How To Use Task-Batching To Get More Sh*t DoneMar 23, 2021
There’s one question that people constantly ask that gives me more heartburn than any other, and that is, “So, are you busy?”
The presumption is that, if I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I must be successful.
Therefore, “busy” is a positive thing.
But here’s the thing. I’m NOT busy.
Sure, there are times when I’ve got more on my plate than I can reasonably get done in a day, but I’m rarely "busy."
The secret to my “non-busyness” is a little concept that I call “Task-Batching."
Task-batching is the act of grouping similar tasks together and then creating regular and dedicated time to work on these tasks.
It’s the opposite of multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking sounds cool, kind of an “anything you can do, I can do better,” kind of thing, but in reality, it’s probably the biggest productivity killer of them all.
There’s science backing me up on this one.
According to this study, attempting to multi-task actually changes the way your brain works.
Another study by Dr. Gloria Mark cited in Inc. magazine found that it takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being distracted or interrupted and to get back into a state of flow.
When you're focused, both the left and right sides of your brain work in tandem. When you multitask, they attempt to work independently.
Even though it feels like you're doing two things simultaneously, you're actually switching between the two sides of your brain. This switching can cause you to take up to 40-percent longer to complete the same tasks than if you were to tackle them separately.
So simply batching tasks together and then, doing them ONE AT A TIME, actually saves time by eliminating distractions caused by constant switching.
This allows for more sh*t to get done in less time.
How to Task-Batch Your Workflow:
1.) Schedule specific blocks throughout the week
Schedule two one-hour blocks each day in your calendar called, “Process Email and Tasks,” or something like that. I like a block first thing in the morning and another toward the end of the day, but it’s up to you how you schedule yours.
2.) Choose themes for each day of the workweek
Choose certain days to do meetings, calls, or certain tasks. For example, do your marketing work on Mondays, client work Wednesdays, etc.
Here are some other ideas:
- Coaching Call Days
- Money Day
- Management & Team Day
- Administrative Days
- Meeting Days
- Relationship Building/Networking Day
- Thinking Days
3.) Turn off all notifications
Put your phone on silent or do-not-disturb. Close your email and turn off your notifications for your phone and desktop.
4.) At your designated time, complete this simple process
When it's time, open your email, check your voicemail and texts, and complete the following.
- Determine if there is anything to DO with the information that's just come into your inbox.
- If there isn't, then delete or ignore it.
- If there IS something to do and you can do it in TWO MINUTES or less, then do it right now.
- If it's going to take longer than two minutes, either put it in your task list or add an appointment in your calendar to work on it.
5.) Work on tasks one at a time
Once you’ve gone through your emails, use the balance of your “process email and tasks,” time to work on tasks ONE AT A TIME until you complete them or your time runs out.
Close your email program and your task manager and get back to doing whatever you were doing before you started.
That’s it really. A simple process that allows you to complete all of your tasks in a timely manner, without all of the brain gymnastics required for multi-tasking.
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