How familiar are you with the concept of task batching?
Task batching is a method of organization that allows you to boost your productivity by grouping similar tasks together.
You may have not heard of task batching, but maybe you are familiar with batch cooking. The principle of batch cooking is pretty simple: prepare all the meals of the week in one big cooking session to save time.
Task batching is based on the same principle, but can be used outside the kitchen to boost your productivity at work and elsewhere!
What is task batching?
Task batching is a productivity method that consists in organizing your day or week by grouping similar tasks together, to which you will dedicate a block of time.
This method is a practical application of Carlson’s law, which says that “a work done in one session takes less time and energy than when it is done in several sessions”.
Simply put, doing a lot of tasks in parallel and splitting them up is the best way to kill your productivity.
Conversely, task batching allows you to group similar tasks together and thus :
- increase your concentration: your brain is 100% focused on what you are doing
- increase your productivity: you do more in less time, and that’s super rewarding
- reduce distractions: when you group tasks, you enter a tunnel of concentration that prevents you from being distracted at the first opportunity.
How does task batching work?
Like most people, you probably make a to-do list at the beginning of the day, which you then take in order (or not). To that to-do, you need to add the calls you have to answer, reading your e-mails etc.
This is an “organic” process that forces you to move from one task to another many, many times during the day. This means that between each task, you have to :
👉🏻 Do not lose or regain your concentration to start a new task.
👉🏻 Change your mindset and put your brain in the right “mode”: you don’t use the same skills and way of thinking if you’re writing a paper or making a phone call.
Thing is, studies show that these transitions between different tasks are a huge source of distraction and procrastination. It’s between tasks that you start thinking, “What’s going on with Instagram?”, “I could use a third coffee break this morning…” or “Oh well, I can do this thing tomorrow”.
In short, constantly switching from one task to another is the best way to kill your productivity.
By grouping similar tasks together, you build a “framework” for organizing your time that prevents you from multiplying the transitions between different tasks.
By using task batching, you get on track and move forward. Fast.
How to boost your productivity with task batching?
Ok, now that I’ve explained a little bit what task batching is all about, it’s time for me to tell you how you can use task batching in your daily organization.
1. Make a list of your recurring tasks
What are recurring tasks?
Recurring tasks are tasks that come back at a regular interval, and always remain the same.
You will find them in both your professional and your personal life.
Some examples of recurring tasks on the professional side: answering emails, making calls, writing a monthly report, doing accounting, sending a newsletter, organizing a meeting, cleaning your workspace… I’m sure that some of the tasks you do at work are recurring tasks.
A few examples of recurring tasks on the personal side: grocery shopping, cooking, taking your shirts to the dry cleaner, mopping the floor, etc.
Actually, if you look a little closer, our daily lives are full of recurring tasks that allow us to meet our basic needs (eating, sleeping, staying clean, etc.).
To implement the task batching method, the first step is to make a list of your recurring tasks.
- What tasks do you do several times a day?
- Which tasks are recurring at least once a week?
- Which tasks come up at least once a month?
2. Make task groups
Take the different items from your list and make groups of tasks.
To make relevant groups, the task batching method proposes to take into account 2 criteria:
👉🏻 The type of task: here, we take into account the level of concentration or the state of mind you need to be in to complete the task. For example, you can group all the writing tasks together.
👉🏻 The “physical” conditions of task: do you have to run errands AND go to the bank once a week? Group the tasks together and optimize your route to save time.
It’s up to you to see which tasks you think are “logical” to put in the same group.
3. Assign a time block to each group of tasks.
Now that you have your task groups, organize them in your schedule: for each task group, block a slot in your calendar to complete them.
You can organize yourself by day, week or month.
I’ll give you an example so that you can understand how it works, and how task batching can be concretely translated into my daily organization:
- On a monthly basis, I block time blocks for all the tasks of writing and producing content: writing blog posts, newsletters, Instagram posts, etc.
- On a weekly basis, I block time blocks mainly for my personal life tasks, such as grocery shopping or doing a little housework.
- On a daily basis, I block 1 hour at the end of the morning, and 1 hour at the end of the day to process my emails, make calls if necessary, answer messages on Instagram etc.
By the way, I can only recommend task batching for emails and calls. Since I have set 2 time blocks in the day to process my emails and the rest of the messages I receive, I have SKYROCKET my productivity. I don’t open my mailbox if it’s not the right time to do so.
I no longer lose my focus with every email that comes in, and I am really more productive.
So, is task batching for you?
Task batching is not for everyone. Like any productivity method, there are those for whom it works, and others for whom it may not work.
You should use task batching if :
✔️ You have trouble focusing on a specific type of task. Or you have trouble focusing in general.
✔️ You need to cut yourself off from distractions in order to move your projects forward.
✔️ Your work environment is a mine field of potential distractions.
✔️ You repeat certain types of tasks on a regular basis.
Maybe task batching isn’t for you if :
❌ Your work is super variable, and you need to be able to adapt super quickly to very different situations.
❌ Your job doesn’t require you to perform tasks that take a lot of concentration over several hours. For example, if you have a job that is very centered on human contact, and your job consists of making a series of appointments.
❌ You have no problem making effective transitions between tasks.
❌ You like to have a wide variety of tasks in a single day.
Task batching is a very useful technique when you have tasks that come up regularly. It allows you to be more productive, more focused and deliver better quality work.
In short, it’s a method of organization that allows you to boost your productivity on a daily basis!