Boost Productivity with Task Batching
By Toni Buffa | Published September 5, 2023
Want to know a secret to getting more done in less time? Implementing effective time management strategies will help you tackle personal tasks or work projects more effectively. Task batching is one of these time management strategies that can help you be more productive.
The task batching strategy involves grouping and completing similar tasks in the same frame without switching focus between different projects. This better organizes the day to increase motivation, focus, and productivity.
In this article, we will cover what task batching is and five steps to get started with this technique.
What is task batching?
Task batching is a structured method of grouping similar tasks to complete them in unison. Completing similar functions in the same time frame eliminates the need to switch focus.
For example, your role may require sending three weekly emails to different lists. Rather than completing all of these emails on three different days, a task bath could be created to do all of them in the same time frame. The week could be started by scheduling these out for later in the week.
For this example, the focus is handled all at once for this specific group of similar tasks rather than returning to it twice and switching focus. It's helpful because you will stay focused on one thing at a time. In fact, the American Psychological Association states that we lose up to 40% of productivity when we switch gears and adjust to a new state of mind.
Earlier, I mentioned that task batching is just one of the many time management strategies people can use daily. Another very similar strategy is calendar or time blocking. They are stepping stones to one another that will reap great benefits when used together.
Task Batching vs. Calendar/Time Blocking
Calendar blocking, sometimes called time blocking, is a time management strategy that involves dividing your day into dedicated blocks of time—and then adding those blocks to your calendar. The key here is you are just blocking off a period of time to focus on work while time blocking.
Task batching is a step further – take that time that has been blocked off and organize the times by including specific tasks of the exact nature. Another way to look at it is, after categorizing your tasks into batches, build out calendar blocks to complete said tasks.
How to task batch
These 5 steps will help organize your task batching process.
Make a list
Step one is making a list of your weekly tasks, and to take it a step further, prioritize your list items. Is there a deadline, how long will it take, is it complex, etc.? We have a whole article on how to prioritize your to-do list on our blog, and it teaches you how to use The Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing.
Take the list created and begin categorizing them into groups based on similarities. Write these groups out and consider deadlines for projects. Consider and note if this group needs to be a priority for your calendar block.
Tip: Not everything on your list can be grouped. For example, debugging code or creating a presentation. Leave out those complex tasks and do those individually.
Be realistic with your time. You can't get three newsletter emails drafted and scheduled in an hour. The point of this is to help with productivity, so you don't want to rush to get something done.
Begin by building out your time/calendar block and put priority tasks first, then follow with the rest in the order and time frame that makes the most sense to you.
Another tip for this is to consider workflow automation. Some tedious weekly tasks, like keying in information from a paper document or sifting through emails to provide approvals, may take too much time. By automating these tasks, it will save you time in your week and let you focus on other high work priorities.
Time to begin batching out those tasks! Let's add one more time management method to the mix while we are at it. When executing the batches you blocked off on your calendar, remember that your brain can typically focus for about 45 minutes. Try to implement the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused while working. This method alternates your time between having a concentrated work session and taking short breaks.
See what worked and what didn't. Did a specific category get too much or not enough allocated time? Go back and reflect on what you want to do differently next time.
Time to start batching
Improve focus and save time with this time management method. Technically, we covered three strategies: Task Batching, Calendar Blocking, and The Pomodoro Technique. By combining and utilizing all of the methodologies discussed, you will see an increase in productivity and focus and a decrease in stress. Start your task-batching journey today!
Toni is a member of the Integrify marketing team and writes for the Integrify blog. Toni lives in Colorado and loves animals of all stripes.