Wanna know the secret sauce to skyrocket your productivity? It’s called task batching! Or maybe it’s called batch processing, batching, or grouping. Either way, you’ll be glad you tried it!
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Have you ever felt like running away from everything because there’s so much to do and it seems impossible to get it all done in this lifetime? I feel you, girl.
When I started time blocking I was having one of those moments. The kitchen was a mess, our pantry had tumbleweeds blowing through it, and my daughter would scream bloody murder every time I put her down.
Although time blocking was uber effective at helping me be more intentional about how I was spending my time, I still had this nagging feeling that I could be getting even more accomplished.
I started doing some digging and stumbled upon task batching and The Pomodoro Technique. Girlfriend, if you’re not doing this you’re seriously making yourself busier than you need to be.
What is task batching?
Task batching (also called grouping, batching, or batch processing) is a time management system that eliminates multitasking by grouping similar tasks that require similar tools.
Every time you switch to a new task your brain needs about 15 minutes to process what the heck just happened. Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with your friend telling you about how her daughter threw a tantrum in the middle of Trader Joe’s and suddenly she’s talking about how sharp her dog’s nails are and that she’s been meaning to cancel her gym membership?
Your brain is like “Woah there Susie what does any of this have to do with Trader Joe’s?”
When things flow smoothly, your brain doesn’t have to stop and process, which allows you to get more done in a shorter amount of time. Here’s a few examples of things I batch at home:
- Cutting all of the vegetables for the week when we get home from the store
- Cleaning all of the bathrooms back to back
- Scheduling doctors appointments for the same day
- Doing all of the laundry in one day
Since my brain is already primed and ready to clean the bathroom, it’s best to keep repeating that same cleaning process until all of the bathrooms are clean. Eventually, you’ll be on autopilot and you won’t even have to think about what to do next.
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The amazing benefits of task batching
You know those times when your significant other asks, “how was your day,” and you start to tell them and quickly realize you didn’t get as much done as you thought? That’s because in our society being busy is associated with productivity.
Imagine being in the coffee shop with your sweat pants on, messy bun extra messy, and your 3 month old strapped to your chest when you see a businesswoman walk in dressed in a nice dress and blazer. She’s standing in line tapping her foot and checking her phone every 0.38 seconds.
It’s obvious to assume she’s a busy person, but who knows how productive she is?
Batching similar tasks is amazing because it allows you to:
- Limit distractions
- Create a less stressful environment
- Get your brain on autopilot
- Work faster
- Save time
- Increase productivity
When you batch similar tasks that require similar tools you’ll easily flow through the process. You limit distractions and create a less stressful environment.
I know how irritating it may be when you finally get in a good grove of putting the laundry away then your baby starts crying. Your brain had just switched over to autopilot and you could’ve had all the clothes put away and got started on dinner.
Most of us know about when nap time will happen and for how long. But here’s the thing, you should already know exactly what you’re going to get done during that time so your brain can process quicker.
That’s why it’s important as a mom to have a routine and schedule appointments with yourself to get things done throughout the day.
The 4 steps to efficient task batching
Lucky for all of us, task batching is very simple. To be honest, you’re probably already doing it and have no idea.
1. Brain dump
To get a good picture of what needs to be done, it’s best to get it out of your brain and down on paper.
Write down everything that pops in your head. But don’t worry, you’re not going to do everything on this massive to-do list.
All you’re doing is getting a visual of what should get done, what you want to get done, and what can be handed off to your spouse or kids.
2. Group similar tasks
Once you have your massive to-do list, look for items that require similar tools or would flow naturally together.
For instance, if you need to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, it may be easier to sweep all of the floors at one time rather than sweeping the kitchen then starting the process all over again for each bathroom.
If you need to dust, would it make more sense to go ahead and dust everything instead of just the living room?
By grouping similar tasks that require similar tools, you’ll save loads of time with less effort.
3. Time block
Once you have your game plan ready to go, it’s time to decide when to get it done!
If you know your daughter takes a nap at 11 am, schedule an appointment with yourself to accomplish one thing on your list.
When you make an appointment with yourself it’s much easier to cancel, but hold yourself accountable.
Plan your time blocks for when you’re naturally more productive. Most of my time blocks are in the morning because that’s when I have the most energy.
Having the energy and willpower to get things done will set you up for success.
4. Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a game changer if you’re like me and don’t want to be cleaning the kitchen for an hour.
To use this genius technique:
- Choose your task from your brain dump
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work on only that task until the timer is done
- Take a 5 minute break
It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Here’s a quick video with more great tips and tricks.
It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done you choose to watch Netflix instead. I get it.
Task batching and the Pomodoro Technique eliminates unnecessary stress and improves your efficiency.