Task batching is a time management system that maximizes concentration, productivity, creativity, and mental sharpness while minimizing distraction, stress, and fatigue. Do any of these sound familiar?
Basically, task batching is where you group a long list of similar tasks together to complete during a dedicated time period with no interruptions. This cuts down on the time it takes for your brain to switch and refocus between different tasks. The logic behind this is that it takes time for you to get into a rhythm with whatever you’re working on. If you constantly start and stop that process, you’re wasting time getting back into your rhythm or catching up to where you left off.
If you are like me, you are always doing a million things at once and my mind moves like a formula one race car. I used to take pride in my ability to multi-task. I’d like to think I am insanely passionate about my work, so every task is urgent and I want it as soon as possible. Before I started task batching, I’d switch from task to task in an exhausting never-ending loop. All of this switching comes at a cost. Your brain needs time to refocus on the task at hand – about 25 min to be exact. If you’re anything like me, distractions are everywhere. Our workflow is regularly interrupted by emails, meetings, fires, texts, calls, coffee breaks, driving, errands… life. We end up letting these distractions take priority over what we really want to get done.
Once your brain is focused on a certain type of task, capitalize on that focus until the task is complete. It’s the effort it takes our brain to switch between tasks that make us tired, stressed, and unproductive… not the task itself. That’s why task batching is like therapy and meditation for your workflow.
With task batching you stay focused on a certain task and can achieve flow: a mental state where we get “in the zone,” distractions dissipate, and the work becomes easier.
HOW TO START TASK BATCHING RIGHT NOW
- Pull out your to-do list. (If you don’t already have one, get it together.)
- Group similar tasks logically by their function and location
- Split your day into segments and assign each task category a dedicated window of time
TASK BATCHING REALNESS
A few things you should know:
- Life happens. Things come up, and I can’t always stick to my task batching calendar; you have to give yourself some wiggle room. If you need to adjust, just move that task to another timeslot and readjust your calendar. Don’t go back to multi-tasking!
- Task batch planning takes time. So you’re going to need to task batch that too.
- You can make it fun! use different colors on your Google Calendar for different tasks.
- You need to do everything you can to minimize distractions. I turned off email alerts, and often put my phone in another room. It’s such a relief to not check my email and socials constantly – like a burden has been lifted. I make fewer careless mistakes. I feel in control rather than disoriented.
How can you use this in your day-to-day life to learn how to improve productivity at work today?
- Instead of spreading out data entry and reporting tasks throughout the week, set a block of time to knock it all out at once
- Set meetings with colleagues back to back in the afternoon
- Use the “2-Minute Rule” to knock out small tasks and beat procrastination
- Work in 90 minute increments
- Respond to emails for a chunk of time in the afternoon
Here’s to getting stuff done and improving your productivity!
Written by Moses Wachira, Growth & Expansion Manager at Nova Pioneer.