Are you a multitasker? Do you skip around checking emails, posting on your website, and sifting through snail mail all at once? Does this act of juggling tasks at the same time leave you feeling scatter-brained and exhausted? Then this blog on Batch Working is just for YOU!
What Is Batch Working?
Batch working is grouping “like tasks” together. You can divide your similar work into different times and days during the week instead of jumping around to various tasks minute by minute.
For example, let’s say you have a weekly Podcast. If you planned each show by the week, you would find your guests, write your script, and set up photography and staging every week!
In a batch work style, you would knock out four weeks in only one week. You would spend planning time upfront then break down “like tasks” into specific days. You would write four scripts on one day, film four podcasts on another day, etc.
Let’s break it down further to illustrate the value of batch work:
You need to produce one podcast every week for the entire year. That’s 52 podcasts. This is how you would stay a month, or more, ahead.
Monday – Plan all your guests for the month and call to book them.
Tuesday – Write all of your podcast scripts.
Wednesday – Film all four weekly videos on this day.
Thursday: Edit all your videos on this day.
Friday: Schedule your podcasts.
And, just like that, you are FINISHED for the month! You’re a month ahead and you’ve conserved precious time and energy by grouping the same type of tasks. Unlike multitasking, you can give all your focus to one aspect of work. This attention to detail will enhance creativity, and make the best use of your valuable time.
Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work For Many People?
Some multitasking can be quite pleasant, like listening to music while walking your dog or watching television while folding laundry. However, more complex tasks are difficult for your brain to skate back and forth from. Why? Because the brain works best when it focuses on one thing at a time.
According to an article in the National Institute of Health, studies show that when our brain constantly switches gears to bounce back and forth between tasks, we become less efficient and more likely to make mistakes.
Another study from Stanford found that people who are bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory, or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.
With the rise in technology, it isn’t uncommon to see students emailing, text messaging, and jumping from website to website, all while watching television and doing homework! One study has shown that students who multitask like this while doing homework have poorer grades.
Is Batch Working Right For You?
Batch working can prove productive for anyone who handles different tasks throughout their day. It also helps with focus and staying on track because, let’s face it, one “quick look” at an email can rob you of 10 workday minutes.
Ideally, with proper batch work, it’s best to have a day of the week with only one type of task in mind. In our How Managers Can Get The Most Out of Team Building Using Trello blog, you can incorporate batching into your Trello Board layout. For example, you can add cards of more complicated tasks that require intense focus at the beginning of the day and leave tasks that are more mundane for later when you are tired.
This way of doing work puts you ahead of the game, and while it may seem pretty structured, it frees up time to be spontaneous, like reading a book you have been wanting to catch up on or taking a nap.
Also, think of it this way, if you are making a “batch of cookies,” you would make one dozen at a time instead of one cookie each day.
Another example is what Tim Ferriss said in his video How Batching Can Help You Maximize Your Productivity, “You wouldn’t do your laundry every time you have a new pair of dirty socks. You wait for a certain critical mass of dirty laundry to accumulate, and then you do the laundry.”
It makes sense, right? If you think of those analogies, you will realize how wasteful it is not to batch “like tasks” together at once.
Most of us do batch work without even realizing it. We usually take the mail to the post office when we’ve accumulated more than one piece, make cookies in batches and do our laundry in loads (or batches). Batch work is a no-brainer for some tasks. Take a moment and think about how batching your work tasks can save you effort and time.
Which Tasks Are Good To Batch?
Batch working is especially great for producing content regularly, such as blogs, newsletters, social media, and emails. Keep items to batch in no more than five buckets to start with and see how it goes.
The key here is preparing for that planning day. Pick a day of the week where you put pen to paper and layout your ideas and outlines for the month.
Here are some ideas of tasks that are good to batch:
Creating Content: This requires mental focus and deep thinking. Getting into the “writing zone” requires significant effort. Checking text messages or surfing the web can certainly knock you off track.
Social Media Graphics: Get into your design software and get creative. It’s crucial to stay organized while you create pieces of a project and weave them together later. You can upload them to your Trello Board or set aside a folder to keep them safe.
Scheduling: It’s essential to have a dynamic social media platform/s. Make it happen. Take a morning to line up your posts. There are several software programs out there that will help you speed up the process even more. PostoPlan, Hoot Suite, and even Facebook Business Suite can assist you in scheduling across different social media platforms.
Meetings: Get them done and out of the way. Schedule your appointments on a specific day.
Phone Calls: On your planning day, put your list together of phone calls and numbers and have them ready to go.
Emails: Some people batch these even further by sorting from and prioritizing who you respond to first.
Text Messages: Unless it’s a message for an ensuing earthquake, they can wait! Text messages soak up an absorbent amount of time, and it’s best to answer them in a batch every day, maybe right before lunch and dinner, so your mind is free to work on your tasks at hand.
Remember, anything can fall into a “like” bucket, and you can batch anything you have thrown at you on a daily basis. Write out your bucket name (i.e. content, memberships, events, etc.) and drop your tasks in the right bucket. It’s that easy. Check out this Trello board with batching ideas.
Batch Working and Mental Clarity
When is your energy level highest and lowest? For some, their clearest time to work is first thing in the morning with some java. For others, it’s late in the evening. Experiment and take note of your highest energy times of the day and batch your more complex tasks at this time.
It is also essential to take care of yourself and plan for exercise and nutritious meals. Many people will make their meals for the week on a Sunday and then store them in the fridge to eat later. You can batch your meals too! You are less likely to go out and get a fast-food meal that may lack nutritional value.
In today’s climate with the news and everyday stresses, it’s nice to know that you can free up some space in your mind by getting tasks done well in advance and creating time in your week or month to focus on what matters most, YOU and your business!
Guest blogger: Mary Webb