If you, like me, find yourself with a full to do list that runs the gamut, you’re probably looking for a better way. Because there has to be a better way, right?
And there is. Instead of working your way through your to do list, from No. 1 to No. 1,000 (OK, my to do list isn’t usually that long), have you tried batch tasking. Let’s talk about what batch tasking is and how to do it, because it can truly change the game for a busy person with a lot on their plate.
What is batch tasking?
Batch tasking is when you work on similar tasks all in one period of time.
Why batch task? Plain and simple, it saves time and brainpower.
Batch tasking also allows you to get multiple tasks done in a productive burst of work, instead of sporadically knocking things off your to do list throughout the day.
For example, if you need to create Pinterest graphics for five different blog posts, you will save a lot more time making all five at the same time. If you’ve already got the software open and a template in front of you, it’s a lot easier to make a second graphic than to start over next time you need it.
How to batch task
1. Group your to do list by category.
First, sit down with your to do list.
I’m assuming you have a to do list already put together, of course. If you don’t… get that together first, and then let’s talk.
With your to do list in hand, group together tasks that are similar in nature.
For example, these are some of the groups of tasks I batch together:
- Emails that need to be answered
- Pitches that need to be sent
- Social media posts that need to be scheduled
- Blog posts that need to be written
- Followup emails that need to be sent / followup calls that need to be made
2. Block off time for specific tasks.
Now that you have an idea of your tasks, look at your calendar and block off spurts for each group of tasks you need to complete that day.
I usually work in 1 hour or 90-minute spurts, but shorter or longer periods might work better for you. I don’t recommend anything less than 30 minutes unless the tasks are really mindless, because you likely won’t be able to get very far on your list.
On my calendar, these chunks of time are called “Get Shit Done,” and each one has a theme.
3. Stay focused and don’t multitask.
Now, you’ve got your schedule and your to do list. Time to sit down and sprint!
It can sometimes be hard to stay focused when you’re batch tasking, especially if you aren’t familiar with how to batch task and if you’re prone to distraction.
The most likely scenario that will come up is that as you’re working on one batch of tasks, you’ll feel inspired to stray. Maybe as you’re replying to emails, another email will pop up. Or, perhaps you’ll feel inspired to start working on a task that comes out of one of the emails you’ve replied to.
Resist the temptation. Add the new tasks to your to do list, but stay in your lane.
4. Give yourself some grace.
Even the most productive people on the planet get distracted sometimes. Not every schedule goes according to plan.
Give yourself some grace when a huge emergency pops up or something that is a higher priority interrupts your schedule. Protecting your time and your calendar is important, but flexibility is valuable, too.
Productivity is all about balance!