How Time Batching Boosts Your Productivity
For small business owners, it seems like there’s never enough time to get everything done. One tool that will help you get the most out of your time is time batching, also called time blocking.
If you haven’t heard of this concept before, it can revolutionize the way you approach work.
What is Time Batching?
Time batching is the process of grouping similar tasks together on your calendar to gain economies of scale. Almost every task can be batched: answering emails, running errands, customer calls or appointments, responding to employee questions, and even meetings.
Here are a couple of examples. Instead of running separate errands on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, why not run all errands on Wednesday in one trip? Instead of answering emails throughout the day, plan to answer them for 30 minutes at 8AM, 1PM, and 4:30 PM. Instead of having appointments scattered throughout the week, schedule them back-to-back on Monday.
The beauty of time batching is that your brain will be less exhausted at the end of the day. Interruptions are minimized and you’ll have fewer ‘switching costs.’ Switching cost is the time it takes your brain to switch from one task to the next. Changing gears too frequently strains the brain. Time batching helps your brain to get into and stay in “flow,” allowing you to get more work accomplished in less time.
Business and Personal Use
You don’t have to restrict time batching to your work life. You are likely already practicing time batching at home and don’t know it. When you prepare the week’s meals on Sunday or wash several loads of laundry in a row, you are practicing a form of time batching.
While some things can’t be batched—like walking the dog—the vast majority of tasks can. You just need to be open to the possibilities.
The largest payoff with time batching comes when you can reduce your most common interruptions. For example, could you encourage your team to write down questions throughout the day and present them at the end of the day?
Emails and texts are constant interruptions for many. The first thing you can do is turn off your email and text notifications so you’re not interrupted every time a message comes in. Then decide how often during the day you want to check for new items. Aim for three or fewer times if your job allows it.
Phone calls can be another interruption. When possible, encourage callers to schedule a time to call you or let them know email is more efficient.
Getting It All Done
Time batching is something you can practice for years and still get better at. Try implementing one piece of time batching at a time so you don’t overwhelm yourself with change. Look intentionally for more items to batch every few months, no matter how long you’ve been practicing.
Time batching will not only give you more time in your personal life, but you’ll also be less drained and more energized at the end of the day. Try it and see what you think!