Your Complete Time Batching Guide
In This Post
- What Is Time Batching?
- Why You Should Try Time Batching
- Tips for Successful Time Batching, including examples like theme days, batching within a day, etc.
- 30 Ideas for Your Own Task Batching
What Is Time Batching?
Have you heard of time batching? Basically, it’s doing a task in bulk that accomplishes what’s needed for a week or a month. It’s an efficient way to complete work that you repeat on some frequency.
The most common example of time batching is preparing meals for a week or a month, all in one session. Think of a Sunday afternoon chopping vegetables, combining all the ingredients for a meal, and putting them into freezer bags.
I’ll share with you a personal time batching approach that I’ve started using recently. I used to write my blog each week. It takes about 2 hours to write the blog and another hour to add the graphics, links, etc. So I would spend 3 hours a week on the blog post, in total.
The weekly blog started feeling so overwhelming.
So, I decided to switch up my approach.
I started a new process where I batch similar activities for the blog over the course of a week. Specifically, I research all 4-5 of the next month’s blogs one week, I write all the month’s blogs the next week, and then I complete all the graphics in the last week.
This form of batching has saved me countless hours and has made the process so much more fun because I’m ahead of schedule now, and not racing to complete the week’s blog by each Friday, in advance of the Mother Crusher Guide going out.
So, as you can see, the task batching could be all in one session or a way of grouping your work on set days or weeks.
These are just examples.
You can apply task batching to so many different things you need to accomplish.
See the bottom of this post for a free list of 30 tasks you could apply time batching to in your life, at home and at work.
Why Time Batching?
I think time batching started with assembly lines and Henry Ford.
Isn’t it exciting to apply these types of business concepts to our own work and home responsibilities? Kind of geeky, I know. 😉
Time batching can help you
- Save time
- Get more done faster
- Improve focus
- Avoid the productivity loss caused by context switching
- Help you become more consistent
- Reduce time wasted by starting up and shutting down
- Get stuff done when you’re not in the mood to do it
- Reduce decision fatigue (in other words, the time and energy spent thinking “what should I do next, how should I do it”)
- Free your mind to be more strategic (if you use task batching to set routines, you will be able to run them almost on auto-pilot and not have to put so much energy into thinking about what to do)
- Reduce distractions (studies show it can take 15 minutes to get back into your task after you step aside to handle a distraction. This can add up to a lot of wasted time!)
Tips for Successful Time Batching
And, here’s the magic…my tips for setting up successful time batching processes:
Figure Out What to Time Batch
- Make a list of areas to task batch by brainstorming all the things you do repeatedly – at work, at home, for your kids, for any side gigs you have (I’ve created a complimentary starter list for you. Request the download at the bottom of this post)
- After you get your brainstorm list, pick one to start time batching
Set Up Your Time Batching Processes
After you’ve figured out what you will batch,
- Dissect your work to figure out all the steps.
- Figure out how to batch them together.
- For example, to create a month of freezer meals, you could
- Pull the month’s menu together in one session,
- Write out the grocery list in another session,
- Buy the groceries online in a third session, and
- Assemble all the meals in the last session.
- Schedule your tasks in your calendar, on a specific day and time
- Block the time you’ve estimated it will take (pro tip: if you usually take more time to do tasks than you estimate, add some buffer/extra time)
- One technique to try is to set a theme day for your batches. An example from work could be:
- Monday is customer relationship day where you focus on all your responses to non-urgent customer requests, and you proactively reach out to customers to add value.
- Tuesday is internal team day where you focus all your team meetings and 1:1 touch base type meetings.
- Wednesday is networking day, where you’re reaching out to external partners, prospects,
- Thursday is project day where you’re focused on key initiatives and advancing core projects
- Friday is admin day where you catch up on budget-type work, updating project plans, crafting status report, and planning for the next week.
- Other examples of time batching within a single day would be:
- 30 minutes for email/text/IM responses scheduled 3 times a day
- 20 minutes of planning for the next day
- 30 minutes of reading competitor and industry news for 15 minutes a day
- 15 minutes of social media once a day
- You can also think about the tasks across the weeks of the month, like the blog example I gave you at the beginning of this post
Set Yourself Up for Success
Try these techniques when you’re executing your time batching tasks, to get the most out of your batch session:
- Remove distractions (shut down email, IM, social media, etc)
- Set a timer
- Set up your batched tasks as routines in your to-do app (I have all my batches set up as recurring tasks in my Asana app; another app that works great for this is Toodledo)
- I love giving my batching work a name, to make it feel more urgent and important. Like, I’m sitting down to do my “power hour” now.
We all have 168 hours in the week, let’s make the most of them!
30 Ideas for Task Batching
I’ve made you a complimentary downloadable time batching checklist that has all the tips for successful time batching, plus a list of 30 things you can batch. Think of it as a task batching quick start guide for you.
You can download it here 👇
- Time batching is a bursts of activity around a certain task
- Time batching is used for finishing repeated tasks more efficiently (aka faster) and with higher quality
- There are many ways to approach time batching – theme days, batches within a single day, etc.
- Set yourself up for success using timers, standard routines, and by removing distractions
- Try one, some or all of these 30 Ideas for Your Own Task Batching (see the box above to download your PDF of 30 tasks to batch)
Did You Know?
I’m a success coach for working moms. I work with other moms to create and execute the mindset, strategies and routines that are required get out of survival mode and achieve your goals, both personally and professionally.
Think of it as a re-set for ambitious moms who want to maximize what they do, who they are, and all they impact, to make the most out of life.
The first step is to meet to talk about your goals, obstacles and build a mini action plan.
If you’d like to build your own mini action plan, and/or want to dive more into the concepts I share on this blog, here’s the link to schedule the free session on my calendar.
I’ll coach you through building the plan and identifying your next steps.
Then, we’ll talk for a few minutes at the end about what I do and if we might be good working together. I’m not a salesperson so don’t expect a sales call. I only accept clients who are a good fit.
This is time focused on you and your goals, and how to get to the next level!