ahead of time to purchase larger quantities all at once or run errands on the same sides of town all at once?
- Invoicing/Bookkeeping – If you are a solopreneur, and do your invoicing and bookkeeping. Consider how you can set aside a time every 2-4 weeks to handle these routine tasks all at once.
- Phone Calls – Keep a list of people that you need to call throughout the week, and call them back at a set time each week. For me, some phone calls required same-day attention. To effectively batch these, I prepared those calling me with my voicemail that I return all phone calls twice per day, late morning and late afternoon. This enables phone calls to go to voicemail and then I return all calls at the same time.
- Meal Preparation – This is where you can save a lot of time. Think of how you can set aside 2-3 hours on Sunday and cook all your meals ahead of time. My wife and do this and then freeze them. This enables us to easily and quickly warm up these healthy meals throughout the week, without having to clean up a mess for each meal.
- Clients’ Work – If you are a service based business, how can you batch your regular clients’ projects into a set time each week where you can everything all at once?
These are just some of the ways that I use batching every week. It is one of my top strategies for saving time, decreasing stress, insuring the work week runs smoothly and freeing up my focus to be spent on more important things.