If your schedule is anything like mine, it’s packed with emails, projects, daily tasks and those pesky unexpected things that always pop up last minute that have to get done. It’s easy to get frustrated, but instead of throwing my arms in the air and giving up on all of it, I’m challenging myself to get a little more organized.
This is where batching tasks comes in. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, simply put, it’s grouping tasks together and working on things singularly versus multi-tasking. Being able to multitask has historically been glorified and has kind of been a buzzword on resumes. Recently though, studies have questioned whether or not doing a million things at once is actually more productive. The solution has been to batch tasks with the goal of working more effectively.
To help you get started, here are five ways you can take advantage of this trend and hopefully get more done than you ever thought possible!
Networking and Out-of-Office Errands
There’s usually several things that pop up in my calendar that include lunches, coffee meetings or running errands outside of the office. To avoid having to break up multiple days of the week (and let’s honest, put makeup on), try to concentrate all of these activities into one day. If your job calls for lots of out-of-office time during the day, doing it in one day will help to keep the rest of the week focused.
Education and News
It’s crazy the amount of time that slips by while cruising through industry news or watching webinars. But these are important, and you shouldn’t put off continuing your education and being informed about trends in your field. When you find an article you want to read about, or a cool video series, simply save it in a folder. Then, designate time once a week – I like to do this on Fridays – to read and watch everything. It’s such a nice way to end the week, yet it’s not distracting me throughout the day. Plus, it’s a great boost of motivation once Monday morning shows up.
Email is what takes over my day most frequently. You too?! I might feel like I’m getting a lot of things done, but then I’ll realize the only thing I’ve actually done is answer emails for two hours. The best way to combat this is to set up blocks of time throughout the day to check email. You know, instead of constantly going back to it every 20 minutes. What I find to work best is: after my first big project of the day, around lunch, an hour before I clock off for the day. That’s it!
Small Task/Low Priority
Those small daily tasks have to get done, so give them their own batch of time. Like, booking work travel, paying bills, posting to social media. Whether you write out your schedule or have a calendar on your phone or computer, block off small amounts of time throughout the day. Think two or three 30-minute windows where these are all you focus on. Subsequently, you should have more time in your day to think about big projects and high-priority items.
This point is especially important for those who work from home (like me!). It’s the best and worst thing, isn’t it? So much flexibility, but no separation between work and home. I highly recommend knocking chores out on the weekends, but if you absolutely must get some done during the week – batch it. Give yourself an hour to knock everything out, maybe in between a couple big tasks, then leave the rest ’til the weekend.
Have you experimented with batching tasks? What other ways can I implement it into my life? Please share!