Make like a baker to get things done

Here’s a short and sweet Thursday productivity-booster for you.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the evils of multitasking, and how you can monotask instead.  But what about all those annoying tiny chores that only take a few minutes? No matter how much you focus on doing just one thing at a time, you still end up switching tasks pretty quickly if the task only takes a minute to complete.

That’s where batching comes in.

Batching is when you group similar tasks together into “batches” and do them all back-to-back. It’s a great way to decrease that feeling of flitting between disparate tasks all day.

I mean, you don’t make one cookie at a time, right? To be more efficient, you make them in a batch!

The key to batching is to think of things in terms of the type of task, as opposed to the project. For example, you could:

  • run all of your errands in one outing (pick up art supplies for a personal project; get some groceries for your household; deposit cash at the bank)
  • process all of the unread emails in your inbox by spending five minutes or less on each one (either by responding to it, actioning it, or putting larger tasks on your to-do list for later)
  • editing a few weeks’ worth of blog posts in one sitting
  • making your phone calls for the day (or week!) in one session
  • scheduling your week’s appointments into one day
  • get on top of household admin overwhelm by setting aside a few hours to pay bills, make appointment bookings, and balance accounts
  • do your household chores for the day back-to-back

If you batch your tasks, you’ll find yourself better able to focus on the activity at hand without that mind-clutter than happens when you try to deal with many different tasks within the space of an hour.

What tasks could you batch together today? I’d love to hear your batching ideas in the comments!

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