Batching is a concept I heard about from a few bloggers and business experts. I’m personally someone that tries to multi-task and squeeze in as much as possible. While I’m doing dishes, I’ll find myself brainstorming blog posts ideas while dictating spelling words to my son. I thought that I was multi-tasking like a pro, but the reality is that I was hurting my productivity and quality of work in the process.
A few months ago I found myself very overwhelmed with everything I was juggling. I even considered quitting my blog and letting go of other responsibilities to relieve some of the stress. I was listening to a podcast that mentioned the process of batching. I knew that it was something I need to try, because at that point I had nothing else to lose. Now understand that batching means that you focus on one task or similar tasks at a time. So if you do laundry for one hour, that’s all you do. No answering emails in between, no talking on the phone or scheduling a doctor’s appointment. I personally batch cleaning tasks for a specific time frame and don’t allow anything else to sneak in.
I started batching with small tasks to keep it simple. I separated my day into pockets of time that would focus one specific task or similar tasks. For example, I started to focus my mornings on cleaning chores. This included laundry, morning dishes, making beds etc. Doing this without focusing on anything else made a huge difference and increased my productivity for the rest of the day. I also wouldn’t respond to emails, blog posts or social media unless these tasks were complete. This was a big learning curve for me because I tend to get online from my phone throughout the day.
Eventually, I found that my mind was clear and I didn’t have these things begging for my attention. I would then take another chunk of time to focus on homeschool tasks. This would include getting my son organized and started on his homeschool work. Giving him 100% of my attention helps him get his work done faster and keeps him on task.
Last but not least, I focus solely on blogging and my freelance writing work. I also split up these tasks and tackle one thing at time. I answer emails and messages at once. Once that’s done, I work on writing articles for my site or contributor sites. Then I focus on editing photos and finish with social media scheduling.
I know this seems very simple, but it has truly been life changing for me. I plan on batching even further for my work tasks and focusing on one thing per day. So in my case, it would be writing the bulk of my posts on one day. Editing and scheduling another day. Social media related tasks on a different day and so on. That way I don’t have to change gears when I’m picking up momentum with a specific task.
How can you apply the concept of batching at home or work?
Pick a time that you can work on household tasks that doesn’t require a lot of focus. For example, paying bills should not be part of these tasks. You want to do things that are physical in nature and don’t require concentration.
I schedule 1-1 1/2 hours each morning and night to household chores. During the AM hours: I toss in the laundry, make my bed, wash morning dishes, cleaning counters, sweep and dust where needed. During my nighttime routine: I fold laundry and repeat some of the tasks already mentioned. I also go around the home and do a general pick up before bedtime.
This is going to look different for everyone, so focus on the tasks that need to be completed each day and schedule time for them. You can also schedule a day for financials, so you can focus on paying bills or balancing your budget. Again, this should be the only thing you do during that time period. You’ll find that the longer you do this, it will become second nature for you and your stress level will decrease.
If you work from home, you probably already have a system that works for you. However if you’re not currently batching your work, you may want to consider giving it a try.
Depending on the work you do, you may want to focus on separating your work tasks. One day can be for writing, one day for editing, one day for responding to emails, one day for bookkeeping, etc. Having a system in place and knowing what you’ll be doing each day, will make your job a lot easier.
Focusing on one task at a time will help you focus without breaking up your momentum. Batching is a great way to minimize interruptions and increase your productivity. I find that I’m less stressed out and get more done in less time.
Do you batch your homemaking tasks or work duties? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!