How Time Batching Helps Improve Your Productivity — and How to Do It Effectively Learn how time batching can boost your productivity and how you can start practicing it right away
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On average, one in eight people use a dedicated time management technique to improve productivity and performance within and outside of the workplace. Time batching is one of the ways in which you can manage your time and focus levels to improve your productivity and performance rate.
So, what is time batching?
Time batching is a work method that allows you to focus on a particular group of tasks at a given time to ensure an easy workflow. It involves segmenting similar kinds of tasks into groups and allocating a timeframe for completion which allows you to complete such tasks at once before focusing on other groups of tasks.
The main goal is to prevent context switching, which is mentally moving in between different tasks. For example, working on a project report and responding to team communications are different tasks that require different mental energy to complete. With time batching, you can group them in different task boxes and complete them separately, instead of doing both simultaneously, which can affect your focus.
Related: 5 Simple Keys to Greater Productivity
Benefits of time batching
A major benefit of time batching is making the best use of your time to increase productivity by focusing on specific tasks at a specific time. Ninety percent of survey respondents say increased productivity is a benefit of better time management.
Through time batching, you can eliminate multitasking, which impedes productivity by reducing your attention and dedication to your performance. This way, the cost of refocusing on different tasks at a time is removed, thereby helping you make better use of your time and energy to perform tasks according to your schedule.
Time batching requires you to set goals that clarify what your priority tasks are. For example, when listing your tasks for the day, you can identify the tasks that are more urgent and important than others. This enables you to prioritize your tasks accordingly.
Also, you can maximize your productivity by scheduling your priority tasks within the peak hours of your day when you have the most energy and focus to be productive at work.
Allocating a timeframe for specific tasks to be done helps to keep your mind focused on the task within the allotted time so you can attain your goal of completion. Also, other activities which may be seen as distractions from attaining your goal within your timeline will be eliminated or reduced, which enhances deep work focus.
For example, activities such as replying to messages and emails in the middle of work, which can disrupt your focus, can be scheduled for a specific time in your workflow through time batching, thereby helping you maintain your focus on specific tasks and reducing multitasking.
Time batching is a great way of managing work stress. This is because it removes the pressure of multitasking and helps you manage your energy level better through prioritizing and deep focus.
Forty-four percent of workers say they feel stressed out on a daily basis. This can be attributed to the overwhelming workload for those who have no exact plans on how to deliver on near deadlines. Time batching as a time management strategy helps reduce this stress by simplifying the workload through grouping and time allocation, which also improves focus.
For example, instead of labeling your goals with broad terms such as "complete a project report," you can break down the goal through time batching by listing tasks such as; "conduct project assessment," "compile findings" and "revise report." This makes it easier to focus, track your progress and reduce the anxiety of an undetermined workload.
Related: 4 Strategies for Better Focusing That Will Salvage Your Busy Day
How to use time batching effectively
Categorize your tasks:
Categorizing your tasks is one of the core practices in time batching that helps you make the most out of the process. To do this, you have to make a list of all the tasks you intend to work on and then find the point of similarity between each task to help you with the grouping.
For example, you can categorize simple tasks that do not require much brain work, such as organizing files or setting a meeting, as shallow work. While tasks that require higher brain power, like creating a project plan or finishing a report, can be categorized as deep work.
To efficiently categorize your tasks further, you may want to group them according to the objectives of each task or the tools required to complete the tasks.
For example, a project manager who uses a particular project management software for certain tasks may group together all the tasks that require using the same software to complete. Also, the project manager can group together tasks related to a particular project because the objectives of the tasks are the same.
Create a schedule:
While categorizing helps you create your task batches, scheduling helps determine the time of completion and priority to be given to each group of tasks. You can schedule the most pressing tasks that require a lot of energy at the top of your list for the day to enable you to maximize your peak hours.
Make an estimate of the time required to complete each task, and allocate the time to the task accordingly. A simple notepad and pen to write down your schedule can work, especially if it is placed somewhere you can easily view it.
However, you may want to use a digital planner to help you with the scheduling. Digital planners come with timers or alarm reminders that alert you on when to start and stop a task. You can also sync the planner across multiple devices to help you keep track of your time-batching process efficiently.
You can check out digital planners like Google Tasks, TickTick and Sectograph.
Staying focused means you have to cut down on all forms of distractions that get in the way of your work. According to a study, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on work after getting distracted. Workers report getting distracted by their phones, office noise and chatty co-workers.
Turn off your phone while working, or use the Do Not Disturb function on your phone to cut down on digital distractions. Also, you may want to close your office door while working or find a space with less human traffic to reduce interruptions and distractions.
Your team can easily be a source of distraction and interruption for your workflow. When people do not know you are trying to stay focused, they may interrupt when they are unable to reach you for prompt responses.
Telling your team and other people around you that you are time batching will help minimize interruptions from them. You can inform them to send in any communications via email or expect responses within a given time according to your time-batching schedule.
Evaluate your process:
After getting into time batching, the next thing to do is to evaluate your process. This helps you determine how well the process is working for you. This includes finding out if you are able to focus better or if you are completing tasks faster and ultimately improving your productivity.
The importance of this part of your time-batching process is to make an informed review that enables you to change things you think you need to change.
For example, you may discover that you are able to maintain deep focus if you add a timer for each task in your schedule, or you are able to complete tasks faster when you start with the tasks that are non-routine before going into the routine tasks like responding to emails.
Related: 12 Ways to Master Your Calendar and Manage Your Time for Maximum Results
The simplest part of this productivity process is starting your time-batching journey. There are different tools and techniques that can help you through the process of time batching. Some scheduling apps come with specific time management techniques like the Pomodoro and Eisenhower methods.
The key is finding what works for you and how you can utilize your preferred time-batching technique for maximum productivity.