You’re constantly running from one thing to the next and not finishing anything like a hamster on a wheel. So of course you are stressed and overwhelmed.
One of the key ways I manage that kind of stress and overwhelm is batching.
Batching you ask?
Are you ready to discover some key areas in your life where batching will make all the difference?
There are so many great opportunities for batching, from administrative type tasks, to writing, to household chores.
You are about to become a batching machine!
I’ve been batching for years and have fine-tuned my process. Why reinvent the wheel? Take what works for me and see if you can use this time-tested strategy for your own life.
Are you ready to become a batching machine?
Here are some real life examples of batching. See what ideas these spark for you.
If you use social media in your profession, you might batch the writing of your social media posts for the week for three consecutive hours every Monday with no interruptions. Just three fully-focused hours creating social media posts. That’s a batch.
Batch going through your emails; unsubscribing, responding to the them or organizing them.
You might decide to batch other administrative tasks like making appointments on-line or via phone. I do this all the time. By themselves these are the annoying little things that I put off for later. Before I know it, I’ve got six appointments I’ve been putting off. So, I batch it. I make a list of the things I need to schedule, grab my planner, get on-line or make the phone call and schedule all of them. Boom, just like that I got six things off my to-do list and most importantly out of my head.
I batch my coaching sessions. I only coach on Mondays and Tuesdays. This allows me to get and stay in the coaching zone. I’m 100% focused on my clients and I’m not distracted by the hundreds of other things that come up. This is protected time.
I batch my errands. If I’m going to run out, I make a list of the places I need to hit. It could be the bank, grocery store, post office – you get the point. Call me crazy, but I map out my route so I’m not running back and forth from end of town to the other.
I batch write my blog posts, including this one. I set aside four hour blocks and create six blog posts. The first batch I do is six weeks of blog posts and then the next batch is six emails for those blog posts.
Don’t worry. I take breaks between each one or I can start to feel like a hot mess. Recharging during my batching is so important.
When I’m working on bigger projects, like creating the Undaunted Course, I batch for several days in a row. If I didn’t batch certain chunks of the course creation process it would have taken me five to ten times longer to get it done.
Batching can save you time, stress and effort.
Increased Focus and Productivity
First batching allows for increased focus when you work on the tasks you designated for that period of time. More focus equals better quality work, for sure.
Because of your focused effort while batching, distractions are majorly reduced or eliminated. This requires some willpower on your part. You’ve got to create a distraction-free zone and place boundaries around your batching time to protect your focus time.
All of this increases your productivity. You save a lot of time, hours and hours and hours of time, to be exact. Imagine what you could do with all that time.
Taking care of similar tasks in the same chunk of time will help you feel much less frazzled and stressed. You’ll know what you’re working on and for how long. Having boundaries around this time will eliminate the stress of making decisions if other things pop up. You know this batching time is the choice you made. Period. This is where you are and what you’re doing.
No Context Switching
There should be no context switching going in your batching. Context switching is when you switch back and forth between tasks. Studies show that it takes 23 minutes to get back on task when you jump around. Imagine if you context switch three times in one day. That’s over an hour wasted.
Constantly skipping around throughout the day can be distracting and disorienting. Of course, nobody’s perfect. But, this disjointed approach to your work can result in far too many mistakes and oversights, including typos and emails sent to the wrong people.
By batching, you will find yourself making fewer of these slip-ups. I’m no scientist, but I’ll go ahead and credit the fact that because you are able to dedicate all of your focus to the task currently in front of you, your thoughts aren’t as scattered, which means you are able to proactively catch any of those little blunders and errors.
Time Away From Certain Tasks
Finally, batching allows you to have time away from doing certain tasks. Even if you love what you do, having to always be touching something everyday in your life can really stifle your creativity. I know firsthand what that feels like.
Before I began batching my blog posts, I was working on my blog every single week. A little here, a little there. I never got ahead and it become a little like Groundhog Day where every day felt the same, always working on my blog. It started to suck away my creativity.
It’s important to have white space in order to be creative, to allow your brain to focus on new and different ideas, to find inspiration and refuel. If you’re constantly touching the same project every single day, you’re not allowing that creativity to flow.
What Areas Can You Batch in Your Life?
To batch or not to batch is not the question you should be asking yourself. The question you should be asking is “What are all the areas I can batch in my life?”
If you can’t come up with any, try this exercise.
- Look at your to-do list for the next week.
- Grab some highlighters to color code and group similar items together.
- Then, write an entirely new list – paying attention to the grouping (these are your batches) of items based on your color coding.
- Look at each batch category and determine how much time you want to set for each batching session.
- Schedule this time on your calendar.
The couple of extra minutes you spend organizing your to-do’s into batches will end up being well worth it!
Wrapping It Up
Your next step is to decide what you’re going to batch, add your batching days to your calendar, and enjoy the newfound free time batching allows you.