How awesome is it to check items off your to-do list? For most, it’s bliss. Now imagine if you could achieve the same thrill you get when checking off 2 items on your to-do list by only doing 1 of the tasks. Impossible? Think again. Below is the answer…the 1 stone for your 2 birds.
If you’re like me, your focus can snap in an instant with the ding of a new email or the vibrate of a new text or the temptation of a Jimmy Fallon YouTube video binge. But I’m like you and I value my time way too much to see it slip away so unintentionally.
I’m also a recovering maximizer. I can’t go up the stairs in my home without first overflowing my arms with every single item that needs to go upstairs to eliminate a second trip. And I can’t go on just one errand, nooooo…I have to brainstorm other needs to justify the outing.
When it comes to work I ask myself the same question: How can I maximize my time and limit distractions? The solution is batching.
What Is Batching
Batching is a workflow technique where you dedicate blocks of time to execute similar tasks in order to increase focus and productivity. A simple example of batching is only checking your email for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon.
I believe the term “batch processing” was originally used to describe computer systems where data would be collected before it was processed. The data would be queued until the computer was ready to process it all together. It’s the simple idea of collecting like tasks to process all at once instead of doing every trivial task as soon as it hits your inbox or to-do list.
How I Batch
I take batching a little further than time blocks by finding ways to also batch my outcomes. The key for me is identifying the unseen similarities in the tasks. By completing one task how can it get me closer to completing another task?
For example, if I’m working on a new presentation for a client, I’ll group the major ideas and blog about them first so that I can compound my focus and create a blog post and presentation slides at the same time. Essentially killing 2 birds with 1 stone.
Ideas For Batching
- Block off specific times to return texts or phone calls.
- Schedule calls back-to-back to minimize the focus fall-out between calls.
- Process email at designated times. By the way…you will get less email if you stop sending so many emails.
- Schedule meetings on the same day. Pick a location and have folks come to you. (I have yet to fully commit to this strategy…but soon enough.)
- Turn your research project into a Toastmaster speech or company presentation.
- Create or buy images that can be used for blog posts and in presentations or for marketing.
- Listen to audio books or podcasts while working out.
- Batch time with family and friends. Sounds awkward but there’s no better way to ensure your 100% present with them.
Your best work is defined by how smart you work. Your clients, work, and passions deserve your extreme focus.
Question: What tasks can you batch today?