Batch Tasking: A Simple Technique For Increased Efficiency And Output!
Productivity and elusive 'productivity hacks' are a double edged sword. It's great to find methods and techniques to increase your productivity... but at the same time we often spend longer looking and trying to understand these convoluted methods than we do actually implementing or doing the tasks we need to do.
It's a common case of paralysis by analysis.
Batch tasking however, is simple, efficient and gets results.
I'm a big believer in being prolific and getting as much done as possible, constant production and repetition improve your skills and refine your work... as opposed to spending multiple days producing one piece of work why not spend an extended allocated period one day producing multiple piecing of work?
That's batch tasking.
If you want to be great at something it's all about putting in the time and producing product after product...
"It has been estimated that Picasso produced about 13,500 paintings and designs, 100,000 prints and engravings, 34,000 book illustrations and 300 sculptures and ceramics."
What Exactly Is Batch Tasking?
Batch tasking is the simple process of combining similar tasks into batches and then performing all the tasks in a batch in one sitting.
Whether you're a salesmen, a writer, an artist is irrelevant - batch tasking can be applied to any discipline and any form of task.
Instead of going about your day or your to-do list ad-hoc you'll save time (which in turn allows you to produce more!) not to mention the quality and depth of the work you're performing will be of a higher standard because you'll be entering the flow state.
For example, right now I'm in my office writing this article on batch tasking - it's early in the morning and the hardest part is always getting the first paragraph or two started... that's the resistance that's always apparent off the starting line, and it's the same battle every single day... because I know that I batch task to increase my efficiency. After this article I'm not going to call it a day and go and hit the gym just yet, because if I do I know I'll lose productivity in my writing. I've got another article on the agility ladder drills I've been performing as of late to write and I'm not leaving my office to hit the gym until It's done.
That's batch tasking in its simplest form.
Benefits Of Batch Tasking
As I eluded to above, from my personal ongoing experience with batch tasking I've found the following...
I Get More Done
Without a plan or a schedule of what you've got to do I suspect, like me - you won't get much done.
Allocating time for each batch of different tasks I need to do makes ripping through anything from recording videos to paying bills that much easier.
Instead of drifting between writing one article, going to the gym, coming home and then paying a bill or two I can break my day down into a few specific batches and write multiple articles and get all of my bills paid in a fraction of the time.
I Enter The State Of Flow Easily
You know the state I'm talking about.
When you're engaged in the task at hand without any thoughts of outside activities running through your mind, when you're able to get exactly what you're thinking out of your head and onto the canvas while feeling at peace.
I find entering this desirable flow state to take time, this is why I need to batch task in order to enter flow - because if I'm only spending a few minutes here or a few minutes there working on all different tasks I'm unable to gain that deep concentration that I do when I spend a decent amount of time performing the same style of task.
The Quality Of Work Increases
It's all about repetition, repetition, repetition.
Pablo Picasso didn't spend his years creating 10 pieces of art, instead he was a master producer and created over 10,000(!!) pieces of art.
With productivity comes an increase in output, and an increase in output is additional repetitions.
The more you practise the better you get.
The longer you sit down and engage in a task with success the deeper into the flow state you get.
Batch Tasking Examples
Productivity and efficiency techniques are all well and good, but many are probably irrelevant to you because you don't know how to apply them. Here's some real world examples of how you can start batch tasking today.
Writing is from my experience the hardest task to actually get started with, put once the pen has inked a few lines on the paper it instantly becomes that much easier. Instead of writing one article a day why not increase your productivity and batch task your writing? The momentum you'll build from writing one article will have you tearing through the next article in no-time. I save time and improve the quality of my work by doing exactly this.
Blog articles, Twitter, your emails... these are all absolute killers of productivity and can literally sap away the time from your day if you're constantly juggling between the three to see what the latest news is. Instead of jumping between distractions allocate a snippet of time to consume all of this content and then move on with your next batch.
When I'm preparing for a photoshoot or event my workout regime often consists of cardio and heavy weight training on the same day. I used to perform my cardio early in the morning then return to the gym later in the afternoon to hit the weights, separating the two definitely has its benefits... but the time it takes to drive to the gym, get warmed up, get changed out of my gym clothes etc. twice a day simply isn't worth it for me at the moment.
Hitting them both in the morning so I only have one commute and one warm-up allows me to get so much more done in the day.
This is a classic example of opportunity cost - the benefits of separating the two workouts, at this point in time are not worth the sacrifices I'll need to make (e.g. eliminating other tasks because I wouldn't possibly have enough time to get them done) that day.
#MealPrepMonday exists for a reason.
Nobody wants to buy ingredients, cut, season and cook your meals every single day of the week.
Instead of doing your dishes doing every evening why not prep all your meals at once?
It only takes me slightly longer to prepare 7 chicken meals and freeze them than it does to prepare 1 chicken meal and eat it then and there.
Spend a little bit more time today to save a ton of time later in the week.
Logging into online banking and transferring money for each minuscule bill isn't worth the time.
I let my bills for the month accumulate (ensuring none are overdue!) and process them at once.
Super simple time-saving.