I’ve been writing about productivity for years now, but if I’m being honest, it wasn’t always something I was that great at. I spent a heck of a lot of time jumping from task to task and constantly trying to multitask.
And surprise, surprise – I wasn’t all that productive.
Over the years I started experimenting with different productivity hacks to see what worked. By far one of the most useful strategies I implemented was batching tasks.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing what batch work is and how to use it to skyrocket your productivity.
How to Batch Work to Skyrocket Your Productivity
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What is Batching?
Batching is a time management system that allows you to maximize your productivity and reduce distractions by focusing on one task or type of task rather than jumping around from task to task all day.
Batching tasks helps you to increase concentration, creativity, and productivity, all while minimizing stress, fatigue, and distractions. Sounds like a win-win right?
As someone who is balancing a full-time job, side hustle, and personal life, batching is absolutely essential. The time I have to work on my blog is limited, so I maximize that time by batching my blogging tasks throughout the week. That might mean writing all of my Instagram captions for the week at once, creating graphics for all of my pending blog posts, updating a number of old blog posts for SEO, etc.
Then I’m also able to batch personal tasks. For example, Sunday afternoons are set aside for meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prepping.
The key to batching is to ensure that your brain is able to fully focus on one type of task at a time.
Related Article: 25 Time Management Tips to Help You Get More Done
The Multitasking Myth
Most of us go through our days trying to accomplish multiple things at once, thinking that we’re multi-tasking. But really, there’s no such thing as successfully multitasking.
You can’t give your full attention to more than one task at once, so you’re really just quickly shifting your attention back and forth between tasks. And just about every study done has shown this is actually terrible for productivity!
So much time is wasted every single day by switching gears and trying to get into a new task. Cutting down the number of times you have to switch gears is essential.
That’s why batch work is so valuable. With batching, you are intentionally setting up your schedule to be focusing on just one thing at a time, which makes you way more productive!
How to Batch Tasks
Now that we’ve talked about what batching is and why it is useful, how the heck do you actually incorporate it into your life?
1. Make a list
First things first, make a list of everything you need to get done in your life. And when I say everything, I mean everything. My list includes all of the tasks for my business and for my personal life. Here are some items on my list that might be on yours as well!
- Write blog posts
- Write emails to subscribers
- Schedule social media posts
- Update old blog posts
- Send freelance pitches
- Write freelance articles
- Design printables
- Business finances
- Run errands
- Clean the apartment
- Meal plan and meal prep
Include even the smallest tasks that you do every week! This makes it a lot easier to make time for those tasks on the calendar.
And make sure to break each task into every single step it’s going to take to get it done. For example, writing a blog post really consists 5-10 individual tasks such as: research keywords, write post outline, write post, edit post, link to other posts, create post graphics, promote post on social media.
Related Article: How to Accomplish Your Most Important Task Every Day Using the Eisenhower Matrix
2. Group similar items together
Once you’ve made a list of all the tasks you need to get done in a week (and have gotten super specific), it’s time to group similar items together.
For example, I try to group most of my personal tasks together on Sundays. This includes cleaning, errands, meal planning and meal prep, etc.
When it comes to my business, I like to have certain days set aside for content creation and other days set aside for more admin type tasks such as finance, returning emails, etc.
3. Make a schedule
Once you’ve made a list of all your tasks and have grouped similar items together, it’s time to get them scheduled on your calendar! This part is important because having something on my calendar is essential to make sure it actually gets done!
You know your schedule best, so I can’t tell you exactly how to do this part. But what I usually start with is blocking off previous commitments. For example, the hours of 9-5 are blocked off for me, because that’s when I’m working at my full-time job. I do the same for any appointments for plans with friends I have.
Now that I know what time is not available, I can start filling in the time that is available. For me, this means evenings and weekends. So I might block off Monday evening for writing my new blog post, Tuesday evening for working on freelance client work, and Wednesday evening might be blocked off for date night.
My blocks aren’t the same every single week, but I like to keep them pretty similar so I can establish a routine!
Related Article: 17 Things to Do on Sunday for a More Productive Week
4. Commit to your calendar
You can do all the planning and scheduling you want, but if you aren’t willing to commit to what’s on your calendar, you aren’t going to get your work done.
Honestly, I used to have such a hard time keeping commitments to myself. I would never bail on a friend or family member if we had something on the calendar, but I was bailing on my own priorities left and right!
Once I realized that the only way I would reach my goals is if I keep my commitments to myself, it made it a lot easier to commit to my calendar every day (or at least almost every day).
Batching Tasks + Time Blocking
My favorite way to incorporate batch work into my schedule is to pair it with another productivity hack I’ve shared – time blocking! Time blocking is a method of time management where you schedule your day into blocks, and each block is filled with a certain collection of tasks.
I break my days up into a few large blocks, each of which is filled with a “batch” of tasks I’m working on.
For example, I might have a few hours in the morning set aside for writing blog posts, followed by a time block in the afternoon devoted to social media.
I also see many people organize their entire week in batch days: one day for content creation, one day for meetings, one day for administrative tasks, etc. Do whatever works best for you!
Batching Tasks + The Pomodoro Technique
Another way to tackle batch work is by using The Pomodoro Technique. This productivity hack requires short bursts of super focused work, followed by a very short break. It looks a little something like this:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes. Block out all distractions and spend this time 100% focused on the task at hand.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Repeat step 1 by setting the timer for 25 minutes again, followed by a 5-minute break.
- Continue these steps for as long as it takes to complete the task.
The Pomodoro Technique has become more popular, so much so that the famous Productivity Planner uses the technique as the framework for its daily to-do list.
Batch work is one of my favorite systems to ensure I finish everything on my to-do list – at least most of the time!
If you’ve been struggling with productivity and are looking for a solution that will finally work, give batching a shot and see how it works for you!