Being productive isn’t something you just “are”. Productivity stems from having numerous tools in your toolbox to tackle the hundreds of tasks that get thrown at us every week.
In addition to setting daily priorities and scheduling my to-dos, I have one more big trick up my sleeve to keep the overwhelm at a minimum. I batch my work.
What exactly is batching your work?
Batching your work is bucketing common tasks together and handling them at the same time.
We naturally do this in our daily lives already. Think about your household chores. Do you tackle all your outdoor yard maintenance on a Sunday morning? Do you wash your clothes or dishes in big piles instead of one item at a time? Do you do bursts of housework while you have all the cleaning products out? Yes? Then you’re already a pro at batching your work.
We do this because it’s easier and more efficient. We get out the tools we need to complete a job. We slide into a certain frame of mind. Just get it all done.
Batching tasks works because…
- Keeps you focused by keeping you in a mental flow.
- Efficiency is heightened because you aren’t constantly starting up and closing down / opening and putting away resources.
Here are the areas of your personal and professional life where you can start batching tasks and getting crazy productive.
Emails – We hear this a lot but somehow seem to struggle to release ourselves from the constant beckoning of the email notification. Set time frames to check your email and turn off notifications so your mental flow isn’t constantly interrupted.
Housework – We discussed this already, but if you haven’t started doing this, do it!
Social Media – Save social media time for when you’re feeling social. Trust me, you’ll be more receptive to what you see and more engaging; therefore, avoiding the mindless scroll.
Reading – Are you a news junkie? Do you read professional development articles? Do you read for your job? Batch reading time together so you can find a quiet space and settle in for reading consumption. Pro Tip: Keep a notepad and pen nearby to jot down all those stray thoughts that pop into your mind.
Shopping / Errands – Heading out to handle shopping can be a pain. Group errands together and mentally map out what you need to do in common areas to reduce your time bouncing around between locations.
Paperwork – If you need to fill out forms and fax them somewhere or process documents and scan them into a digital management system, make a pile and handle them all at once on a regular cadence.
Phone Calls / Meetings – Schedule meetings and calls during specific time frames during the day and bonus points if you can corral them on limited days of the week. For instance, I try to get all my calls done on Tuesday and Thursdays so I preserve big blocks of productivity time on the other days.
Business Management – Running your own business can be overwhelming. Picking one day of the month or week (depending on your business) to work on the business rather than in the business will boost your focus on these vital tasks.
Design / Editing / Writing / Specialty Tasks – Whatever your specialty task may be, chances are you need special software and focus to get it done. Do all those tasks while you’re in the right mindset and have everything all loaded up to handle.
Planning – Mapping out to-dos, party planning, making a packing list. Capitalize on your micro-thinking and knock it all out in one master planning session.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Start brainstorming other parts of your work or life that may be more efficient if you started doing all related tasks at once and let me know how it goes!
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